So, how did I get to this point? And what did I learn in the process?
Five years ago, I started this business and I forced myself to adhere to a rigid publishing schedule. I wrote a ton of articles that I thought were helpful and actionable. However, what I found was that only a few articles were bringing in traffic and leads. An extremely demanding content schedule was killing me and, according to the data, it wasn’t even fruitful work.
So, two years ago I decided to relax my expectations. Instead of posting 1-2 times a week, I aimed to post 1-2 times a month. I reasoned that by writing less, I would avoid the writing fatigue I was experiencing and also be able to spend more time on each article to produce better quality content in the process. Win-win!
This strategy was going well until earlier this year, when I just stopped. At least that’s what it looked like from a reader’s perspective.
There’s something oddly challenging about doing for yourself what someone else will pay you to do because the opportunity cost constantly stares you in the face. (This is probably the reason landscapers have unkempt yards and chefs eat fast food.) At the end of the day, you’ve poured yourself into a revenue generating activity, so doing it for free is discouraging. And when your source of income is something creative like content writing or web design, you may not actually have anything of quality left to put forward.
So, a month without content on my blog turned into two and then three, and the next thing I knew it had been the better part of a year. Of course, life didn’t help either. With two toddlers at home, it was easy to lose track of time and fall into survival mode.
But along the way, I learned some important lessons about building a business through life’s busyness.
Plan for The Future
It’s exceedingly easy to be occupied with direct revenue-producing activities (selling products, providing services, etc.). However, as a businessowner, almost everything you do drives revenue in one way or another. Remember that the next time you’re processing payroll or ordering supplies!
When things are going well it’s hard for small businesses to be forward-looking. I talk to owners everyday who are running thriving businesses and don’t want to invest in online marketing because “they don’t need it right now.” However, marketing isn’t a last-ditch effort for failing businesses. Marketing is a continuous growth strategy. In fact, the best time to market your business is when it’s doing well. Generate more customers at your busiest times to capitalize on your current momentum. And, if your business is truly at capacity, don’t stifle its potential – expand staffing and operations to keep it growing steadily!
There will never be a perfect time to start doing something, and the longer you wait, the harder it is to get going. If you’ve dropped the ball on something you should be doing or put a new idea on the backburner, just do it NOW. Some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that their most lucrative efforts are those where they jumped in with two feet and figured the details out later. As Walt Disney famously said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Be Okay with “Just Okay”
Businessowners and entrepreneurs tend to be perfectionists. While perfectionism isn’t a bad trait to have, it can pose a serious challenge professionally. A fear of failure stops some people from getting started. Motivational speaker and influential author, Jack Canfield assuages, “Don't worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try.”
While it’s certainly easier to say than to do, being content with a less than perfect outcome is an essential component for building a business. Don’t aim for mediocrity but be willing to overlook that nagging feeling that says, “This isn’t good enough” to keep the business moving in the right direction. “Okay” is just a temporary steppingstone on the way to greatness – it provides room for improvement. Understand that building a business is an ongoing journey that will sometimes exhibit nonlinear progress.
Use Your Weaknesses
A lot has been written about using personal and professional strengths strategically. But, what about weaknesses? Can your weaknesses actually fuel high-achieving behavior? I believe they can.
For instance, I typically see my compulsive behaviors as weaknesses. I’m overwhelmed by clutter. I hate seeing items linger on my to-do list. I don’t like leaving work unfinished. Procrastinating makes me anxious. But instead of letting those compulsive tendencies wreak me, I try to use them to the benefit of my business. Sometimes I intentionally set an unnatural stopping point for work so that I’m compelled to come back and finish it later. Other times I create a single to-do list item for a large task so that even as I make progress I don’t get the satisfaction of crossing it off until it’s entirely done. These little hacks help me to use my weaknesses to my advantage.
In other cases, entrepreneurs may compile a list of their strengths and weaknesses to find outsourcing opportunities from best-in-class providers in areas where they struggle.
Don’t wait, get started with online marketing today. Contact us to find out more about how we can sustain your business growth!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!