If you've been reading my blog for a while, it's probably very obvious to you that I am terrible at marketing. My preferred method of marketing is to not do it at all and hope that good things happen.
This generally works to some extent thanks to you, my readers. Over almost ten years I've built up enough trust and a track record of producing good quality work that when I say that something's good, I get the benefit of the doubt.
As I've done more and more projects, though, it's become obvious that I need to get better at marketing. Every project I do seems to grow to about the same size and then plateau. I'm really determined to make CruiseSheet a big success, though, so I'm trying to push through.
These guys give me advice, and I hate taking it. It's all very smart advice that totally makes sense, but I have a wall of resistance against it. I'll start doing what they say, but then I think of some new feature I could program, and next thing I know I'm working on that instead.
The first step to growth in these sorts of situations is to recognize that your instincts are wrong. Subconsciously I don't believe that following their advice will actually lead to increased sales. Since this is illogical, I have to admit and understand that my instincts are wrong.
This is the exact same situation I had with working out. I took Dick Talens' advice, and never expected it to work. My primary motivation for listening to him was to prove that working out didn't work for me so that I'd never have to do it again. But then I gained 15 pounds of muscle.
It's really important to recognize patterns, especially when there are emotions clouding them. It's easy to rationalize why CruiseSheet is different, but it's not. I just want it to be different so that I don't have to work on marketing stuff all day.
At first I didn't like going to the gym. It felt foreign, like something that other people did. I wanted to quit in the first month, but wouldn't let myself. Now it feels normal and I don't mind going. The same will happen to marketing-- I'll change my patterns until they feel normal. Soon I'll probably like marketing and will come up with my own ideas.
History repeats itself, especially personal history. If you find yourself hitting the same barrier again and again, eventually you have to admit that you aren't going to cross that barrier without doing something differently. And with that, it's off to doing some marketing for CruiseSheet...
Photo is from an event I went to in Vegas, hosted by Neil Strauss and his Society. They ran over a car with a tank, which was a lot more interesting than I would have expected.
I love marketing. I like to see how well I can get my message to as many people as cheaply as possible, AND convert those messages into sales. The neat thing about internet marketing is it is always changing, so it is always something new to learn.
I would love to hear some of the marketing concepts and ideas that you have received from your marketing friends.
One more thing I will add. Even when I have found a good freelancer online for a good price, they usually are in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Greece, or some far away place. The communication is sometimes an issue as they speak English as a second language. The other problem is they are somewhat hard to stay in contact with. If you email them, then you have to wait a day to get a response. So it takes several days of messaging back and forth to get the details down for what I want done.
I have found some really good contacts in England. They charge a little more, but do excellent work. And they are 5 hours ahead of me in time zones. I found that I can contact them for about 3-4 hours in my afternoon time.
I will say I have had limited success when I hired other people to do marketing for me. If you go to www.fiverr.com you will see lots of people offering services. I would say 1 in 5 actually provide the service they say they can deliver.
Freelancer websites: I have had limited success when hiring people on freelancer websites. A few were somewhat good for the rate of pay. It is a crap shoot when you hire them as to whether they can do anything effective.
I have found that I get some good ideas from reading the ads on fiverr and freelancer websites, which I end up doing the marketing method myself.
Why don't you hire someone to do it for you? With all that advice, I think you'd be able to spec out a pretty good job description. (Or is resisting hiring people also a pattern? It totally is for me)
I empathize with that -- always thought that if something or somebody was good enough, they should/would get the people and resources they wanted. I've learned you still need visibility though, and that having third-party opinions helps make a good first impression, or solidifies your credibility to others.
Along the same vein, I wrote a review of Around the World in Fifteen Friends, and you're welcome to use any part of it as a testimonial -- I enjoyed the book a lot.
Very interesting article as usual.
I'd say it's like fashion: you may like a certain color and tend to use those colors for your fashion but then someone can tell you that another color looks better and then you wonder "hmmm i guess it does look good/better".
OR even the kind of clothes you wear can make you either look better/sharper on you instead of comfortable the way you like or prefer. The "fashion expert" can make a transformation that can startle you. I'm a female but i prefer comfort vs looking sharp because if you go with what can make you look really good all the time, you have to practice it most of the time and that is kind of hard if you are not a professional who goes out in public i.e. work/business every day.
In Tynan's case, he has his ideas of marketing (likes/dislikes). It may be his weakness in that but he has alot of ideas and strength in other areas. I say go with what's comfortable so you don't stress out needlessly and one day it may become easier to get into marketing.
Hey Tynan, why don't you apply your "prove it doesn't work approach" to the Byron Katie ideas and tools? Once you show me that using the "four questions and turnarounds" doesn't reduce emotional distress, and doesn't result in a peaceful view of the universe, I can stop buggin you to investigate......
Have you thought about getting a co-founder who complements your skills well, fills in the gaps that you have (or stuff you don't like doing, like marketing)?
Yeah, I was going to say this. At Facebook they focus very heavily on managing to strengths, which means, if one of your team members is awful at something, instead of doubling down to make that better, ask whether there's a viable role where they just ... don't do that thing.
The revelatory part for me was when they said, "If you're good at something but hate doing that, we still consider it a weakness, because it weakens you to do it."
Working out is one thing - and you game that system however you need to to stay in good health (for me, making it social and/or doing sports I love.)
But if you just dislike marketing, you will never do as good or thorough a job at it as someone who loves doing it. Some people hate coding, site design, experience design, and that's where you come in...
Obviously sometimes you can't avoid it, but also give yourself permission to just dislike something and not need to make it a strength.
It's been an interesting month so far. Two relevant things happened: first, I got some critical feedback that I needed to hear but sort of stung, and second, CruiseSheet has been doing extremely well.
For the longest time I've run my businesses as I thought they should be run. I'd hear people out and take advice on small things, but even when lots of smart people I love and respect said that I should do something big differently, I wouldn't. I'd listen and feel like I was considering it, but really I knew I wouldn't take the advice.
And then later I'd think to myself about how I had my own way and how great it was and how some day people will see that my way was right!
But that day never really came.
This post is inspired by Steve Jobs and Sebastian Marshall's book Ikigai.
What separates truly great people from others isn't necessarily talent, productivity or hard work. These qualities are important as well, but at the end of the day you won't be judged by how hard you worked or how talented you were. The only thing that really matters is the quality of work you produce.
It doesn't matter how hard you were trying. Effort alone won't get you anywhere. You work has to deliver tangible results, or else you won't be rewarded for it. Great artists ship.
I've been trying to become an online entrepreneur for some time now. I first got excited about it when I was 16. I'm 21 now.
What have I been doing for the past five years? Actually I've been doing a lot. But how much work did I actually ship? Practically none.