As the year gets into full swing, and I tweak my marketing plan (you ARE making time to hone your own marketing plan, aren’t you?! It’s what ALL successful entrepreneurs do, and so should you!) for the next 6 months of 2009, I can’t help but look back at 2008 — specifically, what I learned from the mistakes I made. It’s healthy to make mistakes, as long as they don’t hurt anyone and they serve a purpose . . . such as helping one to improve oneself in some way.
So here goes – my ‘business 2008 confession time’:
1. Failing to make the best use of ‘mentoring’ opportunities. I’ve had my fair share of mentors, and of course I run my own form of mentoring programmes such as my ‘Powerfully Effective Marketing‘ programme. But there is soooooo much that I overlooked; I cringe when I think of all that specific practical information and insight from solid experience that I, well, didn’t do anything with. What a huge waste!
Expand your universe: Be sure to continually cultivate . . . and IMPLEMENT . . . the real-life success and know-how of suitable mentors. It WILL make the biggest difference to your chance of success — both personally and professionally. Just DO it — I certainly will from now on!
2. Failing to set firmer boundaries. I absolutely LOVE it when people tell me they have learnt a lot from me. Which is why I’ve always been one for offering a helping hand (or recommendations) to anyone who asks. But, the downside to this is spending way too much of my time working on unpaid project or dishing out F.R.E.E. advice. Precious time that eats into my client, creative and writing time. Heck, even my ‘me time’.
Sure, offering f.r.e.e. information in the form of this newsletter or an ebook or some special project is one thing — and I see that as a valuable part of running my business — but 2008 taught me that being too f.r.e.e. with my advice has always been my biggest challenge.
So this year will see big changes in that area, including learning to say no when necessary.
3. Failing to listen to my own advice. What’s one of my favourite business chants? “You’ve got to keep marketing to be in business!” Did I pay attention to this over the past year? Not really. (Gulp!)
You see, I was enjoying a VERY BUSY spell during early summer and I quickly became complacent with my marketing. Result: When the economy started to slow down, so did my workload.
It’s hard to wear all the many hats necessary to running a successful business when you’re a solopreneur. But one thing is for sure: Marketing should never, ever, ever be last on your ‘to do’ list. It’s something that you should do habitually – every day, if possible. Don’t and you will quickly learn that your business isn’t going anywhere fast.
By creating a series of ‘systems’, I can now spend less time on marketing because I have an efficient, EFFORTLESS AUTOMATED PROCESS for doing things. Which will let me spend more time IN my business and ultimately making more money.
4. Failing to schedule in ‘me time’ and have fun! Like anyone, I like to have fun. But I somehow forgot that over the past year. Not many of you know that I suffer from an incurable illness. Still, rather than making time to relax or do my ‘healing’ meditation, I actually upped my workload! (Hey, don’t you ever feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day?!) Not so in 2008. I will stop this ‘hunched over the computer, working all hours’ nonsense and schedule in ‘me-time’. Heck, I might even start taking piano lessons!
5. Failing to appreciate the power of offline marketing. This is another of those ‘not taking my own medicine’ mistakes. I’ve been happily and successfully relying primarily on online marketing for the past umpteen years. After all, why bother with old-fashioned snail mail when email is quicker, easier and, best of all, f.r.e.e.? Well, I’ve changed my tune based on several mailings I’ve done over the past year.
Also, I’ll be making more use of offline marketing to supplement my online efforts. One of the favoured techniques of the ‘masters’ of marketing is to use an offline method to drive website traffic and build an online list. It’s quickly becoming mine, too. I won’t start using carrier pigeons just yet, though!
The bottom line is that any marketing strategy that relies on just one medium WILL HIT TROUBLE sooner or later.
So there you have ’em: The top five areas I wish to change in my professional (and, consequently, personal) life this year for the better.
What about you? Please do share your thoughts.
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