The Entrepreneurial Life (or What Cow Are You Milking?)

enrepreneurial life

Take a good look at that meme.

Can you relate?

Do you want to?

A great deal of this entrepreneurial life is NOT all sunshine and roses. It’s closer to manure shoveling.

It’s work. It’s grind. It’s daily getting up and getting at it, whether we feel like it or not.

It’s hard. And it’s harder, sometimes, to see the WHY in all of it.

When that project falls through, or the website is still glitchy, or the client is bitchy, it’s tough. When the sales are down and the bills are up, it’s rough. When the to-do list is long than the today, it gets discouraging.

I know. I’ve been there.

And the way I see it, you’ve got three choices:

1.) You can quit. Give up. Pack it in. Pull the plug. Go get that J-O-B and forget the whole stinking mess. Admit the entrepreneurial life isn’t for you and that it kicked your ass to the curb.

2.) You can milk that cow for all it’s worth. Gripe, whine, complain. Shout from the rooftops about the mean client, the sucky website platform. Play the blame game. You haven’t got enough money. Enough time. Enough help. Enough support.

3.) Take a step back. Figure out what went wrong. If need be, get help. Learn from those 5 minutes of “bad” and go on to something “better” from there.

Here’s how I see those choices:

1.) Fine. Not everyone can make it in this entrepreneurial life. While it can BE for everyone, it isn’t something everyone is willing to suffer through. At least you tried, right? Now, find some other way to make those dreams and goals you have a reality.

2.) Not so fine. I see a lot of so-called business people spending more time whining about what’s holding them back than they do working to move themselves forward. Or they get lost in “learning” and “training” but never apply any of it. They milk that cow for all she’s worth, and wonder why they never get anywhere.

3.) My preferred method. In all honesty, in all transparency, I used to do a lot of #2. I used to come up with every excuse in the book. And then I realized it was mostly out of fear. I was afraid of what might happen if I DID succeed. Now, I learn, and move on. Get up and try again. Find the help I need. Learn and move on.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

I’m no good at technical stuff. Skype sometimes stifles me. And that’s alright. I used to want to build funnels, because I thought it would be a great service to offer. Not anymore. I’ll write the content for those bad boys all day long. But the back end tech stuff? No thank you!

I’m not much good with numbers. You want to analyze your data, go right ahead. You want to create spreadsheets and reports? Fine by me. I’ll just sit over here and write copy, thank you. I do good to understand Facebook’s Insights features for the pages I manage. (Oh, I quit managing other people’s pages, too, because I just don’t always get even THOSE numbers right.)

I’m very good at teaching. At coming up with new ideas. At finding the problems. At explaining how things work. I might not enjoy building sales funnels, but I can tell you how they work. I might not be very good at understanding data, but I can tell you what data you need.

In short, I’m a valuable asset as a marketing consultant. And a copywriter. And a friend and professional contact.

I’ve learned my “thing”, found my “happy place”. Carved out my “space” in the entrepreneurial world. It’s a good place to be. There’s a lot fewer cows in my pasture. And a lot of “better” days.

Have you found yours yet? Learned your thing? Or are you still milking that herd?


Are You Talking to Me? Building Your Audience

In the last week, I have personally seen, read, heard, or experienced the following:

*A new business owner who had no idea who his product would appeal to

*A seasoned businessman who had no idea where to find his audience

*A lead generating product that had no appeal to its intended audience or any sort of relevancy to the eventual main offer for sale

What do all of these marketing disasters have in common, and what can we learn from them?

They weren’t “talking” to the right people, in the right way. In some cases, they didn’t even know which people to “talk” to.

Audience identification is one of the most critical elements of any marketing endeavor. Perhaps even THE most important. And perhaps we’d better say “business” endeavors, because without it, I don’t see how any business could succeed.

You HAVE to know who you are talking to when you begin to craft a marketing message. You have to know if you even HAVE an audience to talk to, if you plan on offering a product or service. Knowing who you are talking to, who to address your marketing messages for, makes all the difference between miserable failure and outright disaster, and smiling, happy success. Here’s why:

  • You have a message. Your message has a voice. That voice will only appeal to a certain segment of the market – those who want or need what you have to offer. That market segment is your audience – the ones that need what you have, and like how you present yourself to them. They find what you have to say interesting, attractive, AND relevant to their situation.
  • Your content needs that audience. You need eyes on your “stuff” in order to gain growth and ultimately, success.
  • Your content needs specificity. Your product or service has to fulfill some need or desire. You need to know who your audience is so you can correctly address those needs and wants.
  • Your content needs focus. Whether it’s a blog post, or that $5million ad, you have to have a place to start, and a goal in sight. You have to know what the purpose is before you create it. And that purpose is determined largely by what your audience wants or needs to know.

See why knowing your audience is so important? Everything from the number of blog readers to the number of sales you get from your marketing emails to the ultimate success or failure of your entire endeavor, depends on identifying your audience correctly. You gotta know WHO you are talking to!

Now, let’s look at those disasters we began with, and analyze a bit of what, and maybe where, they went wrong, and how to avoid them in the future.

*Our new business guy is the easiest, and least damaged, situation to deal with. About an hour of basic market research and he’s got his initial audience figured out and can now begin reaching out to them in meaningful, effective ways.

*Our older, seasoned guy has several choices, and again, can rather quickly remedy his problem, although the wasted efforts of throwing campaigns out there like paint on a wall can never be recouped. He can crunch some numbers and see exactly WHICH of his various previous efforts had the most success. Was it the Facebook campaign, or the Twitter? Was it the one aimed at the younger demographic, or the older folks? Another choice would be to simply ASK his tribe who they are and where they prefer to hang out. Who knows? Maybe his gang hangs on LinkedIn or prefer old fashioned newspaper and other offline marketing? Point is, he has avenues of finding out where they are, so he can use those locations to reach them with his marketing efforts.

*The young guy with the lead was a rather sad experience for me. He came to me for help, because he was getting lots of response from his ad, but his opt-ins were almost null. After looking at his stuff, I realized that the reason he wasn’t getting any leads was because his lead was all wrong for both his audience AND his product. His audience had said they were dealing with lifestyle issues – poor eating habits and lack of energy – and yet his lead was all about the vitamins and whatnot that are needed for “proper nutrition”. Nothing about eating habits or even about food sources for those vitamins and minerals. Nothing about energy boosting or causes of malaise. And the kid had worked long hours producing that report. (Not to mention it was too long and dare I say it, boring.) So I sent him back to the drawing board with some fresh ideas. I offered him my help in creating a new lead and follow-up mid-level offer, but he said he didn’t have it in his budget. Here’s the homework assignment I gave him:

  • A lead that outlined 5 causes of “lack of energy” and offered an easy “booster smoothie” recipe to help counteract some of them
  • A mid level ebooklet that consisted of the following – a more in-depth look at causes of malaise, a diet plan that would help improve eating habits AND provide more energy, an exercise routine or list of various exercises that are known to boost one’s energy level, and lastly, a mention of “alternative” methods including the main offer product – his vitamin supplement.

Both address the need expressed by his audience, AND offer value in helping them address those needs. Both also lead nicely into his main offer’s sales campaign.

Take away lessons:
Know your audience. Talk to them in the ways and in the places they prefer. Make your messages meaningful and relevant. Make them attractive and receivable.

Know who you are talking to, and what they want to hear. It’s vital to everything you do as a marketer and entrepreneur.

If you are stuck and need help like these clients were, contact me and we can discuss YOUR situation. There are always solutions to be found.