Is that you?
Are you a local business owner who works hard, has achieved an enviable level of success, but you’re finding that there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with managing your digital marketing and online presence? It’s it on your to-do list, but really, you’ve been pushing it to the back-burner. You’ve probably even rationalized that an online marketing plan isn’t necessary.
Don’t be that person, my friend. There is a reason you are here.
Let me ask you, how are you keeping your leads flowing consistently? Word-of-mouth? Or do you have a system that goes to work for you day in, day out?
Maybe you’re one of the forward thinkers, who realizes that to remain competitive you must take the bull by the horns, and get your company marketed so that it can remain relevant and flourish with the sands of time.
Does the following sound painfully familiar?
You dream of getting tons more business, but you have no real idea on how to go about it. Word of mouth referrals have been strong, but it’s time to get serious about keeping a consistent inflow of quality clients coming your way. Besides, you have mouths to feed and a payroll to pay.
This is why you are here today, reading this right now. Somewhere in your deep conscious you know there has to be a better way to engineer your business or its time to start praying harder.
I’ve been there. You’re not alone.
I hate to share mushy things about myself. It feels too vulnerable. My journey began before the Great Recession but I believe that’s when I awakened. Yes, I grew up in New Zealand, eventually immigrated to the USA by age 21, and dreamed of owning my own business. So that’s what I did. I had never failed before so it seemed like a no-brainer. An F1 student visa disallows foreign students from working, so I formed a company and earned my money that way.
This went on a few years, I placed and serviced vending machines, and eventually became a Pepsi and Coke distributor. After many times of lifting six cases of soda stacked on each other, I’ll be darned if it wasn’t a single tiny case that threw my back out, one painful summer’s day. I endured one week lying on the ground in tensed in ungodly pain with my phone ringing off the hook from angry customers complaining about machines that had gobbled their change. I knew my vending machine days were over. I also intensely disliked the kinds of clients it attracted, they were awful.
I could no longer do hard labor and I knew it was time to work in something that didn’t require my physicality to make money. I moved towards buying estate jewelry while retailing it to the public. It was a beautiful experience and never will you find a business that meets its clients in some of the happiest moments of their lives. Eventually, I expanded my operations to buy new silver and gold, and grew to have a retail front in a beautiful area of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Here’s what I didn’t know back then: In a great economy, (need I say bubble) even a garden-variety idiot can splash about and make some waves. But in a level or downturn economy, this is what separates the wheat from the chaff. The shrewd business owner knows where the tide is flowing and aligns his or herself with it.
Let me ask you: What direction is the tide flowing? Would you say it is now time to get your marketing automated, would you say it is now time to have a system where you create a predictable flow of leads coming in as you need? What about shitty clients, wouldn’t it be nice to tell them “no” when they begin displaying red flags?
You see, a younger version of myself used to go out and spend more money on investments and unsustainable business practices in a bubble. I’d spend money advertising on crap that helped my ego, but wasn’t necessarily smart. By the end of 2007, everything I had worked and obsessed over no longer worked, it failed. My jewelry business in a downtown seaside location of Hawaii, our real estate, and sadly, even our beautiful family home could not be saved.
Before the age of 30, I was divorced, flat broke, and almost a million dollars in real estate debt. (The opposite of everything I had worked for.)
I needed some predictable cash flow so I took a job at a financially solvent non-profit (which was rare for the time), the Board of Directors very kindly took me in and became protective of me, which was also an unexpected blessing. Many of the directors were retired school teachers and they encouraged me to complete my four-year degree after my work duties were completed. So I took my time in deciding. Quite frankly, I just wanted to play and party – my heart was hurt and I didn’t have much faith in myself.
Soon thereafter, a web design project literally fell on my lap. I was commissioned to build a membership website. Since then, building websites that work has been a love story for me. It was then I managed to get myself a Bachelor’s in Web Development and after 2.5 years of intense and almost double-time study, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.97, thanks greatly to the support of my former employer, and of course to many 4-hour nights of rest.
Eventually, I felt the familiar pangs one gets when emotional, spiritual, and professional needs cannot be met by the surroundings one is in. So I reluctantly packed my things, left everyone I knew and loved and headed to Honolulu to make a go of it.
I worked for very low-pay and went underappreciated for several years. The hours were long. Salary exempt is what it is called. Where an employer can work you legally as much as possible and for less than federal minimums without consequences,I was working 70-80 hours per week although my salary was a paltry 30k per year. Giving everything my all hoping that one day it might pan out. But it seemed the demands stepped up and weekends were non-existent.
That was until I got the courage to move my passion for web technology full time and spiritually commit to promoting and supporting local business. In 2015, I finally gave my own web design business a shot, full-time. Through my client’s success, I would somehow find my own identity. Right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong again!
It didn’t quite work out that way. Green and overly eager, I took on every client that wanted to book me and this lead to being very busy and, as a consequence, my health suffered. Because I didn’t have an ideal client profile to appeal to, it meant I was willing to work with whomever and whatever work came my way.
This was the turning point. I had given my best and I was becoming fearful of getting new business, which undermined the motivation of getting new clients. Thus, it created a paradox. I wasn’t running a business. I was working myself to death in a job I had created for myself.
My business model wasn’t sustainable, let alone designed to flourish. Quite frankly, I would end up in the emergency room if I ever tripled my business revenue doing things the same old way.
In my burnout, that’s where the “a-ha” moment occurred. I was trying to do it all alone. I needed to find my people.
I signed up to a coaching program and began to unlearn some of my self-defeating behaviors. About this time through no coincidence, some of my long-term clients started getting some really great results with web practices I had learned. Predictably too. Everything I learned to do for myself, I feverishly shared with my clients. Soon we all began to elevate our businesses from guessing at what to do next into having a plan that was actionable!
I learned ideas from people within my vertical and we helped each other to avoid painful missteps. But it couldn’t have happened without first creating a new mindset, automating repetitive tasks, and thinking from an abundance mentality.
Please congratulate yourself now
Please congratulate yourself for having the courage to work towards your dreams and for doing great with the actions you have already have established. Through your own self-created systems you have created opportunities for others and you have a mindset that realizes your own potential. So let’s start there. With the parts of your business that give you energy.