I’ll admit it. Yes, I am literally waiting for my hair to grow so I can start doing my videos for my new on-line courses. To be clear, it’s not something I have ever needed to do before.
But at my last appointment, I decided to experiment. “Go for it”, I said. “Whatever happens, it’ll grow.” It was an experiment gone bad and not at all what I had imagined.
Usually, you get what you get from my appearance. By example, I haven’t worn make-up for over 30 years and I never dyed my hair. I’m not really very attached to my looks. But this is a really short haircut and I just don’t recognize (nor like) myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to be editing video’s and looking at this unfamiliar face.
A little sabotage?
As I wait, I am doing this and that in the background of course. But recently, I began to think of all the ways that people put off doing this, that, or the other thing by waiting for their proverbial hair to grow. The “You” in the examples below could be you – but don’t take it personally. Are you waiting for perfection or to have all the answers before you launch?
- Not blogging because you think you will run out of stuff to say
- Blogging and then stopping because you “can’t” think of what to say
- Or you think “Who Cares” or “Who’s going buy what I have to sell anyway”
- Not emailing for the exact same reasons as above
- Not emailing because people don’t like getting emails – even though they joined your list.
- Not getting the business card printed because you don’t know if it’s exactly right
- Not getting the website started because you aren’t sure if you will get it right
- Not finishing the painting, or the business plan, the grant, or the licensing agreement because you don’t know how to do the next step or don’t think you can do the next step the “right way”.
- Be honest: Maybe you are just plain afraid of failing – join the crowd!
Commitment is scary
About a week ago, I began to wonder: did I unconsciously sabotage myself to give myself an excuse to put my project on hold? I had to admit: It’s possible.
After all, creating these courses is taking hundreds of hours. What if no one signs up?
I take comfort in knowing that most of the time I stick to my plan and I do what I set out to do. I didn’t hesitate to get my “E’s of Selling Art Guidebook and Flashcard Set” published. I went from zero to sixty in about 6 weeks. I have shipped hundreds of copies all over the world in the past seven months. I have changed a lot of lives with it. (I know that will be true of my courses also.)
My blog posts, with only a few exceptions over nearly three years, get published on schedule. And my emails naturally follow the blog posts, so they are really easy to send.
However, blogging (this one more than others, LOL) always requires putting myself out for your examination. It’s always a bit scary. It takes a lot to push the publish button.
Of course, I always wonder if I have made a difference. I wonder if anyone really reads the whole gazillion words. I wonder if it matters at all. When no one comments (insert crickets) it’s especially tempting to just say “Who Cares”. (Your comments mean the world to me – just sayin…’-)
That’s the truth. You must share. And most of us have to own some feelings of insecurity when we push out our ideas or products for examination and consideration. I know it’s a big deal for many of you reading this. You will find yourself “on again off again” with all your marketing efforts: blogging, posting, tweeting, emailing, and so on. I get that.
But there is a very important and very good side effect that you might not realize awaits you when you commit.
“Ship” and you shall receive
This morning, I heard an interview with my most treasured source of wisdom, Seth Godin. He was interviewed by another really great marketing guru, Marie Forleo. I was reminded why I always encourage people to send emails and to blog; to remain on a schedule; to commit to your audience and followers. When you do that, you will have a part of your brain that is actively following your every move and every mood. It’s magical.
- Emails that you send on a very specific schedule – at least once-a-month – keep you thinking about what you do or what is going on in your business (or art studio) that is important enough to share
- Blogging at least once-a-month adds a level of sharing in more depth. For me, by example, it means that I took the time this morning to listen to the interview with the mindset: What can a learn here that is worth sharing on my blog?
- You will begin to focus on what is important to your audience and buyers and be in an active “marketing mode” more of the time.
When you know you will be sharing information every month – or in my case, every week – hardly a day goes by that you will not be looking for insights and subject matter.
And that’s what Seth reminded me. I will blog, week after week, for many reasons. But the most important reason: I want to keep learning, growing, and then sharing what I learn so you can grow, too.
Try to move forward into deeper marketing activities. Not all at once. Pick ONE thing and start doing it, learning more about how to do it, and then move to another. I know I need to do much more with Facebook, tweeting, and so on. I recently started sharing my Artist Only Blog Posts on Pinterest. I need to pick one and really study it.
There’s a lot that I need to do to grow my audience and I know you have the same challenges. I know you and I both want to be able to share and contribute (and sell stuff) and that means I need to “ship” – as Seth always says. I need to “ship” aka “launch” my new online course, and then another and another. I need to do that because it matters.
If the courses are not perfect, I can fix them later. If some of them don’t find a strong following, I will market them less. Whatever I do, I will learn more and discover what you did or didn’t want from my courses. And someday my hair will need to be cut again, and I have learned what length works for me.
However, my long-term goal is to never wait for my hair to grow again. By that I mean: the work I do, the information I share should create value beyond all excuses I might use to hide behind.
You, me, all of us, must let go of the excuses. At the very least, let go of believing in your excuses and see them in their true light. It’s okay to be scared of failure. But it’s even better to fail.
Whatever you have to offer the world, you must believe that you have value or you won’t “ship” it. And, if you wait for the “perfect time”, you might just wait forever.