How Are You Growing?

I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks, and I didn’t beat myself up about it too much.

The reason? Well, there are a couple.

First, as a business owner, I often seek out advice and information to help me grow. But in doing that, I’m also exposed to a lot of information that is totally overwhelming. Sometimes the places that I go looking for  inspiration are also over populated with other internet marketers screaming that they also have something I need to see and their messages often carry the same tone:

If you follow these 5 steps, or stop making these 3 mistakes, you will finally grow your business.

Second, and maybe the most frustrating for me, is that these marketers sell under the assumptions that everyone has a great product (they’re simply not marketing correctly), or that success is just one meticulously followed set of launch tips away. Don’t even get me started on the fact that a lot of these marketers market to product businesses, when they themselves have never sold a physical product.

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from pursuing products that they are passionate about, but what if your product needs refinement?

What if you actually don’t have a great product? I question my own products nearly every day. Because I want them to be great, and I know I can always make them better.

I’m frustrated because business growth is not about one strategy, or one mistake you are making that is keeping you from it. And a great launch strategy is not going to mask the things about your product that need to be improved. 

With this blog I want to share practical, heart-felt advice for doing something you love to do, and eliminating things from your life that do not bring you joy (like that day job you hate, or the career path that is not feeding your soul). I also want to keep it real with you.

I don’t want to hop on here and try to think of catchy titles and shallow step-by-step tutorials on how to grow a business that only focuses on sales and followers, and diminishes the WHY behind what you are doing.

Success takes time and experience. It requires you to try new things and figure some stuff out, both about your products and yourself. That right there? Is my all-time favorite advice. It has proven to be true in just about anything that I have pursued that garnered any positive attention. Even though your product requires constant refinement, you should definitely start putting it out into the world early and often.

Don’t beat yourself up when launches don’t go as planned or products tank. Don’t let the expectation of a five- or six-figure launch deter you from starting before you feel ready.

Those big launches usually come after you have launched again and again, refined over and over, and have a nice cache of experience to draw from. 

One of the most popular info product models on the market these days is the Social Media Growth model. I’ve seen so many small business owners completely freaking out about how many followers they have online.

I hope this doesn't come as a shock: your success is not solely dependent on the number of followers you have on social media.

There's some really crappy advice being doled out about how to “engage” in online communities to find your customers. But I gotta tell ya, the engagement that I have been seeing emerge from other businesses targeting ME has been, quite frankly, shallow as hell. There's a pattern of tactics being used--that they have learned from social media marketing “experts”--that's starting to muddy the playing field. I’ve been told to use the same strategies, and I tried them on Instagram, but they felt really sleazy. Yes, my follower count jumped, but my self-esteem fell. 

I want to leave you with a few questions about how you are growing as a business and a person.

Growing relevant followers is great, but what else are you doing to improve your work and gain relevant exposure?

Are you reaching out for opportunities and collaborations with other brands? Are you making yourself available for media exposure? Are you putting yourself out there in your own community and making friends in your industry? Are you attending conferences and shows appropriate for your market? Are you even talking about what you do on a regular basis? Are you teaching others about what you do and sharing information?

Are you improving your product? Are you learning new ways to make what you make, and make it better than it was last week?

Are you pursuing educational resources that teach you how to improve your craft?

And when it comes to social media, what are you sharing that makes people give a damn about the work that you do? What are you giving people, besides a call to action?