When I teach a social media strategy workshop, I generally get a laugh when I say most businesses use social media marketing to try to make more money — then stop to ask, “Is there anyone here whose goal is actually to make less money?”
It’s intended to be kind of a ridiculous question. Not many business owners will lead their 2016 goals with “Make 10 percent less revenue.”
As corny as my little joke is, I see a lot of entrepreneurs who have mixed emotions about profitability.
I had an inspiring conversation with my sales coach recently that included an exploration of what holds people back from earning as much as they’d like. Included were fear of hearing no and hesitancy to ask for what you’re worth, as well as a philosophical discomfort with making money.
Let’s drop the image of the noble starving artist
This thinking seems most prevalent with creatives. I’m not sure hedge fund managers lose sleep because of their outsized bonuses. But for people pursuing a passion, the thought process seems to be that if you’re making money, your efforts are no longer pure. They’re tainted by commerce.
If you’ve ever heard a successful band called a sell out, you know what I’m talking about. Yes, some people abandon their values and creative vision to chase dollars, but even when an artist or author or musician hits doing their own thing, there can be a sense they no longer have real cred. You need to suffer for your art.
If someone’s doing something well, why would it be a bad thing for money to follow? We live in a country where CEOs, athletes and movie stars make ridiculous sums of money. Why shouldn’t people on different paths make a living?
I love hearing stories of talented, hard working people reaping rewards from their efforts. There’s a huge difference between being greedy and money motivated and simply thriving at your passion.
We all have to pay the rent
Unless you’re living off a trust fund or as a monk, chances are you need to do something to support yourself.
I feel strongly we’re all better served if you’re doing something you’re good at and something you enjoy than if you’re forced to take a subsistence job just to pay the bills.
With no disrespect intended for people who make sacrifices to survive, I think it’s a shame if the people you could have served with the thing you do best don’t get that opportunity, and I don’t think any it’s in any employer’s best interest to have you around if your heart isn’t in it.
The choice is yours: Earn money doing something you like or earn money doing something else.
And risking being labeled a sell out is the bad thing here?
How is this related to marketing?
If you’re uncomfortable making money, that will very likely show through in wishy washy marketing or a sales process that lacks the confidence and energy to motivate people to spend with you.
Many business people dislike self promotion, and I think that’s partly because they have difficulty asking people to get out their wallets.
If you’re good at what you do and your customers are satisfied when they do business with you, there’s no reason get squirmy about telling people how you can help them and asking them to pay you for what you do.
By this point, we’ve probably all given to a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project. You probably felt good about supporting something cool or worthwhile. Those crowdfunding initiatives start from the premise that it costs money to create a result.
Maybe it can help to think of charging what you’re worth as a pre-emptive Kickstarter? It’s making it financially viable for you to continue doing what you do, without having to ask your family for donations.
Colleen Newvine is a solopreneur marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. She primarily works with small and mid-sized organizations, and enjoys helping clients connect their business goals with marketing strategy.