When I started GeoLocal.com back in 2001, I really enjoyed helping small local businesses get online.
I had plenty of clients, most of them through word of mouth, referrals and speaking engagements. It was great.
The Dirty Little Secret
But somewhere along the way, it stopped being fun. I got tired of the consulting grind. Meetings. Proposals. Fulfillment. Sales. Deadlines. Billing. Client education. Sales. Contractor negotiations. Project management. Sales. Did I mention sales?
That’s the dirty little secret that a lot of gurus gloss over. You have to be able to generate new business. You must be able to get in front of busy people who are being hounded by other marketers, get them to trust you, and close the sale.
I really struggled with this. I didn’t like the way you had to chase after people, at least that how it felt to me. I’m not what you would call a natural at sales. I’m not even that good at follow up.
I think the ones who do best at this already have a background in sales, people like Bob Ross, Jamie Garside, Mark Helton. Because ultimately that’s what it’s all about. Sales. You can cold call, network and mail stuff til you’re blue in the face. But you have to be able to close a deal and get someone to write a check.
It’s not about the technology or how well you develop websites or any of that stuff. It’s about sales.
If you don’t have that background or natural ability, and are not willing to develop it, it’s a tough road. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, and if I put my mind to it, I could probably get better. But I don’t want to. I’d rather play to my strengths.
There are a lot of offline gurus who don’t have any clients. Not a one. They make their living by selling products and services to offline marketers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as long as you’re honest about it.
Is It Time to Re-invent Yourself?
If you’re struggling to land offline clients, have a long talk with yourself.
Ask yourself, “Self, is this what you really want to do with your remaining time on earth?”
Do you have a sales mentality?
What are your natural gifts? Yes, you do.
If you find working with local business owners truly fulfilling, more power to you. Small business owners need you more than ever, that’s for sure.
But if you’re on a path that you have zero interest in continuing, whether offline consulting or something else, the time to admit is now. Life is too short is short to spend one minute doing anything you don’t enjoy. There’s no reason to continue whatever it is if your heart is not in it — reinvent yourself. Whether it’s a job, marriage, or offline consulting, if your heart is not in it, get out.
I had built an entire brand and persona around offline marketing, so course it was hard to make that decision. But when my Mom died, it became crystal clear that time is of the essence … for all of us.
There are many ways to make a living using the Internet in a way that will tap into your natural strengths and abilities, whatever they are. Take the time to discover your special gifts, and how you can use them to position yourself in the market.
You bring a unique perspective that nobody else can match, because it’s yours. Nobody can do you better than you can. Find a way to use your gifts to help others, in an ethical way that feels good to you. The money and everything else will fall into place.