The early stages of business can feel like such a slog.
You feel like you’re trying SO HARD to get clients and money to come in consistently (or at all!).
But the results just aren’t coming as quickly as you’d like. It’s a client here, a client there, and lots of crickets in between.
And you’re starting to wonder if things are EVER going to work.
Super frustrating, right?
And half-baked results can be difficult to interpret. Things can feel very murky and confusing.
You’re not really sure why things aren’t working that well. And you’re not sure if you should keep going – or if this is a sign that you’re really not meant to be doing this work at all.
When you’re not getting the results you want (or not getting them quickly enough or in big enough numbers), one of two things is usually going on:
1) Your thinking is incorrect, and therefore your mindset is weak.
What I mean here is: Do you believe that you have something valuable to offer the world in the form of a business?
Do you believe that you have a skill, knowledge, or expertise that others can benefit from?
My guess is that your answer is probably “yes.” Otherwise, you wouldn’t be feeling called to share your gift(s). You wouldn’t even be reading this blog post in the first place.
But here’s where most people slide into incorrect thinking: When they find it hard to market themselves, or that clients don’t come as quickly as they’d like, they start to believe it’s because they’re NOT good at what they do. That what they offer ISN’T valuable.
And then this lack of belief in themselves starts to drag them down and make them less and less motivated to work at getting clients.
To correct your thinking here, it’s really important to realize that marketing is a separate skill from the actual work that you do in your business.
(This is still true even if marketing is what you help others with – because marketing yourself is different from helping others to do it.)
Said another way: Just because something is valuable, that doesn’t mean that people will automatically see its value. Getting people to see the value is a separate question.
So you need to continually stay strong in your belief that you’re excellent at what you do. Remind yourself every day. Write it down.
And at the same time, keep that belief separate from the question of whether you’re going to be able to get clients or not.
One really has nothing to do with the other.
Now, here’s the other problem that’s usually occurring when you’re not getting the numbers or results you want:
2) You don’t understand what it really takes to market yourself and get clients.
Marketing yourself can seem very complicated. There are so many people telling you different methods and strategies to use. It can seem like you’ll never figure out the best way to do it.
But here’s the big secret that almost no one is telling you:
Marketing yourself is mostly about how you talk about what you do.
It’s all about learning the right things to say – learning how to convey your message in a way that’s going to resonate with your intended client. Which is likely different from how you describe it to yourself or how you think about it.
When you have a more advanced and more complex business, then there are other aspects of marketing that come into play (complex email sequences and tools and tactics and software). But when you’re at the “trying to attract my first clients” stage, you don’t need most of the things that people are telling you you must have.
At your stage it’s all about being great at the basics – which means communication.
If you think about the arts, you’ll have a useful analogy for what I mean here.
(I’ve been a professional musician for almost 20 years, and I’m also an amateur dancer, so I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff.)
I was at one of my favorite salsa clubs recently in Chicago and was thinking about what separates the good dancers from the not-so-good. And it occurred to me that the really good dancers are those who are really good at the basic steps and moves.
There are certain people who try to do really flashy, complicated moves – but their timing is off! Or they’re not dancing in sync with the music. Or their execution of the basic moves is weak and sloppy. It simply does not work to add more complexity when you haven’t mastered the basics.
This is the case with music too. In so many of the groups I’ve performed with, and in solo work too, what we spend the most time on is the basics: rhythm, correct notes, staying together. The flashy details and embellishments come last – and, sometimes, not at all. You can have a very good, solid performance without any embellishments at all. Most of what it takes to execute something well relates back to mastering the basics.
This is absolutely true of marketing too. In order to market yourself effectively, you just need to master three basic things at a deep level – instead of a ton of inessential things at a superficial level.
Here are three things to master – and they’re all about communication:
Three Elements of Marketing and Attracting Clients
FIRST, the main message of your business that clearly articulates who you help and what problem you solve for them – and states it in a way that resonates with your intended client. When you’ve defined this message well, it does so much of your work FOR you. It attracts exactly the right people (and repels the wrong ones), just like magic. And it brings clarity to all of your marketing efforts.
This message definition is really hard for most people, because they over-think it and try to include too many things. But I’ve found that with help, most people can get clear quickly. That’s the type of help I provide in my Target Audience Breakthrough Session. I know just the right questions to ask to help you clarify your message. You already have the knowledge within yourself – you just need a little help to make it explicit.
SECOND, all of the other messages and content that you put out there to increase your prospects’ interest and deepen their trust in you. This is what I call a “relationship-building sequence,” and you need one because most people aren’t going to immediately be ready to buy from you as soon as they find out about you (even if they ARE attracted by your main message). They’re going to need nurturing and help to believe that you’re an expert on their problem, that you have a unique and helpful approach to solving it, and that you care and want to help them out.
Mastering this area is all about increasing the depth of your communication and your understanding of your ideal client. It’s about getting to the point where you can communicate about the problem you solve for them in a variety of different ways – from different angles and different points of view. This allows you to persistently talk about the same thing without going off message yet also not being too repetitive.
This, too, is something that can be learned! There are many different useful processes for learning about your ideal clients and creating content that resonates deeply with them. I teach a lot of them in my Copywriting Intensive – and work closely with coaches 1-on-1 to write all the copy that forms their relationship-building sequence.
THIRD, your plan for continually putting your perfect message in front of new people (who are, of course, also the RIGHT people). This is what people usually jump to FIRST, but it’s third for a reason: it becomes so much easier to get in front of the right people when you’ve clearly defined who those people are.
Sometimes when I’m working with a client to clarify their message, they’ll actually start thinking of places they could go to get in front of their ideal audience. Funny how that works. 🙂
Once you’ve determined who they are and where they are, you’ll need to master your plan – following clear processes and steps, day in and day out. You may also need to learn some nuances of how to present your message in different places and in different forms.
In my Client Attraction Mentorship I also work with coaches on creating and executing their plans for getting in front of new people.
And those are the three basic elements of marketing and attracting clients!
Everything else is just gravy. Just embellishments. Just details.
It’s just like in music and dance. You can get away WITHOUT the “extras” most of the time and still be pretty darn good.
So let’s check in and recap. If you’re not getting the numbers or results you want, there are two areas to look at.
The first is mindset. How strongly do you believe that you’re really good at what you do and that you have something meaningful to offer?
The second area is your understanding of marketing. To what degree have you mastered the three basic elements of marketing yourself? (1) How well have you mastered communicating succinctly what you do and for whom? (2) How well have you mastered talking about that in different ways? Creating different forms of content in a logical sequence that leads people to buy from you? (3) How well have you mastered a particular way of getting in front of new people – and communicating in the particular way that that method demands?
I’m not a mindset coach – so if you don’t believe that you’re good at what you do, I’m not the person to help you.
But if you’ve got that part down – and just need help mastering the basics of marketing – I may be exactly the person to help you. 🙂
Check out two ways I’m currently working with clients:
Target Audience Breakthrough Session – In 90 minutes’ time, I help you get clear on the main client-attracting message of your business.
Copywriting Intensive – Over 4 one-on-one sessions, I work with you to co-create a super-compelling one-liner, sales page, opt-in offer and more.
Click either of the links above to learn more.
With love and appreciation,