2018 is officially in the books and it was an intense year for me. This was the first year that I stepped 100% into the freelance consulting world. Granted, I have been doing freelance marketing for years, but 2018 was the first time I was relying completely on my consulting career to support myself. It sounds like a big jump but, looking back, it was more of a little leap over a deep canyon. The actual jump wasn’t super difficult, but the consequences of missing it were very real.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I went on a date with a nice young woman who was also an entrepreneur. She was working a regular 9-5 in a corporate setting but was trying to launch her own business. She asked me, “How were you able to just make the jump?” I hadn’t really thought about HOW I made the jump very much, so my answer left something to be desired. I said something like “I just made sure I was set up, had income in place, and then made my move…” See, not that amazing. Lately, I have been thinking about that question and how I could have answered it differently.
I haven’t really focused on the “how” I did it. Instead, my focus has been on the “WHY” I am motivated to do what I do. I read a book about 2 years ago called “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. Great book, by the way, I highly recommend it for business owners, entrepreneurs, or anyone looking to improve their outlook on life. I think one quote from the book is relevant here. Sinek says “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” It’s an incredibly powerful concept, one that has shaped the way I look at my own role as a businessman.
So, throughout the year, I spent time really thinking about WHY I am doing what I am doing. I’ve been trying to give an answer to the question, “WHY am I a marketer?”
To come up with an answer, I did what any marketer does when they don’t have a clear idea, look at the data. I looked back at all my clients, previous startup ventures, my old agency-life, and came to one clear conclusion. The clients that I’ve loved working with the most, and not coincidentally my most successful clients, have all been small businesses. There is something special about these types of businesses. Maybe it has something to do with the American dream, maybe it is because my father started his own business, or maybe it was destiny. Either way, I know that I want to help this segment the most.
What I also am discovering is that there are TONS of marketers talking about corporate marketing – think Apple, Pepsi, etc… But there is surprisingly little chatter about the struggles and successes of the local folks.
Furthermore, many small business owners are frustrated because of the poor results they get with marketing. I think has a lot to do with a lack of proper marketing analysis and planning. I also think there are tons of predatory “marketers” out there looking to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting and ill-informed businesses. The system is ripe for a shakeup.
Small businesses are the backbone of America. There are over 30 million small businesses in this country which employ over 58 Million people. That is far from, well, small!
So, as I said, I have been thinking about this stuff all year. Considering that it’s a new year, I felt it time to revisit my own personal “Why Statement” and share it. So, here it is…
To help small businesses make smart marketing decisions so that, together, we can all be successful.
WHEW! Glad I got that off my chest. I feel pretty good about it.
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Cheers to 2019!