It’s been awhile and I have to say that yes, I’ve had writer’s block. Which is code word for scared to get started. Yep, we’ve all had some version of that in our business lives and it’s humbling when it hits. So here, in the spirit of self acceptance—which it turn’s out is an antidote to fear of starting—is another long entry from me. That’s what I’m good at currently, long and informative. So expect to hear from me on the less often, more content side for now.
Yesterday I was in my zumba class doing my usual weekly thing and since class was fuller than usual and I didn’t have access to the mirror, I started looking at everyone else. What I saw was an incredible assortment of bodies, ages, hairstyles, clothing choices, and styles. Add dancing into the equation, and there were some truly outstanding combinations. Some were graceful, some confident, some technically correct, some quirky, and some were a little funny. In that moment, it struck me that marketing and exercise dancing have some things in common.
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO DANCE SUCCESS INTO YOUR MARKETING:
Make it your own
For the entrepreneur this cannot be overstated. There are literally 100’s of marketing efforts and dozens of tactics you could use but can’t possibly do them all so better to find the ones that fit you, your WHY, your clients, your lifestyle, your budget, etc. Never take on someone else’s suggestions or system without making it your own. You have to customize it to fit yourself, and more importantly, give it your flair, personality or style. There are probably one hundred other entrepreneurs doing what you do (maybe thousands!) but no one is you or can do your biz like you do. Don’t be generic in your marketing, bring all of YOU to it and make it your version of the dance.
Compare, but not overly so
You cannot dance well looking at other people, or even possibly, at yourself. Marketing is a bit of the same. Nothing can whither an entrepreneurial approach faster than looking at how much better everyone else is doing it! So how do you inform yourself of the competition without shutting down? First, don’t overwhelm yourself with your competitors stuff. Make it a conscious effort to research when you are starting your business, launching a new service/product, or refreshing, otherwise don’t look. Unless you are one of those zen masters who takes all things in stride, or so competitive that it will spur you to greater heights. If you get hit unexpectedly with a competitor’s offerings that seem to topple your own, remind yourself that there’s room for everyone. Please trust me when I say there is no way you’d be given an entrepreneurial idea, the drive to do it, and then no place or people to do it with. There’s a place for everyone.
Look for grace in each effort
Whether you’re doing something for the first time or the hundredth, there’s something you can do to make it more graceful. Like a hand flourish, or an extra sway in the hips, grace is an energy that smoothens much in today’s over sensed, hurried, and anxious world. Stop, breath, and find the little touch that you can bring to each marketing activity that makes it more graceful. It is another antidote to fear. When you’re afraid of doing something, you can only focus on how hard it is to do it. When you focus on bringing more grace to something, you’ve given your brain a different task—doing it is a given in that scenario, and you’re finding ways to do it better, not considering whether it’s ok to do it or not.
Do your best, for now
I can promise you one thing: often you will look back at earlier efforts and cringe that they were so unrefined, or ineffective, or uninformed. Or on the other end of the spectrum, that you were so brilliant despite your lack of information or experience. These are only tricks of the part of you that finds this whole process of growth daunting! You can only look back because you’re in a new, and often better, place. You couldn’t assess the earlier situation while you were in it. Hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. The truth is this—you know more now that you ever did, you are in the right place now more than ever, and you have the capacity to tap into the resources you need to move forward. For now—until it changes again—because that is the only certain in this equation.
Enjoy the heck out of it
It’s a dance, people! Get out of your head and move your body into action. Close your eyes and market like no one is watching. Because becoming visible, using all parts of yourself, trying new moves, and shaking what you’ve got today, while keeping a vision of what you can be tomorrow, isn’t easy. But it can be fun if you hold it loosely, shimmy with it, or just shrug with the beat, creating your own tune and looking for others who want to move along with you. Ideas, while amazing, are not nearly as enjoyable as the exhiliration of doing. So stick to the idea that no one is watching to cultivate your courage, all the while secretly hoping that they are.
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.