Posted by: draknor | February 1, 2012

Hustling

I don’t usually post two days in a row — in fact, I’m trying to be consistent about posting once a week.  But I’m in such a different place right now that I just couldn’t wait!

Less than 24 hours ago, I was posting about failure. What a difference a day makes!  (Actually in this case, night was where the magic happened.)  I spent most of the day pretty moody, to be perfectly honest.  In fact, I was kind of dreading going to my small business fundamentals class because I had been pretty disappointed so far by it.  Disappointed enough that for one of last week’s lectures I had very critical feedback and wrote a 2-page outline of ways the class could be improved.  If last night’s class had been like last week’s, I was prepared to demand my money back.

I was totally not prepared for what happened instead.

The subject of last night’s lecture was about promoting your product/service,  and it was taught by Vicky Jones, a local marketing communications consultant.  She was well-organized, knowledgeable and fun.  Her presentation was concrete, specific, and actionable.  Her content was relevant, appropriate, and had great examples.  In short, it completely lifted my mood and got me excited again!  She has a great value-add for class participants — a free hour of her time working on our marketing strategy.  I was ready to jump on that — in a little over a month I’ll be exhibiting at a local real estate agent trade show (Blitz 2012 — PDF link) and I want to make sure I’ve got a solid plan.  So I chatted with her after class and she invited me to her BNI chapter‘s weekly meeting this morning.

I’ll admit — 7:30am sounded awfully early (considering I usually roll out of bed after 9am), but sounded like a great opportunity to check out, so I got home with grand plans of printing out extra business cards & marketing brochures… and promptly had a 2+ hour discussion with my girlfriend about “relationship stuff”.

Tough conversation, but got some good stuff figured out.  Namely, that I don’t have good coping skills when I’m emotionally triggered & angry.  And that being told what to do (or what not to do) is emotionally triggering for me & makes me irrationally angry.  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out how this might be detrimental to a relationship 😉

Anyway, I’ve got some emotional stuff to work on — and that’s clear now.  And I’ll setup an appointment with a therapist to talk through some of this stuff.  But back to business stuff…

So a bit after midnight I start working on revamping my brochure & business card.  As I mentioned way back in Reflections, I had worked with Andrea Arnold of Visualized Info to design a new logo.  But I hadn’t yet updated my card or brochure — so that’s what I worked on for a few hours last night. Tweaked some colors, tweaked some content, printed plenty of copies off, then crashed on the couch for about 2 hours of shut-eye.

I spent the 20 minute drive to the meeting site rehearsing my 60 second intro (Vicky had prepped me that I’ll have a chance to introduce myself & my business).  I kept messing up the words, forgetting what I wanted to say, running too long… wasn’t looking good.  But I get there, and the meeting was great — it was awesome to be in a group of small business professionals in a variety of industries!  Suddenly the feelings I had of being lost in the wilderness suddenly dissipated, because here was a community of people that had been where I am and have knowledge in areas I need. And almost as importantly, may be able to use my skills & services.  During the networking time I spoke with a gentlemen who does floor covering installations.  I commented that I’m looking to extend my service to contractors, decorators, etc. — people who could use a highly visual before & after portfolio to show to prospective clients.  He thought that was a brilliant idea and said they hadn’t really thought about it before.  Their installers have cameras so I’m sure they’ve done snapshots & have probably done this informally, but the idea of creating a gorgeous before & after gallery was a new idea.  I picked up business cards from a couple of other folks that seemed interested in my service but didn’t have a chance to talk with at length.

Suddenly, what was just an idea for extending my market now seems very real — and potentially much more valuable than real estate agents.  Boom!  Just like that, in 90 minutes.

So the first follow-up action I have is to update my business website to more prominently highlight this potential niche.  I’m also really glad I followed some advice I received via a few sources (such as Zenologue’s free email course) within the last two weeks ago to remove my prices from website. This gives me an opportunity to figure out what appropriate pricing is and work one-on-one with clients to figure out their needs and what I can do.

I then setup my marketing consultation meeting with Vicky for next week, which means I need to do all of my brainstorming & preparation about the real estate agent trade show before then, so we can have a meaningful, value-packed hour discussing strategy & tactics, not basic fundamentals.

This, my friends, is called hustling.  It’s when things don’t happen on a nice, even pace but rather all of a sudden, you are thrust into the thick of things and feeling overwhelmed, but you figure out how to do it and you emerge on the other side feeling amazing & successful.  And exhausted.  But totally worth it.

See you on the flip side!

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