I’m about to get all serious up in here today.
There’s an alarming trend happening with freelancers and entrepreneurs that needs to be called out.
People I’ve spoken with are more confused and depressed than ever over why they’re still stuck, despite dumping thousands in courses, coaching and programs.
If you’re frustrated at trying and failing to make consistent money in your business, it’s time to take time to ask yourself some important questions.
What I share with you in this article will help you understand (truly understand) why you’re not further ahead — and what you can do about it.
After ten hours of one-to-one consulting calls last month, and years of recognizing the patterns of those who are succeeding (compared to those who are merely fantasizing)…
I’ve made a list of 3 very specific things any entrepreneur or freelancer must have before they can create an offer that sells.
Some of these are practical and some of them are psychological. Every one of them are essential (unavoidable) steps along the path to creating an offer that produces cash profits and a business that thrives.
(And avoid the frustration and agony over why yet another offer or idea or tactic has failed to produce money.)
#1 – Clarity.
When you have it, you wake up every day energized, knowing exactly where to focus your energy (even if just 20 minutes in the morning) and see real progress towards growing your income.
Without it… doubt and confusion fester in the back of your mind.
You feel jealous and bitter about other people’s success (A scroll through Facebook is like a kick in the gut). And worst of all, the people in your corner start to question if this “new business” of yours is ever going to become anything more than a fantasy.
Who can blame them?
Declaring yourself a “freelancer” or an “entrepreneur” is to rebel against society.
What we do and how we do it is far from the “norm”.
Most people cannot imagine working from home, earning money for a skill they can perform from anywhere… talking to people all over the world on Skype… or collecting email address and sending letters to “strangers” every day.
“Who the hell does that?”
In their world, you get up with the alarm, drag yourself into rush hour traffic, sit in your assigned seat and try to look busy while counting the hours until your favorite TV show comes on. (Maybe go really crazy and “binge watch” an entire series on Netflix — you animal!)
Let’s face it, what is fun for “normal people” often feels like torture to us.
We try to care, we really do. But ten minutes into a TV show and all these new marketing ideas are shooting off in our brains like fireworks. All we want to do is run away and write them down. Who can waste hours plugged into some lame Hollywood producer’s world when the real world NEEDS our help!
And they think we’re the weird ones?
So, you can see how the friction starts and grows, right? We’re obsessed with this marketing thing. Wanting to share our passion. Our friends and lovers want to feel connected to it, but too many fails or stalled projects and they naturally wonder “WTF are you doing?”
Because if WE don’t clearly see the path to profits in front of us, how could we expect anyone else to?
Clarity is everything.
Without it you risk becoming that entrepreneur on Shark Tank with the “great idea” and the catchy name and the cool logo on your t-shirt… who gets shredded to bits when asked how you plan to grow the business.
“Uhhh, there’s no real sales yet, but… this is my calling! People love this idea!”
“For that reason, I’m out!”
You must be crystal clear on WHAT you do, exactly WHO it is designed to serve, and WHY anyone should buy it from you instead of anyone else.
Nothing can happen until there is clarity.
Once you’re clear on your WHO, WHAT and WHY, it’s time to go represent yo’ bad self… very clearly and very succinctly.
And listen, you don’t need me to tell you how short the attention span is these days (officially 8 second — one less than a goldfish!) or how blind our prospects have gone to traditional marketing.
Take yourself as an example. I’m sure you land on most sales pages looking for the nearest escape just like everyone else. And we’re FANS of the stuff! Imagine how trigger happy on the back button those “normal” people are when they encounter a big red hypey headline. CLICK!
So, how do you win over a distracted and disgruntled audience?
Two words: Transparency and Authenticity.
These are not merely buzzwords, they have become the law of the land. And you, as an entrepreneur, have a massive advantage over big companies in the new landscape.
Big companies full of teams and committees typically look ridiculous when trying to be “real”. Instead of authenticity, it comes off like your Uncle Brad squeezing into a black t-shirt and spiking his hair to take you to a Metallica concert when you’re 13. You appreciate the effort, but it’s not like being there with your friends.
Transparency means no stupid games. Stop it with the forced continuity and the hoop jumping to get the “double your money back” refund you promised. If you’re seeing every sale as a number instead of a face, then your struggles have only begun.
Instead, do what my friend Dean Jackson preaches: Treat every prospect like a 5-star customer until they prove you wrong.
Your identity shows in every move you make.
#3 – Reach.
I get asked often, on podcasts especially, “how will marketing change over the next five years?”
My answer is that,
Two trends will continue…
The first is our customer will increasingly discover and engage with us on mobile devices, rather than the good ol’ days of desktops. (Even with the over 65 crowd smartphone use is on the rise, and they describe mobile surfing as “connecting” more than “distracting”, according to the Pew Research Center.)
The second is that information overwhelm will continue to be a distraction. As a result, people will continue seeking to cut out some of that noise by choosing exactly WHO they get their information from. Then sticking with that source as long as their information remains relevant.
In order to win — and keep — happy customers, we have to start with defining our identity. Then begin reaching out with short, punchy messages that deliver high value information. Help our future customers choose us by becoming someone they know, like, and trust to guide them on their path.
It all begins in the first 8 seconds, then 8 or ten more, until you’ve won a minute, then a few more minutes at a time. Always providing value along the way.
It is no longer enough just to “infotain”, you’ve got to score some wins for people, too.
So, you can see how getting clear ourselves, then helping others identify us as a leader, allows them to see sunlight at the end of that foggy path. So that they can feel real progress… and the others in their lives can see and feel it, too.
Once your path to profits is clear, it’s time to start steppin’.
Some steps are tiny and some are giant leaps, but you’ve got to be making them every day. The ability to measure progress is essential to staying motivated.
What is the last tangible thing you did to move your business forward?
Simple trick: End each day by writing down the one thing you did and the one thing you’ll do tomorrow that moves you forward.
Reading another “motivational” book doesn’t count.
Drawing a crude mindmap of how you’ll deliver value on a wet bar napkin does.
Go kick ass!