Starting a new project is exciting. Once the idea starts crafting in your mind, there’s no stopping anymore. Whether it is a home project, a weight-loss plan, or starting a business, beginnings are wonderful! All doors seem to be open, and countless opportunities are waiting for you to start. Most often than not, we start such projects only because we’re dissatisfied with our present situation – your home doesn’t feel as comfy as you’d like it to be, you don’t feel like yourself with those pounds you’ve gained, or you can’t stand your workplace anymore. Whatever the reason for such big projects is, the truth is that the future can only look brighter and easier than your current life!
One of the biggest projects you can undertake is starting a business on your own. You need to think about the what-am-i-going-to-sell idea, come up with THE name, figure out how to build a website – or who’s going to do it for you! – and so much other stuff that you start working on during the very first steps. Questions will arise, for sure, but you’re so excited that you don’t want those little issues to bother you right now when you’re at your most creative state of mind!
There are many reasons for wanting to be self-employed: Maybe your first reason is having no boss, or maybe what appeals to you is that you can work wherever and whenever you want (depending on your customers), or maybe it’s just a matter of responsibilities, like taking care of a sick person, or you may just have a baby and don’t want to hire daycare. Whatever your reasons might be, the truth is that you’re willing to work hard and sacrifice your time to start a business on your own.
Once the techie issues are solved, and you see your website is getting the look you wanted, there comes a moment you weren’t expecting: You have actually to write every single word of your website. So you must sit down and figure out how to sell your services or products. I’ve found that the worst part – and not only for me – is the “About me” page. How do you describe yourself?? You can’t show off too much… but you do want people to trust in your know-how, so you can’t be too humble either!
And that’s probably when the I-hate-selling issue starts: When you realize that you have to market yourself. At least if you want to find customers. Oh, right, customers!! You were so deeply focused on the colors for your logo, your business cards, your site’s name, and especially in finding time to work on it all, that you had forgotten about customers! Oops!! They were also kind of important, right?!
So the first step is researching what you need to do to get that first customer. And the answer comes relatively straight ahead:
- Step #1 – Search in your inner circle (friends, relatives, acquaintances)
- Step #2 – Go to networking events and meet up with peers with similar interests.
- Step #3 – Use online marketing to broaden your search for customers!
And while steps #1 and #2 sound relatively doable, step #3 can almost instantly make one shudder! To be honest, I find digital marketing highly exciting! It’s like a huge puzzle where you have to fit all pieces together to make sense. And although it is very challenging, you never really get bored – what I love!
Mindset shift #1 – Self-promotion means serving others!
So why do you think that so many new freelancers hate marketing so much? Are they scared to come up as too salesy? Sleazy? As much as I like the online marketing world now, I did use to avoid the whole selling stuff, too. Market myself? Me and self-promotion? I was raised being told how being humble was a virtue! How showing off isn’t something that others would like. And believing that trying to sell something to others was somehow deceiving them into spending money! You shouldn’t bother others, Alicia…
And that’s what I believed until Ruth Soukup, my mentor and founder of Elite Blog Academy, told me something that changed my mind completely: It’s not about you or what you’re selling. It’s about the people you could help with your products or services. Ruth told me to stop trying to sell a product but a transformation! You are serving your customers, not making them spend money, as I used to think! Marie Forleo even goes further and says that you have “no right” to keep your knowledge to yourself 😀 That you should help those who need you!
And you know what? We might be too self-centered to realize that nobody gets bothered at our “selling techniques” because nobody is noticing us. Correction: Nobody but those who need us!
Mindset shift #2 – Who cares what others might think?
So there comes the next question: What happens if we do try to sell, but nobody buys?? We overcome that i-don’t-want-to-disturb-anyone mindset hurdle, but another – stronger – one appears: Shame. We don’t want to feel ashamed! What will others think?! They’ll consider me a failure…
So, if you’re feeling embarrassed even before you start marketing yourself, here’s another mindset shift for you: Who cares what people think? Who cares whether you’re selling 10 or 10 million books? Those who aren’t interested in your product will click the ad away anyways… If they ever notice the ad!
The best thing about digital marketing is in its name: It’s digital! So that means that you can change almost anything the minute you realize that it isn’t working! It’s not like you’ve spent tons of money buying flyers for a local event, nor have you bought chairs and tables for your new coffee shop! You haven’t even paid a cent to lease a place to work!
So why not change it? An ad doesn’t work? Rewrite it! Are people unsubscribing from your email list the minute they get your newsletter? Maybe it’s just a headline issue… So change the headlines! Is nobody pinning your Pinterest posts? You may fix it by changing the images or the fonts you used!
Mindset shift #3 – You don’t have to use EVERY marketing strategy!
That being said, there are TONS of marketing strategies, selling tactics, and advertisement moves. And you don’t have to use them all. In fact, you shouldn’t! It’s way too much. Especially at the beginning. So why not choosing what works out for you and your personality?
I could never ever recommend or sell anything I wasn’t convinced of. So I can’t feel bad for offering something to my community, right? And even though I know there’s this and that “strategy” I could follow, I don’t. Marketing is something you should adapt to yourself. Not the other way round! So let your creative juices flow, think outside the box, and come up with a strategy that makes you feel good about your selling activities!
Start with only one marketing element. Choose the strategy that feels the least aggressive to you. However, do come outside your comfort zone a bit. Otherwise, it’s going to be very hard for you to apply new techniques. Remember, you don’t have to become a social media guru. Just share what you know, what you’ve learned, or what you’re good at with those who need your help!
Recap – Don’t be so self-centered!
When you enter a mall, you don’t feel bothered by all price tags, do you? In fact, you do want to know how much an article costs. As soon as possible. Doesn’t it make you nervous when you can’t find the price tags? The same happens in the online world. Or what do you do first thing in the morning on Black Friday? Don’t you open Amazon as soon as you wake up to check the best deals of the day? So if people are searching for things to buy, why should you avoid selling your products?
And you know what? The best thing about the digital world is that if something doesn’t work, you can always change it! So stop thinking about yourself and start focusing on what you have to offer others and how you can help them.
Do you have any other questions related to online marketing? Leave a comment below and let us know!