How To Use This List:

Pick 10-15 questions.

Answer them as honestly and expansively as you can.

Follow your intuition. Trust the answers to lead you to make the right decisions.

Come back in three months and do it again, with the same or different questions.

Do that and you’ll have a better marketing plan than anybody I know. Including me.

1. What do I love to do so much that it doesn’t feel like work?

2. What parts of that activity are my favorite parts?

3. Is there anybody else on earth who might really dig doing the parts I don’t really dig?

4. Why are you different than all the other bozos who do stuff sort of similar to what you do?

5. Why are you BETTER than all the other bozos who do stuff sort of similar to what you do?

6. What’s wrong with your industry?

7. Can you fix it, even in a little way, even for only a handful of people?

8. Who really, really needs my product or service?

9. Who really, really WANTS my product or service?

10. What kind of person would I absolutely love to help?

11. How is that person different from the other people who are sort of similar to that person? (On this blog, I help people with really small businesses, yes. But I actually help people with really small businesses who aren’t jazzed by “normal” business advice. Go to the SBA! Fill out forms! Buy filing cabinets!)

12. How are the other bozos failing this person?

13. What, specifically, could I make or do that would blow this person’s mind?

14. More specifically, what would be their definition of perfection?

15. How could I let them know about it?

16. How can I offer it in a way they’d be crazy to refuse? How can I position what I’m offering concretely, so they know EXACTLY how their life will be better once they’ve sent me some money?

17. What could I write in my subject line that would make that person desperate to open my email?

18. What could I write in my signature line that would make that person desperate to click my link or call my

19. What very, very thoughtful thing could I do for that person to let them know I really like them? (Hint: contact management software comes in really handy here.)

20. What kind of sale could I offer that would make that person stop and pay attention? (Hint: Think of both the details of the sale — 50% off leather corsets until Thursday only — and the reason for the sale. A happy birthday sale might be more popular than a Black Friday one.)

21. What people could help me reach the people that I help?

22. What might people be typing into Google if they were looking for someone like me?

23. What might people be typing into Google if they DIDN’T KNOW they were looking for somebody like me? (People who need marketing consultants rarely know they want one until they meet one they like.)

24. What personality traits do I have going for me in my quest to help my right people?

25. What human resources do I have that will help me in my quest to help my right people?

26. What assets do I have that will help me in my quest to find my right people?

27. Where do my right people hang out online?

28. Where do my right people hang out offline?

29. What nice stuff might other people say about me if only I asked them to say it?
(Hint: You’ll get more testimonials if you ask for them.)

30. What could I do for the people who already dig me so that they’ll tell their friends about me? (Hint: Forget about money. Think niceness. And gestures.)

31. How could I use coupons for my product or service?

32. How could I use a time sensitive offer for my product or service?

33. How could I incorporate some kind of “buy one, get one” offer for my product or service? (Hint: It doesn’t have to be “buy Y, get another Y”. It can be “buy Y, get (much cheaper) X”.)

34. How could I say thank you to my buyers, referrers and chief champions?

35. Who could I team up with to create even more awesome stuff?

36. What can I give away for free that will make me look like the rockstar I am?
(Hint: Think stuff you do on the internet AND stuff you can hold in your hands.)

37. How can I get the people I’ve already got more involved in the process? (Maybe they’ll retweet you. Maybe they’ll stay up all night stuffing envelopes. You never know until you try.)

38. How can I improve my website so people will be more likely to go where I’d like them to go instead of wandering around aimlessly?

39. What could I do to be interesting to the media? (Hint: you’re probably already doing it. You just have to position it right.)

40. How can I encourage my current customers/clients/tribe members to give me their suggestions? (They’re really smart. Ask them stuff.)

41. How can I make my touch more personal?
(Handwriting instead of photocopying. Custom instead of auto DMs.)

42. How can I show everyone they’re important to me? (You know the dude with three Twitter followers? His money’s as good as anybody’s.)

43. What can I do now to get ready for the next 6-12 months? (It’s never too early to start thinking of your Boxing Day Sale.)

44. Where can I free up a little bit of money so I can put it back into marketing my ittybiz?

45. Why might my right people be afraid to buy what I sell?

46. Why might my right people be afraid to buy FROM ME?

47. What can I do to ease their fears?

48. What is my customer thinking about? (Hint: it’s probably not you. It’s probably whether they look good in that color of lip gloss or whether the funeral home will let them split the cost of their father’s wake over two credit cards.)

49. What is my customer worried about?

50. What does someone get when they buy from me? (Like, what do they actually get? Physically. In the box. Or the download. Or the consultation.)

51. What does that thing give them emotionally?

52. What does that something give them quantifiably?

53. How can I add to my product lineup so I can start offering products or services that are cheaper than my current ones?

54. How can I add to my product lineup so I can start offering products or services that are pricier than my current ones?

55. What other stuff could I offer to make me a one-stop-shop of awesome?

56. Is there anything about my buying process that’s a pain in the ass?

57. Is there anything about my lead generation process that’s a pain in the ass?

58. Is there anything about the actual exchange that’s a pain in the ass?

59. Is there anything about my after-sale process that’s a pain in the ass?

60. How can I make it even clearer how to buy from me?

61. How can I make it even clearer what customers or clients can expect?

62. How can I make my refund or exchange process even clearer?

63. How can I give a guarantee that makes my potential clients and customers feel completely safe?

64. Do I have too few options?

65. Do I have too many options?

66. What would make a really great bonus for my buyers? Blog readers? Referrers?

67. How can I suggest my customer or client buy something a little extra?

68. Can I afford to raise my price, even a little bit?

69. How could I give existing customers and clients a great deal on something extra?

70. What could I do to get over my fear of promoting myself and my awesome stuff?

71. What would I have to do to make my perfect customer say, “Holy ****, that was awesome service”?

72. How could I help out more in social media?

73. How can I make myself an indispensable resource?

74. What can I do that will make my perfect people want to thank me by buying my stuff?

75. How can I change my copy to make me a little more human?

76. What one thing could I do today to make one person like me more?

77. What mentor or peer could I thank today? Could I do it publicly?

78. Where can I eavesdrop to find out what problems my people might have that I could solve? (Hint: forums, blogs and magazines are good places to start.)

79. How can I make sure people don’t forget me? (Hint: People aren’t reading all your emails, direct mail pieces or tweets. Nothing wrong with saying it again.)

80. Where do the people I haven’t even thought of hang out? (Hint: Not everyone’s on Twitter or Facebook. Have we considered LinkedIn?)

81. Can I steal some tricks from my competition? (If they keep doing certain things, they’re probably working.)

82. Can I steal some tricks from businesses that AREN’T my competition? (Marketing and sales are marketing and sales. The person buying shoes is the same person who buys copywriting.)

83. What could my customer mean when they say they don’t have the money? (Hint: Just because they don’t have it now doesn’t mean they won’t have it later.)

84. Are there other methods of payment I could use to make buying easier? (PayPal. Credit cards. Checks. Dirty, filthy cash in an envelope. Payment plans. Discounts for not using payment plans.)

85. What’s the best thing I’m doing now, in terms of getting new leads, clients, or customers? Could I maybe be doing a little more of it?

86. What other groups of people might be interested in buying my stuff? (Ittybiz owners buy my books. So do my competitors. I make sure to market to both.)

87. Who has the money? (Hint: It’s just as easy to sell to rich people as it is to poor people.)

88. How can I make myself easier to get ahold of? (Hint: Not everybody likes email.)

89. How can I externally establish my expertise? (Hint: Think online AND offline.)

90. How can I stay in contact with my people more frequently without pissing them off? (A really, really good newsletter full of stuff they’re going to love is a nice choice here.)

91. How can I make my communication more personal? (Hint: People never want to be part of a group. Even in bulk mail, you can still write as if you’re only writing to one person.)

92. How can I make life easier for my customers?

93. Can I keep making their life easier, even after the sale?

94. What boring stuff haven’t I done yet? (Join the Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Association. Gone to a Meetup group. Put up flyers.)

95. How can I reduce my turnaround time? (This applies to shipping and deadlines, yes. It also applies to email and direct messages.)

96. What do I want to do by the end of today? This week? This month? This year? (Knowing what the hell you’re trying to do increases your chance of doing it, at least marginally?)

97. Is there anyone who could look over my marketing materials so I can get a second set of eyes without having to pay a pro?

98. Am I worth talking about?

99. What am I doing today that sabotages my success tomorrow? (There’s probably something you could be doing right now. Like, say, signing up for our Growth Guide?)

100. Are my colors, images and branding choices really doing their job? (It’s awful easy to go with pink just because you like it, but do your customers?)

101. How can I show my potential customers that other people dig me? (Social proof is good. It’s social. And proofy. Think: comments, testimonials, a high number of Twitter followers.)

102. How can I give people more than I promised?

What to do right now

A lot of people who read impossible-to-consume-all-in-one-chunk articles like these like to bookmark them so they can come back later. It’s not like you’re going to ask all 102 questions today, right? So don’t lose them!

Also, if you know anybody who’s thinking about starting a business or has a business but doesn’t really like the marketing part, forward this on to them. You might unlock something for them that changes everything.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

This quote is from The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph, by Ryan Holiday.

The author has just spent some time talking about how astronauts prepare for going into space. If an astronaut doesn’t have total control of his emotions, if he gets spooked and panics, if he is at a loss for what to do, he dies and takes everybody else down with him.

Jack, my 9-year-old, puts it best. “NASA spends a lot of time and money teaching people to calm the beep down.”

Holiday has said that astronauts have to keep their heart rates down or zillion dollar rockets fly headfirst into the sun. But the rest of us freak right out over anything and everything, large and small. Holiday calls this a luxury, an indulgence that astronauts don’t get.

“If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion, Or, quite possibly, a destructive one.


Right, no one ever said anything about not feeling it. No one said you can’t ever cry. Forget “manliness.” If you need to take a moment, by all means, go ahead. Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.

So go ahead, feel it. Just don’t lie to yourself by conflating emoting about a problem and dealing with it. Because they are as different as sleeping and waking.”

Places you can use this handy little tip:

  1. Oh my God, what if my sale doesn’t go well?!?!?!? I’m so scared!
  2. Oh my God, my partner doesn’t support my business!!! I’m so upset!
  3. Oh my God, what if I screw up my enrollment conversation?!?!?! I’m so nervous!
  4. Oh my God, my ad performed terribly!!! I’m so depressed!
  5. Oh my God, there’s so much to do!!! I’m so overwhelmed.

Scared. Upset. Nervous. Depressed. Overwhelmed.

Remember: “If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion, Or, quite possibly, a destructive one.”

What could we do instead? What could we do in spite of the emotion? How could we turn this situation into a positive?

Those are the questions you could ask.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Every now and again, a client will come to me with a question that is BIG. It’s complicated. It’s nuanced. It’s got a ton of moving pieces.

Often, this person might be in an industry I’m not familiar with. Or they have contracted me late in a process, and have multiple projects they’d have to catch me up on. Or there are too many options to count, let alone process and consider.

In these cases, giving me enough information to answer properly would take more time than we have. But I still have to get them on their way with a good solution.

In these cases, I cheat.

If I can’t answer the question, I don’t.

Here’s what I do instead. I turn the question back at them.

I say this:

“Let’s say you hired me to help me with this project and as far as you were concerned, nobody else could help. You couldn’t hire another consultant or coach or firm. They couldn’t help.

Then, tragically, I got struck by lightning. I’m dead now. Bye-bye Naomi, and bye-bye help on your project.

Now you HAVE to [complete the project, write the sales page, pull off the launch] and you have to do it without advice.

What would you do?”

Usually, the first answer is “cry” or “panic”, and those are perfectly rational responses. If you think somebody is going to help you and they inconveniently go dancing in a thunderstorm, panic makes a lot of sense. So, panic is your first step.

Now what are the rest of your steps?

I’m consistently amazed by the answers.

Here’s one I got yesterday. This client has been focused on service for the last several years and has created a small email list based on, basically, people who seem to really like her. She’s launching her first test product, and she’s not sure what to do next.

This is pulled directly from the email she sent. I haven’t changed a word.

  • Create a FB event
  • Create a sales page of some sort with a link to buy it.
  • Try to connect that to Aweber to see if it will email people when they sign up.
  • Send it out to my email lists
  • Send it out to individual folks I know and the folks that have said no to the big coaching program and need something smaller.
  • See if my friends will promote it.
  • Ask my affiliates if they will promote it (or people I’ve emailed for in the past.
  • See what happens
  • Push more if I need to.
  • Hopefully there are people signed up!

This is an absolutely PERFECT marketing plan.

There’s not a damn thing wrong with this.

When she sent it to me, I told her I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is what happens when people do this exercise. People who honestly believe they know NOTHING about marketing come up with something utterly flawless. It’s wild.

Here’s why I like this exercise:

If you’ve been in coaching circles for a while, you’re familiar with this scenario…

Client says, “I don’t know what to do!”

Coach says, “Well, what if you did know?”

It’s a cool question sometimes. It often leads to some nifty insights.

BUT! It can create the feeling or belief that there’s a “right answer”. It creates pressure. Of course they don’t know it! Does anybody know it? Holy pressure, Batman! The client’s brain stalls out, and we still don’t know what to do.

Reframe the question from “What if you did know?” to “What would you do if I wasn’t here?” and it can reveal some amazing stuff.

You’d be surprised by what you’ve got inside you.

Have a great weekend, darling.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.