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The Two Most Important Questions in Business and Marketing…
Learning how to run a business has been a huge journey for me. In 2013 I jacked in a good job, quit a long marriage, and moved towns in a matter of months. I had to take stock of myself, my peers, and the world around me.
What does it all mean? What does true happiness feel like and what can it do? And why would you spend your entire life in a job you hate, with someone you despise, and living a life that isn’t true to you?
At the time…. Stuff like that was in books, not in my head.
2013 saw a huge journey of self-acceptance and discovery and without meaning to get philosophical on a marketing blog, it was powerful and life-changing.
Most of this came from meeting Jo. Jo taught me that my alter-ego on Twitter and the crazy van driver who really and truly did what he wanted (online) was actually a good guy. My writing was the avenue to me, the true me, and Jo spotted that.
But recently I’ve realised that Jo did something more powerful than just proofread my content – she helped me come out! I failed my English A-level and I wasn’t ‘a writer’, I was “just a van driver” as I kept telling her.
But since I quit the road and married a keyboard, I’ve realised that every time she told me I was more than “just a van driver” she was making a very powerful point:
I was limiting my beliefs and my life.
I AM more than a van driver now… but I always was. You see, sometimes you have to stop talking shit to yourself, look up from your phone, and listen to what other people are saying to you, about you, and because of you.
Just this week I had a private message on LinkedIn from a connection I made at a networking event I spoke at. It simply said:
“Hi – your 4sight in Cirencester this week was the most useful and business-valuable 4sight I have ever seen. Thanks!”
Not bad for a van driver! Oh, sorry. I’m not a just a van driver.
This week on the blog I wanted to pass on some advice that’s helped my business. The advice follows through all the marketing I do. It generates us some incredible conversations, leads, and business – and I feel it’s an important topic to talk about…
… and it’s all about you!
Be yourself; everyone else is taken
I know you’ve heard it before, but just this week in a talk at a networking meeting I asked 25 people an important question that relates to that quote above.
I said this:
“Why do you do what you do?”
And then I did something I never do in a talk – I shut up!
I gave them an entire minute of my 18 minute presentation to think about it. Because, you see, we forget why and we get all caught up in ‘stuff’ that doesn’t matter. When we do that we lose sight of our core values and beliefs and what drives us to be in business or the line of work we’re in.
So WHY? Why do you do what you do? Have a think about it.
Then I asked them something else:
“Who is your favourite customer or client and WHY are they your favourite?”
I asked them this because you should simply aim to have all of your customers just like your favourite one. Build a blueprint and only work with your favourites. There are billions of people in the world, so you can be a bit choosy.
These two questions guide our business, along with some other values that I wanted to share.
“We don’t deal with dickheads” is a phrase we borrowed from Peter Thomson (a local marketer and utter God when it comes to creating informational products). We love it and it’s the reason we love our business so much – we don’t have dickheads to deal with. We use our rather effective dickhead filter instead!
When I had a job, I had dickheads to deal with and those two questions didn’t serve me.
I did the job because it paid me and my favourite customers couldn’t help me find more of them as I wasn’t in charge of doing that.
So why would I take on the proverbial dickheads in our business now? Why when I have a choice would I choose dickheads to surround me?
At the beginning of this blog I told you about the journey and how Jo was a catalyst to me entering the business world. Since that summer’s day in 2013 when I decided to start over I’ve only looked back when I create content like this. It’s been truly life-changing and I’m forever grateful to Jo and everyone who helped create this business, brand, and world around me that helps it become a reality.
It’s been a long learning curve, but now it’s really clear what I need to keep focused on.
There are only a few things that guide me forward now:
- Be yourself, everyone else is taken
- We don’t deal with dickheads
- Business should be fun every damn step of the way.
The moment I start to dread doing some work I consider ditching it, and the moment a sales conversation turns sour, I politely decline.
Our business has grown since I started truly living and working in this way. We chose our life, our business, our clients, and in that – we chose happiness. It’s still an ongoing process.
What I want you to understand is that when you truly know and accept who you want to work with and WHY you do what you do, you will frame all of your content, marketing, videos, social media, network, brand and website around it.
“What a bunch of cowboys!”
Yup… being cowboys is not usually a good thing.
But we like to think we do it with a bit of style. It suits us, and it attracts the right type of customers to us.
- You think we attract overtly serious people?
- You think we have loads of boring suit wearing people as clients?
- You think run-of-the-mill businesses even consider emailing us?
Occasionally some slip through, but because we know who we are and what we do, our marketing either gets rid of them or we do.
About a year ago I got this email reply:
“Thanks for the follow-up Todd but we’re not quite ready yet. I’ll be in contact soon. Oh, and I know it’s part of your brand, but please don’t put Howdy in an email to me again. I just don’t like it.”
… What do you think I said to him?
NOTHING. I never replied.
It’s really simple: He didn’t get us, so we would’ve regretted working with him. And that’s absolutely fine.
He’s not alone either.
Look… I’m not suggesting that you go out of your way to upset people. I don’t.
But you gotta be yourself.
Be yourself online.
Be yourself on video.
Be yourself on stage.
Be yourself out networking.
Be yourself as much as you can.
I spent too long trying to be ‘professional’ or trying to fit in and I can tell you at nearly the ripe old age of 40 it’s held me back.
For the past few years I’ve opened up the throttle on what makes me, me and I’ve not only created an amazing life that keeps on giving, I’ve got an amazing partner, team and network.
I’ve attracted the right type of people; the people who like me and the clients who ‘get’ us.
Every day has something that excites me without even trying and even when life throws something shite at it, someone cool from my circle helps me over or around it.
I feel marketing has helped this.
“How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything”
We live by that phrase.
Jo is a perfectionist in most things and I want to always do my very best. We do that in everything and it’s driven us to be successful and our marketing, our business, our conversations, and even the tips and tricks and chats over coffee are the very best we can offer and as honest as we can be.
Whether you’re trying to improve your life, your business, or your marketing it comes down to a few very simple things for me:
- Why do you do what you do?
- Who do you want to work with, live with, and experience life with?
- Don’t deal with dickheads
- Be yourself and be proud of who you are
- And what you do doesn’t define you; who you are defines what you do.
I am more than a van driver and the moment I agreed with Jo about that and started living life believing in it is when it all got exciting for me.
I’m 40 next month and they say life begins then, but for me it began when I accepted myself and made a decision to be me and give myself and everything I have that’s great to the world.
Life began when I made every day a day to look forward to and spend it doing what makes me smile, gives me goosebumps, and makes a difference to those around me.
I just happen to do that with marketing.
You can do it with anything you want.
Don’t wait… make it happen.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” Maya Angelou
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