Marketing Self Assessment
Now that I've confessed my fear, it's time to move beyond it. Whenever I'm down in the dumps, it helps me to look back at the things I've done well. So step 2 of Overcoming My Fear of Marketing Myself is to identify my marketing skills and strengths.
As part of the prep work for the StacyK Academy S'marketing course, Richard Roppa and I have developed a S'marketing Skills Inventory. The goal is for class participants to recognize the skills they have. Throughout the course, they'll determine how to best use their skills to meet their marketing goals.
Here's a sneak peek at just SOME of the things in our evaluation. (We can't give it all away).
Rank your skills from 1-5, 5 being the best.
- Listening 1 2 3 4 5
- Authenticity 1 2 3 4 5
- Public speaking 1 2 3 4 5
- Self motivation 1 2 3 4 5
- Time Mgmt 1 2 3 4 5
- Confidence 1 2 3 4 5
- Writing 1 2 3 4 5
- Social media
- Direct mail
- Email campaigns
- LinkedIn profile
- Facebook business page
- Business card
- Other __________________________
About five years ago, I took singing lessons from a fabulous woman named Marta Hansen. Most of her students were children or teenagers, so when it was time for the recital, she told me I didn't have to do it. Well, I wanted to. My husband and sister and daughter all sat in the audience. When I got up to sing Greensleeves, I told the audience “I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking, now I’m working on overcoming my fear of public singing!” And while I’m not ready to get our there with Taylor Swift, I like that approach. Face your fear and get on with it. My coach buddy Keisha Gallegos has a lot of tips for overcoming fear in her Little Book of Big Mojo, which, by the way, I coached her through writing. You remember Austin Powers and mojo, right? Keisha says mojo killers are things like:
- Mistake-o-phobia. Fear of screwing up.
- Compare and Despair. Fear of not being or having enough.
- Turtle Shell Syndrome. Fear of standing out and being seen in all of your glory.
- Stage Fright. Fear of not being perfect when it's your time to shine.
A series on learning how to market myself. When I launched my new website last November, I had great intentions to get out there, blog more and shine. Didn’t do it. I could give you a bunch of excuses, but that’s all they are, excuses. Then, the New Year hit and I had great intentions. And while I can still say this week qualifies as the new year (heck, it’s January), I haven’t done much. Give me an F. Give me an E. Give me an A. Give me an R. What does that spell? FEAR! Fear got in the way of my ability to market myself. You see, marketing myself is hard. Even though I work to market my clients, help them get the attention they deserve, doing it for ME is a challenge. When I’ve worked for other companies and nonprofits, I was selling their products and services. I had trust that they would fulfill their brand promise. Even though I’ve been in business for myself for the past eight years, it is different selling my company’s services. As a solopreneur, I’m not just selling my products and services, I’m selling myself. Somehow, fear and doubt creep in. Getting Over It I may sound a bit like a broken record for my next few blog posts, but I guess I’m going to try to overcome this fear in a very public way. Like this:
- Create the plan. Duh. It works for my clients. We set dates, schedule activities and get them done. While I can probably think of a million other things I need to do other than create the plan, I’ve got to make the commitment to myself.
- Just do it. Going back to the Nike model. I’ve got to get schedule time on my calendar and FORCE myself to take action.
- Accountability partner. My buddy Joanna Holden and I have been accountability partners for years. We're both solopreneurs with kids, so we have a lot in common. The last few months, we’ve been on hold a bit. We need to get back at it.
- Teach. To add fear on top of fear, Richard Roppa and I have committed to teaching a class for the StacyK Academy. Entitled S’marketing, which means smart sales and marketing, the class will help students identify their s’marketing skills (some they didn’t even know they had) and how to use them to grow their businesses. We’ll be talking a lot about fear and your attitude toward marketing and sales in this course. Maybe by teaching, I’ll learn a bit myself! I’m sure I will.
That's the refrain of my children—what took you so long? It is also the refrain I have to myself, lately, as I finally launch my new website. Although I hate to admit it, I've been working on this site for more than a year. My goodness, you may say, what has taken you so long? So many of us in business for ourselves don't put our needs first—the cobblers children have no shoes. Maybe more importantly, marketing yourself is hard—even if you are a marketer. Here's my theory why:
- "Fools names and fools face often appear in public places." My mom used to say that to me whenever we saw an autograph wall in a restroom. And it stuck with me. My old website was fairly sedate. Attractively designed, but really behind the scenes. The new website puts ME out there. Not only what I do, but my face. Yikes.
- "Don't brag." I have probably heard that coming out of my mouth when talking to my own children. We're taught not to brag as kids, but when in business for yourself, bragging is marketing. Yet, wait, I'm not supposed to brag, right Mom?
- "If you build it, they will come." Evidently, I'm into trite sayings today. I think part of the reason I have drug my feet on launching this new website is fear. Whether fear of being noticed or of not being noticed, I can't say.
Having a community of resources to turn to makes a huge difference not only in an entreprenuer’s business, but in her life as well. Having had my own firm for more than seven years, I’ve developed a network of individuals I use almost as a board of directors for my small business. The time I spend with them is actually a strategic investment in the growth of my business, in how I serve my clients and in my sanity. Here’s what my business confidants provide me:
- Perspective. It is easy to get enamored with your own ideas—oh, this will be great; my phone will be ringing off the hook; I am brilliant. Or conversely, disenchanted with the idea—I don’t know what I was thinking; this is ridiculous; no one will ever want this. A business confidant will look at things from another perspective—maybe even a client’s—and provide valuable feedback on your offering, the pricing, or any number of other issues you pay be facing. This input is invaluable.
- Insight. We can never see our strengths as clearly as someone else can. Especially those subtle strengths that are just part of who we are because they are so innate to our persona—we don’t even know recognize they are strengths. Your business confidant will give you is insight into your differentiators. Knowing these will help you market more effectively and will give you an extra boost of confidence when you need it.
- Accountability. It is easy to procrastinate or just not do important tactics that will make a difference in your business. After all, client work always comes first. Things like marketing yourself, networking, finding a subcontractor or even cleaning off your desk can easily be shoved aside. Having a confidant that you share your big and small goals will help ensure those goals don’t get lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
- Loneliness. There are a lot of adjectives describing entrepreneurs: driven, creative, assertive, self- motivated. The word you don’t hear often to describe entrepreneurs is lonely. But if you’ve ever been there, you know its true. Entrepreneurs, at least those starting out, are frequently working alone, out of their homes or with remote teams. Having a confidant helps alleviate some of that loneliness and allow you to feel like you have a team in place.
Recently I facilitated a meeting to clarify goals for a local nonprofit in my role as a consultant at the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) in Dallas. Using CNM's process, we had just completed an organizational assessment -- really analyzing the organization's strengths and areas for improvement.After presenting the information, we broke into groups by area to come up with some achievable goals. I was mingling in the room, ensuring each group understood its charge and was making progress addressing it when I came across Why Guy. Why Guy said: "Hey, I know what we do. I even know how we do it. But I truly don't know why we are doing it or whey we are talking about creating goals to change the way we do what we do." I felt like I had been hit with a stun gun. I had committed the cardinal sin of facilitation. Assuming we were all on the same page. You see, we had just reviewed their Organizational Assessment scores and they were strong on mission. They all knew the mission and felt a connection to it. There was a sense within the group that they wanted to grow. All but Why Guy, that is. Why Guy had just read Start with Why by Simon Sinek and took it to heart. He asked the question we should all ask ourselves occasionally. Why? Needless to say, I derailed the meeting and went back to the Why. And that conversation was rich and important and lead to revamping the entire mission statement. (And yes, another blog post I'll write about why changing the mission is like changing the Bible, but in this case, the change was important). Attainable goals were set and decisions to grow for growth sake were rejected. Thanks, Why Guy! I will never forget you.Read more
Recently, I was asked to give feedback on some marketing pieces. I was happy to do it, but worried because while I am always well intentioned, sometimes I am blunt. My husband calls me Frank. I diligently reviewed the piece and wrote my recommendations for improvement, as well as the specifics of why the pieces were not working. And then I asked Mr. Frank to review it to make sure the tone was what I intended. While I am a professional communicator, I never underestimate the value of an extra pair of eyes. And the closer you are to the subject matter, the more important it is that someone else review it. Jargon, corporate speak, acronyms can muddy the water of the story you are trying to tell. And while it all makes sense to you, your reader might misunderstand. Early in my career, I worked for a localization company. We translated software and technical documents into other languages--French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese. We always had a native speaker review the translation. This really brought home the importance of getting someone to review your work. The famous Chevy Nova story is a great example of that. The car didn't sell well in Spanish-speaking countries because no va means no go in Spanish. So get a reviewer for anything you are sending to a broad audience. It's important.Read more
Friday, I attended a workshop by Kim Young of The Forest and the Trees at the Dallas Social Venture Partners First Friday Luncheon Series. Head spinning, I left the informative session realizing I hadn't even blogged in a while, let alone Tweeted or used any of the other social media tools at my disposal. It got me thinking about priorities. And it got me thinking about the myriad directions nonprofits are pulled and where they should focus their time and energy. So, thanks to Kim, here are a few thoughts. 1. Get the basics first. Is your phone being answered? Do you have a website? Are you able to communicate with your constituency via email? Take the time to figure out some of these issues and make them right. 2. Brand. This should probably be number 1 on my list. Make sure your inner circle knows your brand. Meaning: how do you talk about your organization? What is your key messaging? Do those closet to you have the tools to help you tell your story? 3. Think about your objectives. Getting people to an event? Raising money? Just getting the word out? Know what you are trying to achieve first! If you have those things in place, get your constituency to help you with social media. Get them to create a page on Facebook. Get the to post your events, news, information on their Facebook pages. Then start peeling back the layers and adding to the mix.Read more
My friend, coach, and blogging mentor Laurie Foley's blog post today about Daniel Pink's new book Drive got me thinking about motivation and audience.
In my role as a nonprofit consultant, I recently did a survey to find what motivated folks on a specific board in which they were serving. They had choices like giving back to the community, creating a personal connection with the organization, a passion for the mission, etc. Eighty nine percent responded "the opportunity to give back to the community." When asked why they enjoyed participating, the biggest response was that it gave them a feeling of accomplishment.
Those are altruistic motivations–the personal contributions you make to creating a better community. All nonprofits need to think about what motivates their board members...whether it be having their name on the stationary, networking with other board members, or having the opportunity to leave a legacy.
For that matter, it is important for all of us to remember what motivates us! And equally important, what motivates our target audiences. Take a few minutes to hypothesize on what motivates your audiences--and work to include that motivation in your outreach to them.Read more
I had lunch yesterday with the Relentless Networker. I learned a couple of things while enjoying my time with Paul.
- Do not order Tom Ka soup with noodles while networking. The noodles are very slurpy and messy to eat. At one point, I looked down and I had lovely coconut soup splatters on my sweater. Not my finest moment. Despite that, there were some jewels from the meeting.
- Coopertition. No, that is not a typo. Coopertition, according to the Urban Dictionary, is when two rival team up to help each other compete. I thank Paul for introducing me to the term.