This guest post is by Tommy Walker, Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name.
Why are you reading this article?
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it, but isn’t there something else you could be doing?
What are you putting off?
I’m going to be straight with you. You are your own worst enemy.
And you are killing your business.
The curse of the boring businessIf you’re blogging regularly, at some point you’ll delude yourself into believing that reading every “5 tips to do this thing with your blog” article, and bantering back and forth with industry folks on Twitter, is “work.”
This delusion usually starts at the point where you hit a plateau, and your feedback starts to stagnate or wither.
So you hunt through other people’s work in search of the magic bullet.
Maybe if you read more, you’ll learn the secrets.
Maybe if you talk more, someone else in the industry will take notice and launch you into blogging superstardom.
Take this a step further, and you start buying information products, thinking that might somehow fix the problem. It doesn’t.
Meanwhile, your understanding of your audience hasn’t deepened, your writing hasn’t actually improved, your traffic hasn’t increased, and you still haven’t made a cent directly from your blogging efforts.
And you don’t understand why.
Relationships matter, but focus on your customer
I know this, because I am you.
My blog has been live for a while, and granted there has been some steady growth. But when you’ve seen others rise up from nowhere in literally half the time, and make at least ten times your income, that extra 100 or so visitors isn’t really all that encouraging.
They get invited to speak at major conferences across the country, they get asked to do interviews with popular bloggers, they make six figures on their first launch.
You’re getting rejected from events from your own chamber of commerce.
And when it comes to talent level, their demonstration of knowledge is, well…
Doing more, giving more, and creating more, without having a purpose or an end goal in mind does nothing for your customers, and it does nothing for your business.
When you watch newbie after newbie surpass you in record time, it gets on your nerves.
After a while, it doesn’t make you want to learn more, it makes you want to quit.
For me, the moment came when I thought I was getting tired of working for myself, and considered taking a no-pressure sales position at Men’s Wearhouse selling suits.
But then I remembered,I got fired over a pair of pants in my last “real world” gig, so going back wasn’t really an option. It just seemed safer.
Of course, your customers don’t know any of this.
All they see is you phoning it in.
They see boring, haphazard updates desperate to grab their attention with no mission or purpose in mind.
They’re not sure what to think. You’re not helping them do anything specific.
So why would you expect them to do anything specific (like click the Buy button)?
I knew if I was going to revitalize my business, it was going to take something big.
I needed to prove I could do something impossible.
Legitimate reasons to not make it better
But let’s be real. There are plenty of reasons you can’t take on big projects, right?
For me, I have a nine-month old son.
I’m getting married in a month.
We’re moving into our first house.
I have a full-time client.
I conduct coaching sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I just started working on a collaborative project with seven other people.
While these are plenty of legitimate reasons to not do anything differently, the reality is that if these things controlled my business development, six months from now, I might not have a business at all.
Is this you?
Are you doing the same thing, day in and day out? Do you feel bored?
Have you convinced yourself you can’t do something because there’s too much other stuff going on?
Listen, the world is too small and life is too short for you to not do everything you can to make a dramatic impact.
One thing we have in common is that we share 24 hours in a day. Your impact on the world is a direct result of how you spend that time.
What do you have mentally filed away in the “I’ll get to it eventually” folder in your mind?
Chances are, that’s the best thing you could do for yourself, and you know it.
So really, what are you afraid of? Because isn’t that really what it comes down to?
Is it that that you might get criticism? Or that others’ expectations of you will increase?
Are you afraid that nobody will see it?
“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”—Elbert Hubbard
Critics and downright haters mean you’re doing something right.
“Safe” inspires nothing: you don’t get people to think, or dream or hate.
Not everyone will love you. But consider yourself lucky that you’re able to inspire such a passionate response, even if it isn’t overwhelmingly positive.
And if nobody sees what you’re doing, do it again. And again, and again.
You are the only person in the world with your perspective, and to the right people, your perspective could hold massive transformational value.
Over-commit to a project
So, with all of this in mind, I realized I didn’t really want to quit.
Knowing I had to prove I could do what I thought impossible, I decided to over-commit myself to a project.
Specifically, a project called 21 Days to a More Engaging Facebook Presence.
The problem with the “Facebook marketing” world is that too many marketers are focused on the “get more fans” aspect, and completely neglect how you can use the platform to genuinely learn more about how to communicate with your customer base.
I wanted to put out a free series that wasn’t just about Facebook marketing, but focused on developing an engaging voice that could be woven into every aspect of a business.
The principals really are universal, because it’s about truly connecting and bonding with your customers.
And like Gary Vaynerchuk says, “It’s the message, not the platform”
But here’s the thing: I didn’t plan.
Maybe three days before the beginning I said, “I need to sketch this thing out if I want it to be successful”
But three days came and went…
Plan or no plan, if I didn’t start on pre-designated Day 1, I knew I wouldn’t do it.
With no idea in mind,
I scanned my brain for some of the most common complaints people had.
14 hours later, I scripted, screen capped and released a video entitled “Navigating Facebook to Gather Customer Intelligence” and introduced it as Day 1 in a 21-day series (which I still did not have planned out)
The reception to the video was overwhelming. New people as well as those who I had established relationships with were cheering me on and were very excited to see the rest of the series.
Each day, I thought about the problems that I had heard about, and created a new video.
Most days, I had no idea what I was going to do. But I knew I couldn’t stop.
I also knew that I wanted the information to be higher quality than some of the paid training that was out there, so many days involved a ton or research, and testing and experimentation to make sure that it was a caliber that would make people say, “WOW!”
It was hard.
Some days took 16 hours, other days the screen capture program would crash.
At one point I had to buy a new external hard drive, because I filled my existing hard drive with video data.
The end result?
2 hours, 31 minutes and 4 seconds of video were produced.
My traffic is up 13% , people are taking 42% more actions than before, and my time per visit to my website is up 41%
I see a steady flow of daily traffic that is roughly double what I got before the series, and my Facebook Fan count is about 75% more than it was before.
Now here’s the kicker. I didn’t do much at all to promote the series. Between creating videos, doing client work, coaching, being a father, and being a fiancee, I didn’t have time.
It was pure organic growth, and every day I see inbound traffic coming from new links from websites I never heard of.
What this means to you…
Anything worth doing is friggin hard.
In order to raise the bar, you have to over commit to something.
You’ll never learn how much you can do, or exactly what you’re capable of, until you push yourself to the limit.
Why are you holding yourself back?
Quit looking for dime-store tactics and commit to a project that forces you to level up.
Define a mission.
Develop your voice.
Do the impossible.
Then, and only then will you able to have a business that has any meaning for yourself or your customers.
So do yourself a favor, turn off twitter (after you share this article of course) close your email, and start fleshing out that idea you’ve had that you’ve been “too busy” to do.
Because your blogging business will never go anywhere if you don’t.
Tommy is an Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name. He is about to release Hack The Social Network, the ultimate guide to Facebook Marketing, and is currently developing a “mind hacking” course.