How to Stop Choosing “Busy” Over Growing My Business
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
How I F-ed Up Last Week
When factors like COVID and air quality allow, I often spend my free time with my Drinking Club with a Running Problem. This group has taught me many amazing lessons like:
Beer counts as carbo-loading
All french fries are public property
When running a beer mile, the hardest beer is the third beer
One of the best lessons is that the biggest f-ups make for the best stories. It’s built into our rituals to call each other out for our gaffes and celebrate them.
At one of our group events, when the bus I borrowed for a site-to-site transport during a running trail broke down in the middle of a busy intersection, I thought I was going to die on the spot. We were running on the 22nd of the month so the whole crew had tutus on (22/tutu - get it?). In the middle of a giant intersection, 20 people in tutus pushed a kooky broken-down Burning Man bus into an adjacent parking lot.
Not only did I get the privilege of seeing that, but so did half the town. Telling this story is a much better answer to “How was your day dear?” than the pat answer of “Fine.”
At the end of the run, I was not punished but celebrated for such a great f-ed up trail. And so I will attempt to bring this lesson into the rest of my life. Perhaps my regular world mistakes won’t end up in the glory of tutus, but I can at least embrace the fact that they will give me content for blog posts.
On to last week’s drama.
What if there were an alternative to self-promotion?
At the end of most months, I run a two-week sprint through my company GoGoDone. It’s two hours a day, Monday through Thursday all dedicated to one project and you do it with support from a small group of amazing people. I have seen participants not only produce great work but get better at planning, estimating time for tasks, prioritizing, and reflecting on how to be more efficient and effective.
It totally works.
I completely believe in it.
Yet, I struggle to ask people to pay me for the experience. Not to mention it’s probably underpriced. I can let go of being underpriced as accessibility and affordability in times like these is paramount and in alignment with my values.
But why can’t I promote it outside of a few LinkedIn posts and a shout-out at a few of our Zoom co-working sessions?
Although there’s probably a lesson in here about knowing your audience and vanquishing impostor syndrome, I really just don’t want to sell anything ever. I am so much more comfortable with giving rather than asking - even when the ask is an exchange. I can do it, I’ve made myself do it and I will do it if I have to.
Do I really have to?
Here lies the power of reflection (built into a sprint btw!). I stopped and asked myself:
What’s the outcome I really want?
What are all the ways that can get me there?
Which are the best match for my values, skills, and interests?
Rather than force myself into sales activities in a business that relies on word-of-mouth, I thought, “Why not spend some time thinking about how to amplify and encourage word-of-mouth?”
I could give a spiel and the link to the hosts of the co-working sessions.
I could give a discount code to alumni for a bring-a-friend discount.
I could ask alumni to spread the word if they found it effective but can’t make a session.
From Reflecting on my Failure to Testing a New Tactic
The most beneficial thing I can do is show up in front of the people who know me and get amazing benefits out of GoGoDone and talk about the sprint. I can get better at doing that and force myself to do it.
But having worked in productivity long enough (and I’m good at what I do), I know that if you don’t love doing it, it gets procrastinated without an increased energy expenditure into accountability. I have just re-proven it to myself.
So, now into the to-do list for the October Sprint is to brainstorm and test some ways to leverage that word-of-mouth. I may also create an incentive for myself to encourage those mini-sales pitches to offset the pull of procrastination.
It’s amazing how a little reflection can take you from hitting your head against the wall for guaranteed no return on your investment to a strategy modification that might just take you to the next level.