Let me start this post by admitting, I have an addiction I am not always proud of. It’s something I do almost daily, and often have a hard time talking myself out of when there are many more “important” things I should be doing. It’s an app on my iPhone called Candy Crush.
At the outset, it’s just a game with nice colors, a challenge, and a welcoming male voice. It’s fantastic during subway rides, and long waits for a doctor to see you. Until recently, I thought it was just a game, and a time zapper, and a meaningless addiction. But, for other business owners out there also addicted to Candy Crush, I’m about to justify your addiction!
In fact, Candy Crush has all the core elements that any entrepreneur hoping to succeed needs to implement. If you really pay attention, you can actually learn from Candy Crush how to succeed at business. Here’s how:
- Always Know Your Goal. The first thing is, each board of Candy Crush has a goal. You must do things like make striped candies, create color bombs, or drop fruit down to the bottom of the screen. There is always a goal to accomplish in order to get to the next level. Hear that? If you are an entrepreneur you need to set goals for yourself. And, when you accomplish those goals, you get to move on to the next challenge. That new challenge will require you to set new goals. Those new goals may relate to the old ones, or they may be totally different. Always know which “game” you are playing, and the rules to win that game, and stay with them. Which brings me to the next point.
- Focus is Key to Success. On some Candy Crush levels, (as of this post I am only on level 230) I have found delight at how easy it is to make striped candies and color bombs, and I get caught up in seeking out these combinations, or avoiding a bomb. Then, I realize I have gotten completely distracted from the goal of the level I’m on. In fact, I don’t need striped candies, or the bomb has more turns to explode than moves I have left in the round, so exploding them doesn’t matter to the goal. In your business, once you have set a goal, you need to focus on it. Activities you do on a daily basis need to align with that goal. You need to quickly call yourself out when you are doing anything that distracts you from that goal (unless, of course, you are taking a break to allow yourself to recharge.)
- Believe You Can Succeed, and Don’t Quit. I have played some levels of Candy Crush for what seems so long I actually go to the walkthrough cheats. Often, I learn that the strategy I am using is the right one, it’s just not paying off for me. I return to the level, frustrated, and wondering if I will actually be able to make it this time. If I have the mindset that the level is just not winnable, I usually lose. The other day, though, I stared at the game board, and I realized I CAN win. I just knew with absolute certainty that this was a challenge I was prepared to meet. It was uncanny, everything came into focus – the goal of the level, where I was on the success meter, and what I needed to do to meet the goal. I mentally knew I was going to win, and I did! There was some logic, some luck, and a core belief in my capabilities. All of these things are crucial to your success as a business owner. First, the going WILL get tough. There will be days, as a “business-on-the-side” owner that you debate whether you will ever be able to do your business full time. Full-time business owners, you will have ups and downs, and in a down moment, you have to make the decision to stay in the game. All of this takes intense belief in yourself.
- It’s OK to Accept Help. Every day I spin the Candy Crush Booster Wheel and get a nice treat I can use to make a level easier, or to help me win a level versus re-do it. I often talk myself out of using these boosters because I feel I should be able to do this by myself. It’s just a principle thing – like I’m saying I am less capable if I use one of these boosters. Well, what about your business? Just where are you turning down help? It could be due to cost, but make sure it’s not because you believe you have to do everything yourself. That’s just nonsense, and will guarantee failure, because there aren’t enough hours in a day for you to do it all yourself AND make money. Help is within your reach, and it’s ok to use it.
- Believe in Abundance. The other reason I have caught myself using to avoid using a booster is, I might run out. Isn’t it ironic? Every day we get a new booster, and I’m worried that I’m going to run out. At any moment in our businesses, we may have a low financial moment. If you look outward, though, money is everywhere. Just because it is not currently in your bank account, does not mean it doesn’t exist. You have to believe in the flow of money and that there is always more out there that you can attract.
- Take a Break. Let’s be honest, if I play Candy Crush all day, it WILL amount to a waste of time, not to mention contributing to no social life. Not to mention that some levels are so frustrating that if I carry that energy into replaying a level, I’m bound to lose. And, after a break, returning to that level, I often see opportunities I missed because of my state of mind. If you’re a business owner, you must take breaks. It’s not just about your health, it’s about your mental sanity. Focusing and working non-stop will, over time, lead you to burn out. If you burn out, you will just want to give up, and will lose passion for what you’re doing. Why let that happen? Like in Candy Crush, there are often opportunities waiting for you all the time. But when you are in a low energy state, and exhausted, and frustrated, you are more likely to miss those opportunities. Just allow yourself a break, and time with loved ones on a regular basis – it will help you succeed!
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How many of you complain you’re too busy? Well, I certainly meet a lot of business owners that claim they don’t have enough time to get their marketing done. Time Bull is one of the top excuses we love to make! And, frankly, you can be working in corporate, be a stay-at-home-parent, be at school, it doesn’t matter, I bet you frequently notice the lack of time in your day or week or month to get stuff done.
Here’s the single most common reason I know that “busy” is a load of bull; when your friend, or that funny colleague you love, sends you a hilarious email that, when you read it, has you practically falling off your seat, doubled over in laughter, what do you do? You read the entire message because it’s THAT funny. Let me say that again. YOU FIND TIME TO READ THE EMAIL THAT YOU DIDN’T PUT ON YOUR SCHEDULE! And, wait, then you reply to the email that you have not allotted time for, and this may become a series of complete time-wasting banter messages and before you know it, 20 minutes just got zapped!
How is it that you can simultaneously claim you don’t have enough time to get stuff done, AND spend 20 minutes having a fun email banter exchange, or playing Candy Crush? Because the problem is NOT how busy you are, the problem is what you are busy WITH.
Too much of the time, we are busy being busy, rather than productive. We do stuff that bores us because we think we have to, and then we end up using “busy” as the excuse NOT to be able to do other stuff. And, quite honestly, I know busy is bull because, let’s face it, if your favorite singer comes to town, and your friend offers you a free ticket to see the, you will be clearing up your schedule and finding a way to make time for it.
Did you get that – you MAKE time for what you want to make time for.
So, the next time you find yourself claiming to be too busy, do a mental check-in:
When it comes to marketing, many of you know it probably took a while for you to FINALLY publish your website, get to social media, write your blog post, create a product, promote your product on Facebook, plan a workshop….Understandably, once you can say “I FINALLY DID IT!” you’ll want to walk away, wipe your hands clean, and BE DONE!
Yes, you can walk away, you can put your content out there, and then be done. But, if you want recurring clients, business, etc. then you need to pay some attention to your creations. Even huge corporations constantly change and update their websites. It’s not just about technology advances, it’s about shifts in company strategies, new products and services, new adventures, etc.
The same is true of your marketing campaigns. Some will work (many will not, especially your first attempts), and they are a way for you to constantly grow and learn. I recently ran a Facebook ad (remember, you can pay as much, or as little, as you want! This does not have to feel out of reach due to expense) and experimented. The first ad was a bit of a flop, so for fun, I ran the same image with punchier, more fun text – that second one was a lot more successful, a lot faster, than the first. Like you, I am also learning what words, images, and ideas attract more people, and am excited by the challenge.
Here are some general tips to help you monitor your marketing:
- Have a Clear Goal. When you do any marketing, you should do it with intention. Do you want clicks on your website, signups on your mailing list, customers….what is the WHY of your marketing? Make sure you truly understand this before choosing a channel and strategy.
- Test Two Theories. When you run ads, especially, or even newsletter campaigns, it’s great to experiment with 2 different ideas or concepts. Say you want more likes for your Facebook page. You can run two ads. Perhaps you run one ad for $5 and the other for $10 to see if length of time has an impact on success. You could experiment with different images, and see which one generates more results. You can experiment with the language you use….all of these are clues to finding out what works for YOU.
- Measure Results. Once you know the WHY, and the HOW, you can then understand if your marketing strategy is working. In the Facebook example, you get to see which ad got more results. Furthermore, if you set a target of a specific number of page likes, you can see how close you get.
- Tweak Constantly. Until you find your sweet spot, you will need to delve into your creative spirit to create shifts in your strategy.
Want to have some fun with marketing? Get your copy of Mischievous Marketing tips (along with BullBusting marketing tips) – you’ll definitely get some creative inspiration!
One of the biggest excuses business people make, especially solopreneurs, when it comes to marketing is “I just don’t have enough time.” If the reason you don’t have time is because your business is hugely successful and you’re raking in the bucks, then, GREAT! However, if you’re still working your way up, then you’re guilty of Time Bull, sorry to call you out on that! When you look at why you’re too busy, part of the reason is probably stuff like you’re exhausted, the marketing you’ve tried didn’t work, you think marketing is too expensive, or you don’t know where to start, among other reasons….
Time Bull are all the reasons you’ve created to avoid marketing – the list of reasons you don’t have time for marketing is probably something like:
- staring at the ceiling
- need to improve my love life
- staring at computer cursor giving me the blaming blink
- I hate writing
- I don’t know what to say
- marketing is a pain in the butt and I don’t feel like doing it…
OK, I can see how a few of those reasons might be more important than marketing! ;-) But the fact is, if you plan to have clients, and make money, then you need to do some marketing. So, how can you bust Time Bull? Here are a few ideas:
Make Marketing Simple. Instead of trying to do ALL your marketing ALL the time, pick one channel, and one strategy, and focus on just that one over the next week.
Make a Clear Goal. If you align your marketing activity with a clear, and attainable, goal, then you can either see success (and then increase your motivation to do marketing!) or know when it’s time to tweak your strategy and come up with ideas to do it.
Budget Some Time. Rather than looking back at the past week and how you didn’t make time for marketing, plan ahead – even if you only make 15 minutes a day for marketing, it’s better than nothing! So, budget small amounts of time several days of week, or pick an hour one day a week, and commit to getting your marketing done.
Want more tips to help you succeed at marketing? Click here for BullBusting Marketing Tips!
One of the toughest things we need to accomplish as business owners is setting ourselves apart from other businesses swimming in the same sea of service or product type. It’s easy enough to get lost, and then drown, in that sea, as it fills up with more and more “fish” that seem to be almost carbon copies of your own business.
My belief is, if you try to market what makes you the same as everyone else, then your marketing will be the same, your language will be the same, and your lack of success will likely also be the same. You need to kickstart your marketing by honing in on what makes you DIFFERENT. This is the basis of what I teach my clients – what are their unique selling points, how their product offers an edge, creative ways to use various marketing tools, and more. Here are a few ideas to figure out how to use your uniqueness to develop a unique marketing strategy:
- Focus on Your Interests. Often times, the key to distinguishing your marketing strategy may lie in what you love doing. Let’s say you are a real estate agent, and one of your interests is collecting antiques and China. Well, as a real estate agent, you help people find new homes. People who move into a new home need decorations, and perhaps plates to eat one. So, if you found a local antique dealer, or China retailer, you might find a way to create a referral base. Or, you could get creative, and make a unique housewarming experience for your clients as part of your process, that engages your favorite antiques dealer.
- Engage Your Personality. Who you are is such an important part of your marketing and yet it is also something that many solopreneurs overlook in an effort to try to be perceived a certain way that usually involves conservative marketing strategies that do not divulge their personality at all. Instead of hiding your personality, try letting it shine through in your marketing materials, website, etc. HINT – I used to hide the fact that I love cows in my businesses. Now, I’ve created by business around them – that was creative, inspired, and let’s me have FUN. The people that align with my creative, fun, inspiration, know the experience they’re in for when they work with me, and usually have a great time doing it! Showing your customers the experience they will get working with you is a perfect foundation for your marketing efforts.
- Make It Simple. A lot of times we get so caught up in how complicated marketing is that we forget to go with the simple. Think about how you can use FREE resources, use your CREATIVITY (or mischievousness!) and have FUN as you go through the marketing strategy process.
Want some mischievous marketing tips to help you? Click here for FREE mischievous marketing tips, and get some awesome resources and ideas to make your marketing strategy more unique, and more fun!
ARE YOU IN OR NEAR NEW YORK? WANT SOME LIVE HELP WITH YOUR MARKETING? Join me for my next Passion, Personality and Marketing workshop on July 16th! Click Here for details, and HINT, if you sign up for my marketing newsletter, I’ll send you a code to save 10% on the price!
You know how you have that friend, or that family member that has a computer, a smartphone, and an iPad, but still likes to call you to look up websites, phone numbers, addresses, make dinner reservations, and more? So, you go to Google, baffled that they can’t figure it out, and send them the information, thus making them now dependent on your amazing Google skills that they will never match…
Today’s blog is thanks to a friend who pointed out that your prayers have been answered! (Mine, too.) For all the people in your life that need to learn to Google, use Let Me Google That For You the next time they bother you! Click here to experience it for yourself! (Type in the search term, and you will get a link to send to your friend/family member. When they open it, they will get a tutorial on how to use Google!)