target audience

Don’t Worry About the Gurus … Just Do You

Back when I was still finding my way as an entrepreneur, I was between gigs and needed to bring in some cash. I opted for a multi-level marketing business, knowing that if I liked the products enough, I could sell them.

I was right, but felt pressure from the higher ups to recruit other sellers. It wasn’t in my DNA, though … I don’t like cold calls, gimmicks, lame pitches, etc. Against my better judgment, I tried it. What happened was exactly what I suspected: I pissed people off, didn’t recruit anyone, and felt the wrath of being something other than myself.

It taught me a valuable lesson: stay true to me, regardless of outside pressure.

Let Me Be Vulnerable For A Second …

One of my “superpowers” in business is networking. I’m good at it both online and in person. I love engaging with others and digging into what makes them tick. I’m passionate about what I do and that translates into my business conversations.

On the flip side of that is appealing to the masses – converting cold traffic into warm traffic into paying customers. I admit that I’ve allowed myself to fall into the same trap I fell into as a multi-level marketer: listening to the gurus instead of my gut.

I’ve heard some amazing advice: write practical tips my target audience is looking for, make my website about my audience instead of myself, “niche down” to appeal to my “avatar.” While I’ve generated traffic using these methods, my leads continue to come through referrals and through the two platforms I leverage my networking prowess: Twitter and LinkedIn.

The moral of the story? What makes me unique — networking and engagement — is what sells, not conforming to a set of practical tips.

Getting That Wake-Up Call

I owe my most recent wake-up call to a Freelance Transformation podcast episode with Khierstyn Ross. She confessed to host Matt Inglot that she hates pitching herself and that her business method is to network her ass off in the right places and establish herself as the go-to person for crowdfunding.

Like Khierstyn, I hate pitching to cold traffic, though I understand the value for those who are amazing at it (and in the right industry for it).

Khierstyn also talked about setting herself apart from the competition instead of blending in with all of the other Internet marketers. There are countless “social media managers” and “Internet marketers,” so good luck standing out from the crowd, she said.

That statement really resonated with me. I’d attempted to customize my website to my target audience, ultimately losing the part of my site that sells: me.

Embrace What You’re About

As entrepreneurs, it’s critical to embrace what makes us unique.

I love working with passionate people who want to make a difference in the world, whether it’s through education, fitness, health, or some other means. I have to work with people like this. Someone simply out to generate dollars at any and all costs is not my ideal client.

I dig into and ultimately embody the passion of my clients and work to convey it in the clearest possible way to those they want to help. It drives me as an entrepreneur to build those connections for my clients and see how they, in turn, can help others.

That’s what I’m passionate about.

Now — don’t get me wrong — I also nerd out over analytics and Facebook ads and breaking down the nuances of social media and content, but it’s not what sets me apart from other digital marketers.

What sets me apart is my drive to make a difference.

The Moral of the Story

So, why am I writing all this? I’m hoping my experience will help you dig deep into what sets you apart from the competition. I know from firsthand experience that the talents we so easily bestow upon others are hard to use with ourselves. We are too close to our own businesses.

Uncover what you are passionate about and what makes you unique — that is the reason people will want to work with you or hire you to be their consultant. It’s your “superpower” so to speak.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital marketing strategist, a fitness consultant, or an online coach: if you are someone passionate about helping others, it’s that passion that will result in growing your business.

Now it’s just a matter of conveying that passion in the right way.

passion career

I Get Paid to be Passionate … Is That A Thing?

Success

Exactly.

My entrepreneurial journey has been anything but a straight line. In fact, the picture to the right is exactly how I would illustrate it.

It’s been two years of twists and turns that have driven my husband crazy. It isn’t out of the ordinary for him to turn to me and say, “Okay, what are you doing now?”

In actuality, he has no clue. I’ve always known that is a problem, but not for the reason you’d think. It’s a problem because I haven’t been able to articulate it. When someone asks, “What do you do?” an entrepreneur should be able to answer the question in a sentence or two. For me, the question would dredge up a monologue. Even I would end up confused.

The truth is, I have taken on projects at a gut level. I have pursued and said yes to opportunities because they felt right, not quite understanding what they all had in common. It’s been frustrating to say the least. I haven’t felt like a real business owner because I haven’t been able to sum it all up in one easy phrase.

Then it all came together in one of those ‘aha’ moments.

It’s passion. The common thread to all of my projects and all of my clients is that I am passionate about each and every one of them. Yes, these projects have similar subjects (we’ll get to that later), but I’m like the Olivia Pope of content marketing.

Come to me with your problem to be solved. If you manage to touch my soul, we’re in business.

You Have to Have A Pure Heart

I am a real person to a fault. I don’t operate in superficiality and I tell it like it is. I can’t lie. I can’t misdirect. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing in that I’m a genuine person. A curse in that you can read me like a book. The latter isn’t always the best in the business world.

Because this is who I am, I need my clients to be the same way, both in the way they do business and in their professional intentions. If you are someone who gives back to others just to make yourself look good, you aren’t the person for me. If you are someone who has a goal of making a lot of money for no other reason than to make a lot of money, you aren’t the person for me.

That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with people who operate that way — to each their own — but it’s not how I operate. I am a gut-level, tell-it-like-it-is person and professional. You get the best of me when you want the best for others.

You Have to be Able to Pay Me

This is particularly tough for me because I always want to help in areas where I’m passionate, especially when I really believe I can make a difference. But the truth is that I can’t help others if I can’t pay my bills.

My ultimate goal isn’t to be a millionaire (though that wouldn’t suck), but I have to make enough to sustain and grow my business. While I would love to help everyone, I’m engaged in all of the grassroots work I can be engaged in right now, so any additional projects I take on have to be paid.

You Have to Have A Human Element

I am passionate about people. I am an extrovert if there ever was one, fueled by conversation and engagement. It’s why I am a good writer, social media manager, and marketer. I understand what makes people tick and love to move people to action, whether that’s visiting a website, donating to a cause, or purchasing a quality product.

This is where I’ve lost my focus in the past. A passion for people is a broad topic that spans across humanity. How do I narrow it? As it turns out, I’ve been very narrow in my actions, I just haven’t articulated it. Well, now I am.

Kids
If you have a cause focused on children, you’ve found the right person. I am deeply involved with The ChadTough Foundation, which is dedicated to raising money and awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. I knew nothing about DIPG before meeting Chad and his family. Now it is one of my greatest passions.
Parenting
I am a mom of three young children and love providing comic relief by writing about my own experiences. It’s my way of helping parents find the humor and joy in the day-to-day monotony of parenting. I am also passionate about helping parents solve problems. If you have a product or service that will make life easier for families, I’m all ears.
Sports
I have always loved sports, both because I am a huge competitor and because I love strategy. I worked for the Detroit Lions for a long time and loved interviewing coaches and players about the nuances of the game.
My time in the NFL coupled with my husband’s job with the University of Michigan athletic department have produced many sports and media connections. Those connections have resulted in projects for me, directly and indirectly.
Women in Business
I love coaching other women in promoting their businesses because I think women need to be fearless and pursue their dreams. Currently I’m working LeShonda Martin, founder of WAGS Redefined, a website focused on defying the stereotype of wives, fiancees, and girlfriends of NFL players. When I heard all she was trying to accomplish, I knew it was a perfect match.

So, that’s my story.  Now, if you’ve made it to the end and believe you have a business that fits my skill set and passion, please reach out. I’d love to discuss your mission and direction and see if working together would be a great fit.

Who knows? We might just change the world.

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