We all know that marketing is important. You could say that marketing IS business. They’re inseparable. Even if, at least sometimes, we wish we could escape it.
But if you’re an introvert or highly sensitive solopreneur who finds the constant pressure to be in marketing mode becoming a real burden, what are you supposed to do?
You can’t stop marketing. So you need to find a better way that can work with your energy levels.
Here are my thoughts and reflections on the issue.
What is marketing?
According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Creating. Communicating. Delivering. Exchanging. Offerings of value.
When I look at that description, I don’t feel much of anything in response. I can see that, yes, that is what we do as solopreneurs.
The problem comes from what we think and believe that is ALL SUPPOSED TO look like. And this is where the BURDEN comes in.
So what are you making marketing mean? What expectations of yourself are you linking to ‘success’ in marketing (and therefore business)?
My own evolving relationship with marketing:
This is my favourite local beach to walk.
Usually, no one else is there (bonus!). Something about the sound of the water feels so soothing to me. I always leave with that heavy body feeling of total peace and relaxation.
It’s a feeling in my body that I intentionally aim to experience more often now vs the stress and anxiety that has felt so common in the past.
Reflecting back over my year, sometimes as I walked along this very beach, I realize that I have made a significant shift in my overall sense of wellbeing.
I feel calmer. I have let things go that weren’t working for me. That I no longer cared about or wanted to strive for.
And my business has been a major part of it (both in contributing and receiving). I made a shift in the way I perceived and approached marketing and re-evaluated what success looked like to me.
At the end of last year, I decided to narrow my niche significantly to focus on SEO for sensitive solopreneurs who want to reach more of their ideal audience without hustling on social media.
That process included the following shifts:
- I stopped pressuring myself to be all things to all people and simplified my marketing message.
- I quit paying so much attention to what others were doing (or recommending).
- I allowed myself to let go of any pressure to show up on social media (either to participate or to post).
- I gave myself permission to write blog posts when I wanted (instead of according to a schedule…this was also an experiment to see the impact on SEO, knowing that my clients don’t want to post constantly either).
- I monitored my SEO monthly and tweaked my content occasionally (although not rigidly).
- Regardless of what was going on in my business, I would send a newsletter only once a month (so I didn’t have to come up with something to say, or only write when I was actively selling something, and also so I didn’t contribute to overwhelming my subscribers’ inboxes).
- I gave generously to my clients with flexibility on timelines, focusing on outcomes vs hours.
- I offered the women who my clients referred my way a little something special as a thank you for trusting our shared contact (which further reinforced positive relationship building all around, creating wins for all of us).
- I resisted the notion that putting pressure on yourself to reach ‘stretch’ income goals is a good thing.
- I stuck with 1:1 offerings because I feel pressured and quickly overwhelmed in groups (despite the common message that the money is in group programs or memberships).
- And I made a conscious commitment to invest in my own wellness (including regular support from a wellness coach who helped me regulate my nervous system and be kinder to myself overall).
Referring back to the definition of marketing, yes, I believe that I successfully did it all.
Was it perfect? Of course not. Could I achieve ‘more’ next year? Absolutely, if that’s what I choose.
In fact, by making choices that felt better to me AND creating more empty space for myself to just BE, I realized that, over the years (and numerous business pivots) of trying to build an online service business as a strongly introverted person with sensitivities…
I have been in the process of becoming UNBURDENED by marketing.
Unburdened AND ending the year without burnout.
I do this as I also now acknowledge that I am, in fact, in the business of marketing.
It’s an interesting place to be! Because it hasn’t always been a comfortable place to be (in fact, I’ve felt sort of anti-marketing for quite a while). And now I realize why.
I can’t tell you what a relief it is to experience that marketing is business, but it doesn’t have to feel like a struggle.
Despite some fears this past year, I have become a business that is growing based on REFERRALS and REPEAT CLIENTS. This is where I invest my marketing energy. Along with SEO and occasional social media when I want to.
This is not to say that I have long waitlists and countless people reaching out to work with me out of thin air. And my personal success with SEO in this new version of my business is admittedly nothing to brag about. I’m no guru, have no magic wand, and have no desire to compete with the big guys.
It’s all an experiment and experiments, with introspection, take time. Slow and minimal really is my lane.
My big win, and what is SO different, is how I FEEL about my business, my marketing, and my clients this year.
I mean seriously, pinch me. My heart is filled with gratitude as I end this first year with my new niche.
What is the biggest burden in YOUR business?
If you’re a sensitive solopreneur and marketing your online business feels heavy (you’d offload it…along with sales…if you could), it doesn’t have to stay that way.
This is a perfect time to reflect on the expectations that you’re placing on yourself with regard to marketing.
What can you let go of?
What would you prefer to do instead?
How much is necessary?
How can you bring that feeling of total peace and relaxation back into your body while you still do business?
In that process, if you do have questions about SEO, or are curious how I can help you to narrow your niche and tighten up your messaging so you feel less burdened by marketing too, you know where to find me. Reach out.