Something happened two weeks ago that has happened one too many times since I started this blog. I failed. I failed to communicate how I could help a prospect.
This prospect had found me on Facebook from a group I am a part of. She wanted to know more about my services and so we talked on the phone for a few minutes. She asked me the question most people ask me “So what do you DO?” The emphasis placed on the last word seemed to happen in every conversation. This was not lost on me. This emphasis made me realize yet again I was not being clear about what I offer to agents.
We both hung up the phone more confused than when we started. I felt defeat in my heart because I knew that I lost the chance to help an agent with their business. Sure I was sad that I missed out on a potential client, but I was more upset that I couldn’t help her. Or more accurately I couldn’t show her how I could help her.
Yet I knew the problem was all mine. I had no idea what I could do to help agents. This was a struggle of gigantic proportions for me. You see for the last eight years I have run Automated Marketing, Inc. When I was doing that business I was very clear on the services we offered. We created the products and tools to help you grow. The “stuff” like websites, flyers, postcards, etc. When someone asked me about those items I could give a quote, time frame and marketing concept without even thinking about it. It was second nature to me.
So I was frustrated that I couldn’t do the same thing for this current business. I was throwing around this “consulting” word and there was no meat behind it. I had no idea what it meant or what I was trying to “consult.” All I knew is that I wanted to use all the marketing strategy I have in my brain and put it to use for agents. But I had no idea how to do it.
I felt like I failed before I even began.
Even more frustrating for me is that I am writing content on this blog that people are connecting with. I get messages every week thanking me for the content I produce. I love writing these posts and knowing I am helping people. It is why I do it. I love helping agents grow their business. By the same token I am not a non-profit. I am a for-profit business and I had to figure out how I was going to monetize this blog.
Issues I Faced
1. Upsetting my readers
There’s a truth that all bloggers feel when they began to monetize their blog. They feel dirty. They feel like they don’t have the right to make money from their loyal followers. That if they do they are not being authentic. I was worried about upsetting my readers if I began to offer services on my blog. As agents you are bombarded every minute with someone trying to sell you something. I have worked hard to earn your trust. I didn’t want to lose that trust and be seen as just another person trying to take your money. This made it harder to figure out what services I offer.
2. Tangible to the intangible
Like I mentioned earlier, I have sold the tangible products for years. The websites, postcards, flyers, etc. were easier to sell. These were items that agents could take with them to earn more business. Consulting on the other hand is abstract. It is not easily measured and the value is often misunderstood. In short it was hard for me to quantify and it was even harder for agents to understand.
3. Not understanding my value
I didn’t understand my value and the things that I know. I think we all take for granted that we have something special with our knowledge. I talk to agents all the time that say “doesn’t everyone know that?” when it comes to real estate? No, your real estate knowledge and expertise is just that– your expert information. You are the expert.
I do the same thing to myself all the time. All the time. I assume that what I know for marketing strategy is just something everyone knows. I don’t understand my value. I take my knowledge and expertise for granted. Like you I have worked hard to become smart about marketing topics. In not understanding my worth I made it harder to define what it is that I can do for agents.
4. Fear of putting myself out there
I have had a fear post in draft since the middle of November. But I’ve been too scared to write it. Ha! I will touch briefly on my thoughts about fear here. I have been scared to put myself out there. It is a little easier to hide behind the blog and pretend no one is reading it.
But when I come face-to-face with a potential client I get scared. I get scared about all the things I mentioned in point three. There is a fear that I am not an expert, that I don’t know what I am talking about. It was easier to throw my services out there in general and not work hard to promote them. Then I didn’t have to worry about rejection or putting myself out there.
5 Steps I took to Conquer My Failure
1. Took time off
I realized that I needed to take a break from the daily grind to figure out how to monetize this blog. Every day I am busy writing content, working with current clients and networking. There wasn’t time to slow down. I didn’t have the time to figure out how I could help people and what I really wanted to do.
You see I was burnt out of creating all the projects. I wanted to work on strategy and help agents grow their businesses. But I knew I couldn’t do that in my current state. I needed to take a break from the writing and from the doing. I needed to take time to strategize for my business.
2. Looked at testimonials
I tell all my clients to keep records of their testimonials. Keep the emails, letters, tweets, and messages you receive that are full of compliments. We all need pick me ups from time-to-time. We need to know that what we are doing matters and that we are making a difference.
I take screen shots of these messages when they appear on social media or text. I star them in my Gmail account. Whenever I need a boost I take a look at these messages. They remind me that Iam headed in the right direction and I do know what I am talking about. Before I took my next steps to figuring out my services I had to look at these messages. It is a confidence booster and I recommend it!
I have recently rediscovered the power of keeping a personal journal. Yes I write everyday for a living and sometimes I include my personal thoughts. But there is something special about creating a journal just for yourself. I took my time off and journaled about what I was feeling. I journaled about my biggest dreams and my biggest fears. It was cathartic. It was wonderful. Getting all the noise out of my head helped me to get clear about how I can really help agents.
Once I had a clear mind and a clear heart I could brainstorm. The brainstorming would have been pointless if I hadn’t done the “emotional” work first. I sat down and started to make a list of all the things I like to do. It all came back to one word: teach. I like to teach marketing strategy to agents. I like to show them how to do things differently to improve their business. I like to teach them how to do new things. For me consulting=teach.
I then made a list of all the things I want to offer and divided them into categories. Ideas that would lend themselves to self-paced classes. Ideas that I needed to teach one-on-one. Finally ideas that could be products or tools. One morning around 11:30am I had an “aha” moment. I had my list of services. I knew what I had to offer agents. I knew how I could help. I felt victorious!
5. Made a plan
I didn’t have a plan when I started this blog. The only plan I had was that I would blog for 90 days and see if I liked it. During that time people would ask me how I could help them and I had no idea what to say. I knew I needed a plan. A solid business blogging plan. Once I was clear on what I would offer it was easier to make a plan. I knew how I would continue to blog and promote my services. I knew that I had something great and that I could help agents. I felt more comfortable sharing my services. I felt less guilt over monetizing this blog.
How often do you get stuck in your day-to-day activities and get off track? How often do you veer from your plan and your goals? I think if you want to achieve your goals you must slow down every once in a while. Take time off even when it seems impossible to do. Journal about your dreams, your ultimate goals and your fears. Figure out what is holding you back from everything you should be in your career and your life.
Then take the time to get clear. Make a list of things you are going to say no to. Make a list of the ideal clients for you and turn away any that don’t me et your list. Reevaluate your marketing plan and make sure you are setting yourself up for success. If you feel that your business is running you instead of you running your business it is time to slow down. It is time to slow down and figure out what it is that you really want. This is how successful people achieve their goals and rise to the top. Do this for yourself because you deserve it!
Where are you at in your business? Do you think you need a break to reevaluate where you are to meet your goals? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Thank you!