You should get a second job.Yes, this is a metaphor, and no I’m not talking to all of you.The “second job” is investing in your marketing, or more broadly investing in your business.I say this to folks who are feeling stuck, or pinned down, by the status quo of your business. If you’ve ever said, “I want to improve my business, but I’m too busy with client work to spend time on it and I’m breaking even so I can’t spend money”, then I’m talking to you.The only way out I know of this pinned down situation to get a “second job”. And in your case, that metaphorical second job is a focused, short-term sprint of investment in your business.Here are 8 ideas for that investment sprint:
- Join Indie Pentathlon. It’s free and only requires from you some time, courage, and flexibility.
- Join the next group of Jonathan Stark’s The Pricing Seminar. Not free, but worth many times what he charges for it. No kickbacks to me, just the satisfaction of sharing something good with y’all.
- Publish daily on the Internet about a specific topic of interest to you for 30 to 90 days. See how deep your interest in $TOPIC goes. You’ll probably “hit the wall” around 6 weeks in, so try to go for 90 days because the real insight (into either yourself, your topic, or both) lies beyond “the wall”. Tips on this here: theexpertiseincubator.simplecast.fm
- Build a free gift of knowledge for a specific prospect you’d like to attract. Offer it to them and see what happens. Iterate based on what you learn, or persist if you know you’re right and the first few rejections are not informative. (J.K. Rowling’s 12 rejections were not informative RE: the potential of her manuscript.)
- Interview 10 people within some area of focus, like within a vertical you might want to or are already focused on. You’ll learn from the interviews, but you might actually learn more from the outreach, which is where you have to sift through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles to find the right people to reach out to–and oh by the way have to think about who is the right person to reach out to–and you have to figure out how to reach out to them and how to ask them for their time, all of which teaches you a lot. And it’s not “book learning” either–it’s experiential learning which is often way more valuable. If the interviews provide insight or utility, build a free gift of knowledge based on what you learned and see who wants it.
- Profile 5 to 10 of your competitors, figure out what they’re saying about themselves and what kinds of clients they work for, and then figure out how to one-up them somehow. See if you can interview a few of them. In my experience, 50% will agree to speak with you if you ask politely and with no stink of subterfuge on your request.
- Circle back to old clients and ask if your work moved the needle for them. Make it easy for them to say no or else you’ll make some of them uncomfortable. If they say yes, see if they’re open to a case study for the project.
- Write a short book. For your topic, think about the “missing manual” your clients need to get better results. Imagine that you’re going to retire in a year and you want to pass along all your wisdom (the useful parts, anyway ha!) to those clients who would have hired you but can’t because you’re retired. A well-written, well-organized group of 20,000 to 30,000 words qualifies as a book or manual or handbook, so don’t feel like it has to be an 80k-word monstrosity.
If you do one of these investment sprints, treat it like a real project or job, where someone will get pissed if you show up late or half-ass it. Get your ass out of bed an hour or two earlier than you normally would. Or use moonlight hours after the kids are in bed when you’d normally watch grown-up TV. Or a full day every weekend. Something you can manage but won’t kill you over the next 3 months or so.Yes, all these ideas are all speculative. So, it turns out, is pretty much any high-yield investment!Investments don’t always produce a return, but the alternative is safe, predictable mediocrity.-P