The short answer is I stopped trying to be clever, charming, and in-control. I started doing a lot of things that fly in the face of marketing best practices. How I got to this place has been an interesting adventure.
My Road to Marketing Mojo
In 2012 I decided to reinvent my business. My first brand, Highly Contagious Marketing, no longer fit what I was interested in offering. I rebranded my business as Ignite Your Mojo, created a new website with a new look and feel and put together a new set of service offerings. I’d love to write “and the money started pouring in” but it didn’t. In fact as of June, 2013 I had no clients. That’s a scary place to be as a business owner. It’s not that I didn’t know how to get clients. After all the coaches, workshops, and classes, I knew the system. But the way I knew to bring in new business “get out there and hustle your ass (G.O.T.A.H.Y.A), was completely unappealing. “GOTHYA” means develop a sales and marketing strategy, set up your funnels and pipelines, create a few offers, and GOTAHYA. I tried. I came up with several program ideas I liked but I couldn’t get myself to write copy and create offer pages. My heart wasn’t at all in my business.
In Fall, 2013 I hired a business coach to help me design a business that “fit me.” One reason I hired her was because she did minimal marketing. I found her because I just happened to be reading a blog post that mentioned her work and I was intrigued enough to follow through and send an email. My coach, Karen, told me that was typical for the way she got new clients. It’s not that she is against marketing or doesn’t know how to market her business. You might say Karen had ignited her marketing mojo. Igniting my marketing mojo began with reacquainting myself with my values and getting a better understanding of the working environment and practices I needed to feel inspired and excited about my work. I actually stopped marketing my business and stopped all subscriptions to marketing-related newsletters and ezines. I found that it was hard to make decisions based on what was right for my business when my mind was stuffed with tips, tools, and best practices. I spent the last six months doing small projects and paying close attention to what was working and what was not working. For me, “what works” is “feeling good.” Feeling good means I feel energetic, inspired, and excited about what I’m doing. If I feel good I do more. If I don’t feel good, I stop. I also paid attention to how people responded to me when I was being myself. Who was extended invitations my way? Who responded when I reached out? Who acknowledged what I said as helpful? Invitations, responses, and acknowledgements were all signs that said “These are Open Doors.”
Here is What Learned About Igniting My Marketing Mojo
These are the awarenesses I’ve had about how to ignite my marketing mojo.
#1. I stopped trying to “be” what I thought people wanted me to be.
I always thought I had to be a particular type of person: witty, in control, decisive, and smooth, otherwise no one would take me seriously. The problem with this approach is it takes a lot of energy to keep your game face on. The other problem is it doesn’t really work very well. I found it took so much energy to be “public Judy” that I wasn’t paying much attention to other people. I wasn’t really listening and I wasn’t really connected. When I don’t try, interactions with others can be more awkward but at least the interactions are authentic. And it’s great when I feel a real connection with the other person. It’s a much better foundation for doing business than the “what can I do to get you to like me” approach.
#2. I fired my inner censor.
It’s also exhausting to be constantly on guard against saying or writing something people find off-putting or offensive. In fact, I stopped writing articles for the MojoZone because I realized how much I was unconsciously writing to avoid negative responses from readers. I decided I didn’t want to write until I felt I could write in a way that accurately reflected how I felt even if what I wrote didn’t work for some people.
#3. Enjoy failing.
At some point, I realized I wasn’t trying to be successful so much as I was trying to avoid failing. And it’s impossible to play a bigger game when you’re trying not to lose the smaller ones. I’ve reframed “success” to mean making decisions and taking actions and being fully present for whatever experiences I have. I focus on the experience and what I learn and celebrate the fact that I took action regardless of the result. My criteria for choosing actions are: “does it sound interesting?,” “is it likely to be fun?,” and “will it take me closer to having more of what I want?” I listen to my intuitive response rather than my intellectual response because my intellectual response is usually fear-based (for example, “you should because everyone else does”).
#4 Learn to appreciate my worst character defects because they hold the key to my success.
I like this one a lot because it’s so contradictory to the conventional advice I usually hear. What we usually hear is either fix what’s wrong or sweep your weaknesses under the rug by playing to your strengths. I now believe “strengths” and “weaknesses” are a matter of interpretation. The irony is, the more accepting I am of my “shortcomings,” the more confidence and clarity I have about the value I offer through my work. #5. Look for Invitations and acknowledgment. I used to have a strange compulsion to win over people who clearly weren’t interested. For whatever reason, winning over the people who said “no” felt more meaningful than working with people who said, “I love you, you’re brilliant, do you prefer cash or charge?” It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun to walk through the open doors rather than throwing myself against the closed ones. It’s also more lucrative.
This is the Road Less Traveled in Marketingland
At the beginning of this post, I wrote this journey has been an “interesting adventure.” Becoming the kind of business owner I want to be has required me to become aware of the habits and beliefs that were holding me back and replace them with better habits and beliefs. It has been humbling to look at how I get in my own way. And learning new habits and behaviors requires a lot of practice and willingness to fail. The rewards make it worthwhile. I like being a business owner again. I’m working on fun projects and I like the people I’m working with. I trust myself to know what’s best for my business and I feel optimistic about the future. This is what it’s like when your marketing mojo is ignited. If you resonate with what I’ve written, please share your experience in Comments.