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Declare your number. What’s your financial goal?

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

WHAT'SI ask my marketing clients a lot of questions as we work together, because I believe there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all marketing and I need to fully understand your business to make recommendations.

I can all but guarantee that the question that will raise a client’s stress level the most is, “What’s your financial goal?”


There are numerous, complex reasons their posture stiffens and they start to fidget.

First is we’re taught that talking about money is off limits. It’s rude to ask what someone makes and tacky to talk about your own income.

Like your accountant isn’t just being nosy asking for your financials, I need to know what you hope to earn so we can build a plan to get you there. If you aren’t making as much as you’d like, your three basic choices are sell more, charge more or spend less. Your marketing plan needs to reflect whatever you pursue.

Still, even when I reassure people that it’s confidential and that they don’t have to get specific, it can just be a general range, they still hem and haw.

Almost without exception, we ultimately come to confession time, when they sheepishly admit they don’t have a financial goal.

Depending on the size of the business, they might have a budget so they know they can make rent and payroll, but it’s based on what they made last year, not what they want to make. Self employed people are often looser than that, making their spending decisions based on what’s in the checkbook right now.

I get it. If you say out loud that you want to make $100,000 or $1 million or whatever your aspiration is, you risk not reaching it.

Maybe it’s less scary to just work hard and see what happens?

But not declaring it, even if it’s only to yourself, means operating without important information that can help you prioritize your actions. If you want to land three $25,000 sales a month, the way you market yourself might look really different than making three $5,000 sales a month or 3,000 $25 sales.

So let’s do some back of the envelope math for a self-employed person.

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Drop the poverty mentality. It’s OK to make money.

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Can we accept that it's OK to make money?

Can we get over the poverty mentality and accept that it’s OK to make money?

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? Read more

Self promotion doesn’t have to be shameless

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment
Self promotion doesn't have to remind you of a smarmy used car salesman.

Self promotion doesn’t have to remind you of a smarmy used car salesman.

When you say the phrase “self promotion,” do you almost feel obliged to add “shameless” in front of it?

I recently had a consulting session with an entrepreneur who candidly admitted, “Self promotion in general makes me uncomfortable.”

One of the endorsements from my marketing class this spring said of my co-presenter and me, “They are not only experts with beautifully complimentary teaching styles, they’re also genuine, friendly, and totally get that many of us who run our own businesses kind of hate promoting ourselves.”

I do totally get it. And I also totally believe that doesn’t have to be the case.

When you picture “salesman,” what comes to mind?

Is it a smarmy guy in an ugly sportcoat trying to con you into driving a lemon off a used car lot? Is it foul mouthed, abrasive Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross?

I would love to begin changing our cultural stereotype of sales.

I’m grateful when I walk into my local wine shop and get knowledgeable help finding a delicious bottle in my price range that suits the occasion.

I loved when I was looking for a digital video camera and the salesman talked me out of the more expensive model I was considering because the features of the simpler version would serve my amateur needs.

If I have a want or need and you help me, you are doing me a service. Yes, my wallet will likely be lighter, but I assume going in you aren’t doing this for free.

This spring, I took my bike to the shop. A different bike shop had told me the frame was bent beyond repair but before shopping for a replacement, I wanted a second opinion. The new mechanic apologized that he’d have to charge me $20, but for that fee, he could true up the frame to close to straight. Do you think I resented paying him 20 bucks when I thought I was going to be spending a lot more on a new bike?

All of these were sales experiences. Someone took my money in exchange for goods or services. I didn’t feel tricked or manipulated, instead I felt I got real value for the money I spent. Read more