Many of you know that my husband is a retired forester – also known as a forest ranger. When our daughters were in elementary school, we lived in a tiny isolated community along the Klamath River named Happy Camp. Steeped in history, fraught with lawlessness and haunted by the legend of Bigfoot, this settlement of less than 1000 people was originally named Murderer’s Bar but changing it to Happy Camp was a wise choice and another story.
The road to a town of any size, Yreka, where we could get medical and other services that most of us take for granted, was reached by driving two hours down a winding mountain road that followed the contours of the Klamath River. If the road was icy, it took longer or else you could end up sliding off the road into the river – as several residents ended up doing.
Our two girls hated that trip and were constantly asking, “Are we there yet? And our reply was always, “Not yet.”
You may be wondering “why in the world is she telling me this story?”
There are two reasons actually.
The first one is a marketing reason that all of us need to be aware of. We all hear that people buy from those they like and trust. And how can someone know you if you don’t let them in – by in, I mean by being somewhat vulnerable and sharing a bit about yourself.
If you ever read any Internet marketing blogs or sales pitches, there’s usually the story of how someone went from “sleeping on friend’s couches, etc” to being a marketing genius who makes tons of money today. That’s not me.
I’ve never been poor – not since I was growing up anyway – but our family life was so good that I didn’t realize that we were poor until much later. And since then, I have never had to worry about money. My husband and I have always had a comfortable living and since I started my gift basket business (which by the way, wasn’t my first successful business), I’ve never experienced a year of red ink. It has always been profitable. So I can’t give you the rags to riches story that so many tell.
But telling your story – or letting your customers know a bit about who you really are – is an important part of creating trust. It is so important that I even gave a whole presentation about it at one of Cherie Reagor’s gift basket conventions. I guess I should write an ebook about it using that presentation as a basis.
But what I am saying is that being a bit vulnerable and sharing a bit about yourself can go a long way towards creating that trust so necessary for getting and keeping customers.
The second reason for that original story goes back to my daughter’s question, “Are we there yet?”
When we first start a new business, if we do it right, we have some sort of a plan with goals for what we want it to become. Each year, we should go back to that plan and ask that question, “Are we there yet?”
If we are truthful with ourselves, the answer is usually, “not yet.” If you are one of the rare ones who can say, “yep, I’m there so I’m going to sit back and glide along on my success,” you are in dangerous territory because that is when you begin to lose your passion and your creativity.
This is a long email but I’m not going to stop here. If you’ve read this far, continue reading and I’ll try to give you some answers.
In that original article about creativity and passion, I spoke about the wake-up call for me and the realization the I needed to make some changes in my own business model because “I wasn’t there yet.”
I’m not ready to share with you yet all the changes that I am making but I am going to make some suggestions that you may want to consider if you “aren’t there yet.”
Consider if perhaps you should be doing more of . . .
- Get back to the basics of old-school blogging strategy and share a bit of who you are and why you are doing what you do.
- Develop and pour yourself into building your brand
- Understand and perfect the art of SEO, but know that it’s not just about the robots
- Create a community around your business and support them
- Do what you do because you love what you are doing. If that love isn’t there, it’s time to make some changes in your life.
- Find your passions and let them shine
- Surround yourself with people who get you and who are hustling just as hard and fast as you are (or slow and steady…whichever is your way of doing things)
- Chart your stats but do not be obsessive about them (strategy is always important but your foundation has to be at the heart)
- Invest in yourself and your business
- Remember that life outside of business will affect you and your business. Make both count.
Hopefully this will give you something to think about and even to act upon.
Until next time, this is your friend and mentor . . .