Call of The Wild vs. Salesmanship
There are two approaches to creating your
brand and working an online business:
- Find a market need and be the best you can be at providing a solution.
- Find out what you care about and pursue it with all you have.
The first is approach requires salesmanship; a skill in convincing people to buy or in persuading people to do something. The second approach is a “Call of the Wild” an adventure into the unknown. As a solopreneur this leaves you with a question: Do I begin by defining a target audience and work relentlessly at pleasing them or do I trust a more winding path of finding out who I am and sharing my gifts and experience?
It seems these two approaches are incompatible and that you must choose. That is what I believed. It is what we’ve been taught.
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When I first started my consulting business I had a ton of experience and knowledge and was fortunate to have been a pioneer in search engine marketing. I had a competitive edge because of my experience working at Google and people wanted to know what knew. I was invited to speak and sit on panels of experts which meant I always had clients and didn’t need to do a lot of marketing. I should have been happy but I wasn’t. I was unexpressed. There was a reservoir of creativity and ideas repressed under the veneer of the professional. I could feel the need to include that part of me but had no idea how to approach it.
I did all the usual things to try to make my business more successful. I created an Ideal Client, collaborated with other business owners, and read constantly to understand where I had landed and what was happening. While I had a client base of attorneys, health spas, boutique clothing stores, and other traditional businesses I was beginning to attract people who specialized in human problems. I realized how much my world was changing because more and more people were leaving traditional work to do soul work.
This soul work means slowing down, turning inward, and finding the connection to something bigger at work. I knew I landed here in this time and place for a reason.
I needed to give myself permission to follow my heart.
This longing to express who I am and to understand my potential led me to places outside of my comfort zone.
It took me into my wilderness.
I exhausted myself writing, writing, writing until something that was mine started to emerge. Here’s what I can tell you. If you feel torn between the practical-traditional and the creative-mystical approach to your work you are not alone. There is a shift in our collective understanding that honors the intuitive, reflective, and creative aspects of life. This shift isn’t reflected in all the ways we go about building a business which creates a gap. You can work on closing this gap so you aren’t struggling with a this-or-that feeling all the time.
Your life as a solo-business owner will get easier as you claim your ground and decide on how you want to present yourself. The longer you stay with the process the more inside and outside become integrated.
Follow the winding path. Follow your heart. Find out what you care about and pursue it with all you have.