This year I launched a course. I followed the instructions about how to launch this course to the letter. I read countless guides on how to create scarcity and encourage action and how to sell without selling. In short I was doing what all of the 'successful' internet gurus were advising.
Now some of what I read didn't sit well with me. It made sense logically, but in my gut it felt false. Or just not me. But then here I was with a little business that was doing ok, but wasn't making me millions or anything close to that. So I figured they must be right and I must be wrong.
Except ever since I started doing it the way you're 'supposed' to do things, I've felt less engaged with the people on my email list. I've started to see them as 'my list' rather than individuals. Funnily, my unsubscribe numbers have increased and my open rates have decreased. I thought perhaps it was because I switched to a different email automator but I think maybe it's because I've stopped being me.
Every time I see a well targeted Facebook ad, I can literally see the marketing funnel in action. I can see how they've got a really good advert that takes you to an enticing lead page, which leads you to an instant buy option, which leads you to a series of emails that encourages you to buy something bigger or become part of a membership club and all of it comes with a super appealing offer to get it now, now, now. And you know what? It works. It absolutely works.
But I hate it.
So now I am faced with this quandary. Do I follow the advice of people who obviously make a lot of money and know what works but hate myself for doing it, or do I keep doing things my way?
I posted this very frank and honest video (below) on my Facebook page this week and it's got plenty of comments. Those comments have reminded me that what people relate to is a person, not a sales funnel. That said, comments don't pay the bills. Sales do.
So I will be taking a bit of time over December to rethink my services and offerings and way of working to see if there is some kind of hybrid way. I know there will be plenty of people who already offer 'authentic selling' or 'heart-centred' business approaches. But that doesn't sit well with me either. It sounds like another marketing label for what is in effect still the same selling process.
There are soooooooo many posts and articles out there talking about being uniquely you, but at the same time there are a gazillion experts telling you how to follow their unique formula to make money. The two just don't marry up.
All I can do is keep helping my clients as best I can. I do want success for each and every one of them. I literally do coverage dances for them when they get in the press. And I smile from ear to ear when I hear how something I've done for them has helped their business grow. Comments like these below are what make me keep finding the motivation to keep going, even when it feels like I will never 'make it'.
'Just a gentle reminder you made me cry in my car when you delivered my copy ... you changed the course of my business ... well the way that I communicate about my business. It was transformative for me and I'm guessing others feel the same way ... thanks for all you do ... and the way that you do it ! hugs from across the pond!'
'First you are ace at what you are doing and keep going! I had a week like this a few weeks ago and felt like I was getting nowhere. All I can say is you are doing great - the progress you made this year and the retreat was amazing. Keep plugging away!'
'You are excellent at what you do and your website and postings do give the rest of us a lift and hope of success!'
So my advice to you if you are feeling much the same way, is to keep doing what you are doing. Do what feels right to you. Don't mistake fear of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with the icky feeling of doing something that isn't comfortable to you. Take this time over the festive period to take stock, rethink and get clear about who you really are as a business.
And if I can help you get there, do let me know. Because I am a heck of a lot better at doing that for other people than I am at doing it for myself!
Thanks for reading/watching and thanks to those of you who have already helped me with your comments. Your support is hugely appreciated.
It's York Business Week and Global Entrepreneurship Week. To celebrate these initiatives, last night I got to speak at an event run by Everyday People, in which I shared my self-employment journey. And I thought - hang on - why only share it with the people at the event?
So I have recorded the video above (it is 16 minutes long) in which I run through how I came to be self-employed, how I switched sectors, how I found my first clients, some of the crazy stuff I've done along the way, and lessons I've learned throughout.
I hope you find it useful. I'd love to hear your comments and find out more about your self-employment journey. Share them below or pop over to my Facebook page and share it there.
PS - I will be running a FREE Webinar this Friday 18 November on How to get Publicity Easily - so click here to register. It could be the start of you sharing your story with the world.