We’ve come to the last lesson in this free marketing course for bloggers.
Now, we’re going to talk about how to make the rubber hit the road.
This is usually a pretty difficult thing to do for an ittybiz owner, because you’re running your business solo – or with minimal help – and that means that every hat in the business is worn by you.
Chief blogger? You. Chief website content creator? You. Chief list builder? You. Chief traffic builder? You. Customer service? Accounting? Techincal guru? You, you, you.
That, or you’re paying freelancers, subcontractors or assistants to do things for you, and that comes right out of your salary.
That’s a lot for one person to handle. Breaks people all the time.
So now we’re going to talk about what you can do to make your DIY marketing efforts a little more manageable.
It all starts at the end. Then the middle. Then now.
If you’re doing heart surgery, it has to go EXACTLY right. There’s very little room for error. You also can’t go in and do a little bit here and there, sew the patient back up, and finish them up when you get a chance.
Fortunately, you’re not doing heart surgery. (Or, if you are, Oh my God! You are SO at the wrong blog.)
You’re running a very small business. And while that means that the returns on investment may be small in the beginning, so are the risks.
When you’re not the biggest deal in the world yet, and all eyes are not yet on your every move, you can make a lot of mistakes or do a lot of things halfway and still survive just fine.
And while you’re a very small business, this is your very BIG advantage.
One day the money will be coming to such a degree that you can hire people and pay them a lot to get things done right the first time.
But that day’s not today. And that’s cool.
It’s cool specifically because you can make rather small improvements NOW, and get the benefits NOW. Then, later, when you’re in a better position, you can run cleanup.
Your ittybiz is growing.
You don’t have to get things perfect to make it grow.
You just have to do well enough to get to the next stage of your evolution.
So we’re going to think about your ideal situation for a moment.
What does The End look like for you?
You have a vision for your ittybiz. An idea of how you want it to look when you’re done.
Maybe it’s a leased office with 5 employees. Maybe it’s a $150,000 salary. Maybe it’s the ability to work 10 hours a week instead of 50. Or a website that’s stunning, or a list of 10,000, or more backlinks and Facebook mentions than any person has a right to get.
Whatever it is, you have a thought or two of what it is that you’re trying to create. It’s perfect, and complete, and so, so worth it.
So get that picture in your head.
Take a moment if you have to.
You are not going to be at The End for a while. A long while. Even if you grow fast, even if everything goes right and you get every lucky break in the book, The End is at The End.
So now we’ve got to think about what’s going to happen In Between, but we have to be careful to separate it from The End.
The reason why we have to be careful is that if you think about The End too much, you’re not going to be able to implement what happens In Between.
In fact, you’re going to worry that if you don’t put things into their final states, the way they’ll be at The End, it’s not worth doing yet.
You’re not going to improve your list opt-in page because you know your list incentive needs an overhaul yet.
Or you’re not going to even start a list, because you don’t have an incentive and you don’t want there to be nothing to sign up for.
Same with your website. You may not want to put a lot of work into it because the design is atrocious and nothing like what you want it to look like at The End.
However, you’re not going to get to The End, where everything’s perfect and complete, unless you leverage what you can do In Between.
What you do now won’t matter 18 months from now, but it’s still important.
In the future, your website will look perfect, but it will be nothing like it is now.
In the future, your blog posts will be written better, but they will be nothing like they are now.
In the future, your marketing plan will be leagues more effective, but it will be nothing like it is now.
But it can’t get to better unless it goes through The Suck.
What’s “The Suck?”
It’s that period of time when you create a lesser version of anything and everything so that you’re at least getting some results now.
And putting The Suck in place is what gets you to The End.
Here’s a real-life example.
Dave, who helps write a lot of the training here at IttyBiz, once started a business based around consulting people about launches.
He started it on no notice, when I had a client I could send his way, and he needed SOMETHING set up.
So he grabbed a bare-bones blog theme, wrote a few blog posts, hastily made a services page, and set up a list with no incentive. Just “Tips from Dave” if you wanted them.
It took a few days at most. All the graphics were homemade. There was no tagline or slogan.
It was okay. Not great. Not even very okay. Just okay enough.
So Dave gets the client.
And for months and months, he kept the same boring-looking website. A few people joined his list and he got a little bit of traffic to his site.
Over the next few months he added a hastily created incentive. Not great, but better. List signups increased somewhat. He got better at putting articles up, and he got a modest increase in traffic.
And this held him for a year or so. When he finally shelled out a good-sized chunk of money for a very nice redesign. He even (finally!) put a tagline up there, and eventually made some very, very good incentives.
Then he started making much better money.
Let’s not forget that the good stuff didn’t come in for well over a year.
In the meantime, his bare-bones website kept getting him traffic. His basic list kept getting him signups. His “best he could do at the time” services page kept getting him clients.
Yes, it got a lot better when he got to The End. But it was WORKING the whole time it was going through The Suck.
Being willing to go through The Suck is your most valuable asset.
If you implement something to it’s fullest, most perfect, 100% iteration, you’re going to get 100% of the benefit.
If you implement something 30% right now, you’re going to get 30% of the benefit.
In a vacuum, you’d probably want the 100%.
But if you know for a fact that your time resources, skill level or cash-in-hand make that 100% solution something that’s far away, you have two choices.
You can do nothing and wait until “the time is right”, and get the 100% benefit a year or two from now.
Or, you can put a 30% solution in place now, and get that 30% benefit for a year or two, and then put the 100% solution in place.
And this is where focusing on The End trips you up.
When you’re thinking of The End, the 30% solution seems painfully damaging. “But I can’t have a mediocre website or list incentive or sales page! People won’t think I’m a professional!”
That may be.
But without any versions of those things in place In Between, people won’t think about you AT ALL.
Getting 30% of the benefit for the next 18 months is better than getting 100% of the benefit SOMEDAY.
And the less action you take on that thing, the farther away “someday” tends to get.
So it might be a good idea to embrace The Suck and be willing to put stopgap measures in place.
It may take you 18 months to get your [whatever it is] where you want it to be.
It would sure be nice for your business to be growing in the meantime.
Here’s what this means for you.
Let’s talk about how to manage the In Between.
First, you figure out your ideal execution for a component of your business, whether it’s your website, your contact form, your social media plan, your products or services, your about page, whatever.
Just pick one element.
Then figure out what you need to make it happen in terms of time and effort, money spent, and skill increases required to get it to 100%.
Now you’ve got a baseline for what The End looks like.
Now, look at The End and figure out how you can scale it down. What corners you can cut, what bells and whistles you can take away to get a stripped-down version of that thing in place.
Maybe you want an incredibly professional looking online store full of your stuff, and each thing in it has very good copy written by a real live copywriter, and a layout you would die for.
So maybe a stripped-down version looks like a simple page with images of your stuff, the best copy you can whip up over the weekend, and a clunky but okay layout that at least shows all of your books on one page
Ideal? No. Does it lend itself to money coming in the door NOW?
You don’t have to strip it down that much. In fact, most of the time you probably won’t.
But if you can strip it down to the minimum functional execution now, you can see how much time, money and skill THAT takes.
So if 100% requires $2,000 and 50 hours of your time, you might realize that 30% requires $100 and 10 hours of your time.
And you can get THAT in place now, and slowly get the other $1,900 squirreled away and do a few hours of those remaining 40 here and there.
All the while, your 30% is working for you, so that by the time you get to 100%, you’ll have something to show for it.
Hell, that 30% might just BUY you the rest of that $1,900 in the meantime.
And really? You don’t have to settle for 30%. If you realize that the jump to 40% is only a little more time and money that’s in your reach, you can bump it up to there.
Basically, you strip it down to the minimum, try bumping it up, and see where you hit the ceiling of “this isn’t worth the delay any more.”
Embrace The Suck.
That’s how you get to The End.
Speaking of The End, we’re at the end of this free marketing course.
We hope you’ve enjoyed it.
There’s a lot of ground you can cover in terms of improving your ittybiz right now if you just work through what we’ve taught you in this course.
And, if you want to take things further and get some more in-depth training, you can always visit the training store and see what you might like in there. (Many of the courses have free samples).
Thanks for joining us – and for subscribing to The Letter.
More stuff like this is coming your way.