Unless you have been living in a shelter 1,000 feet below ground, under a rock, with no internet or TV, or ability to play CDs, or listen to the radio you have probably noticed there are a number of people who will offer you some brilliant tips on how to make the most of social media. There are Facebook Experts, Twitter Trainers, and LinkedIn wizards. We can learn all about the steps to follow to be successful on any number of social media platforms.
The advice can be really good, but, what if your target market doesn’t hang out on social media? What if social media overwhelms you? What if you just hate social media?!
Has anyone else realized that if we all follow the same exact steps, then we all end up with the same marketing? And, if we end up with the same marketing then how do we successfully distinguish ourselves from the other business owners that do something similar to us? More and more, I wonder if “social media” hasn’t become synonymous with “marketing” as if that is all there is to marketing. And, the unfortunate impact is that many business owners feel disappointed and overwhelmed by the idea of marketing because of social media.
It is my belief that there are MANY parts to marketing, and that simply learning how to use social media does not necessarily help you market your business effectively. I also believe we each need to look into different ways to market our selves and our messaging, and that can’t be done by following the same steps as everyone else. So, how do you do that? Here are a few tips:
- Get really clear on what makes you unique, as a person – focus on what makes you different
- Figure out how to incorporate your uniqueness into what you offer and how you describe it
- Write down the ideal vision you have for your business and its success
- line up your marketing strategies with your vision, your uniqueness, and your style
Want more ideas on how to make a unique marketing plan? Click here!
Ok, let’s be honest, sometimes we bloggers reach a block. The white wall of doom, where there are no words, no ideas, and no thoughts, apart from “why the fuck can’t I figure out what to write this week?!”
This can be particularly devastating when you realize that you’ve had a bender of a weekend, the details of which would make for a great blog post, but simply wouldn’t be suitable for public eyes, plus you’re out of food, you can’t drink because of allergies, your neighbors are driving you nuts, and your deadline is tomorrow. (Not that any of this happened to ME…)
So you either sit and stare at your blank WordPress screen, hoping some mystical force, or unseen muse will sprinkle you with fairy dust which will inspire your fingers to type the words on the screen that are not coming to your head, or you give up and watch TV…
Then you realize that the fantasy you had about maintaining a stellar blog with new content on a regular basis ain’t gonna happen, because, clearly, it can’t handle blogger’s block.
Blogger’s block, ironically, is full of bull. It doesn’t exist. Because, guess what? The very fact that you have nothing to write, is writing itself! There is usually a reason that you don’t have any ideas (perfection monster, fear, bender weekend you can’t dare give details about…) and within those reasons often lies the story you need to tell (and you can work around the sordid details, I am sure!)
In fact, writing about the fact that you have nothing to write PROVES that you do have something to write! (HINT – I just did it.) So, if you think your writing powers have become stymied for the moment, here are some ideas:
- Write down “I have nothing to write.” Then your page is no longer white and blank, and you will see that you actually can do it!
- Next, write down whatever is on your mind – the thing that’s pissing you off, or making you feel ungrounded, or making your anxiety run amuck. Even if you don’t publish your words, at least write them down to get the writing juices flowing.
- You can now either use your writing to become a blog post, or, having worked through what was holding you back, go forth and write what you really want to say!
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I think many of us like to consider ourselves “normal”. We strive to fit into society by dressing like everyone else, reading the paper so we can talk about the same subjects as everyone else, we learn to speak the same (figurative or literal) language as those around us….
all in some global attempt at normalcy with the hope we will be accepted by our colleagues, our friends, and our families.
The truth is, there is no normal! Who the hell coined that phrase? WE ARE ALL WEIRD! And, dammit, we should be proud of it! It is our weirdness that makes us human, and vulnerable. That vulnerability is what allows other people to connect with us at much deeper levels than they otherwise could.
Plus, if you are an entrepreneur, then you know full well that it’s what makes you different that sets you apart from other businesses, and allows you to stand out in the field. Ironically, in this place, trying to be normal, and fit in, actually makes you less successful! Being unique and faithful to your “inner nut” is what, in the end, allows everyone else’s inner nut, tuned into the same station as yours, to want to work with you!
And, I have to wonder, if you have to try being, not you, to fit in at work, with friends, and with family, then how is THAT normal? You’re just depriving the rest of us in rejoicing with you in relief that you’re a nut, too!
Many times in our life, (sometimes several times a week!) we end up having situations where we say, “I can’t figure out what to do about…” Usually, it’s things like:
- Whether to make up or break up
- Whether to accept a new job offer or stay put
- Whether to confront the boss
- How to handle a resignation
The experience seems quite similar each time, at least for me; something happens, I get off kilter, I have a bunch of options, I don’t know which to choose, so I call a bunch of girlfriends and ask for advice. Then ensues the drama of whose advice to follow, since I can’t find my own, and before I know it, I get stuck in “I can’t figure out what to do!” eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek. And, well, it’s a crummy place to be because you can’t make any decisions from here, and then whatever the situation is hangs over your head like the dampest of clouds you can’t shoo away……….
In my experience, this “I can’t figure out what to do” line is full of bull! It means you’re focusing on the wrong verb. The issue you’re grappling isn’t really about what to do, it’s about your lack of understanding what you WANT. With no understanding of an end goal, how can you figure out what to do? And so, your mind will hone in on indecision, and look for the answers in every place outside you that’s possible, because you’re not asking the right question:
What’s your end game?
If it’s about a relationship (or even a fling!) – what’s your bigger picture with this person? (Is there one?) If you’re unsure about a job offer, what is it you want for your career? How does your current job and your opportunity help you towards that goal?
So, the next time you find yourself spinning in “indecision land”, calling up everyone you know for advice, and stuck in inertia, take a breath, and focus on what’s down the road instead. Getting clear on that picture might just help you align with yourself so that you can make a great decision that’s in line with your integrity. And, when you reach that place, you won’t even need to run your decision by anyone else, because you’ll know it’s the right decision for you.
You ever catch yourself running down the street at break-neck speed? You ever graze someone running past them, or, full-on smack into them, and not even apologize because “you’re in a rush” and everyone else should understand?
I have frequently caught myself RACING (usually in comfortable shoes, at least) to make a subway, run errands, meet a friend, get to an appointment….almost inevitably, instead of setting a “rushing world record” or tying myself for first place in the “fastest dash to the drugstore, coffee shop, supermarket, and bank marathon” I end up doing any of the following:
- Twisting my ankle
- Cursing at all the idiots in front of me whose hair is covering the eyes on the back of their head, preventing them from having the courtesy to notice that I’m in a rush, and thus not get out of my f$&^ing way
- Nearly getting hit by a car
- leaving my purse open and losing an important paper (funny story – I once lost my legally stamped DBA [Doing Business As] form racing for the subway. I learned this only because some man phoned me up later that day to tell me that he had found a legal-looking document with my name, address and phone number that he thought was important enough I may want it back. Now, of course, losing something with your name and contact information does create the opportunity to meet the man of your dreams!…or be stalked…so if you like that kind of thing, rushing down the street with an open purse may be a good option for you)
I convince myself that it is absolutely required that I rush because, if I don’t, I would quite possibly – risk being late, miss the start of my favorite TV show, be rude to a friend, never ever get my errand done because the world might end……The point is, I can find any plethora of excuses to require me to rush, and every time I do it, I promise myself never to rush again! And then I do, about an hour later….It reminds me of those times we pray to the porcelain god and swear never EVER to drink that much again, and, well, you know how it goes.
If we took a moment to realize that we are the idiot that created the need to rush, we’d realize we could set ourselves up for a more peaceful day!
If you know the subway is “always packed” and you moan bitterly (like I do) that it’s always delayed, here’s a thought, LEAVE EARLIER! If you have lots of errands you have to get done, try prioritizing them. If, after you prioritize them, you realize you may end up rushing, figure out which one or two items can wait till tomorrow. Seriously, there is at least one item on your list that can wait till tomorrow! Or, maybe you can live without the tomatoes your dinner recipe was supposed to have.
Most importantly – have you noticed that you may find yourself rushing in one of two primary situations?
- You finally have time to yourself, which you don’t know when you’ll have again, so you cram as many items on your to-do-list as possible
- You are trying to do things on someone else’s schedule than your own
So, perhaps the real message that rushing carries is – MAKE MORE TIME FOR YOURSELF! Rushing is just what happens when you miss that message. And, the sooner you pick up the message, the less likely it is that you will have swollen ankles or get the middle finger from passerby.
Though you probably know today’s lie is full of bull, many of you reading this know full well that you are working for a living, and not doing much playing. You have come to believe there is a “time and a place” for fun, and it definitely doesn’t belong at work, in most cases.
You spend most of your day doing stuff for other people – chores at home, deadline-critical projects at the office….you do errands at night, maybe work a second job because you need to in this economy, and if someone, like me, dares imply that you should play more, you think we’re nuts, and that “we just don’t understand reality.” You might have had a dream at some point, but it’s been crushed by years of slaving away for a paycheck.
Worse yet, have you noticed that you are like a lemming in line for a subway, a train, or a freeway exit following all the other people who have been trained to focus their time and attention on a day job, which they, too, might hate?
Well, listen up! You are not on this earth to fill your days and nights with nothing but work! You came in crawling to get to your favorite toys, cried when they were taken away, loved testing limits, and laughing at your parents. You had recess and naps at school, found museums and zoos fascinating, imagined everyone else’s popcorn belonged to you (ok, sorry, inserting personal experience…), did somersaults in the office, danced on chairs and tables,….at what point did you get this idea that growing up meant no time to play?
More awful – if you do a search for a Google image of “happy play” you will see that it’s mostly children! Where are the ADULTS who are happily playing? And, you’d believe that the only kind of “Adult Play” is either about sports or sex? NO WONDER WE ARE SO CONFUSED!!
We were born to do something special and unique – that may actually be a different purpose for each one of us! Rather than work our lives away to fit into a societal norm that would have us believe the ONLY way to make money, get health benefits, and secure a great retirement is by working away your best years, I say it’s time to PLAY! Not just on weekends, but every day.
So, put down whatever you are working on right now, and do a proverbial skip down to the elevator or staircase, and GO OUTSIDE and find something silly to do. And if it’s winter where you are reading this from, put on a coat and hat and go outside anyway!