Sensitive solopreneur, what do you do when your energy level is low but you still need to market your online service business? Managing your personal energy level is a key part of success as a sensitive solopreneur. And it’s why I choose slow, quiet, and minimal marketing.
Maybe it’s because I’m in serious summer mode right now, but just the sound of slowing things down makes me sigh relief. I, for one, cannot seem to consistently show up on social media (because I don’t enjoy it AND the pace drains my energy).
So I appreciate Tad Hargrave’s description of slow marketing which resonates so much for me. Yet, as in most cases, not everything that feels like a fit for other service business owners feels like a fit for me.
We’ve got to be selective in how we use our energy…in everything we do as a sensitive solopreneur.
That’s why, if you feel low energy and tired, you need to find your own best combination of marketing strategies and techniques that you can sustain.
In part, this is about understanding what specifically drains your energy.
And it’s also about self-compassion. It does you no good to be harsh with yourself for not being able to keep up with what you think other business owners are doing to promote their services. I know this because “bitchy Marla” is a very persistent voice in my head! While I appreciate her in certain situations, I am also working on softening her voice.
As a result, I have allowed myself to really scale back. And I mean REALLY scale back. Yet, somehow, I keep getting hired.
I could jump to imagining how much more I could achieve if I kicked it up a notch.
But, as Ryan Holiday writes in his book, Stillness is the Key, it’s important to ask ourselves what we’re willing to exchange a piece of our life (aka time) for.
He suggests asking these questions when deciding whether to invest your time in something you’re being asked to do (or perhaps, in this case, thinking that you should do):
- “What is it? Why does it matter? Do I need it? Do I want it? What are the hidden costs?” (p 190)
For me, and as a sensitive solopreneur, I’m not interested in investing time and energy into more hustle, social media, or hob-nobbing (I’m not a naturally sociable person so this takes A LOT of energy for me).
Yet, as online business owners, we DO need to find clients somehow or help them find us (and that IS our responsibility).
The question for each of us then is, HOW will we go about doing that?
Here is my current marketing mix as a low energy solopreneur:
1. High-quality service delivery and generous follow up with clients (which inevitably nurtures referral relationships as a natural energetic exchange)
When I work with a client, it’s important to me that she feels cared for. That doesn’t end after our paid project ends. I keep clients in mind. Follow their content. Send them occasional unsolicited ideas and feedback. These are the business relationships that I focus on now.
Even during individual sales conversations with prospects, I share ideas and tips (or suggest what they actually need to do first before they’re ready to make the most of what I have to offer) versus fearfully holding back or pushing for the immediate yes.
The person may leave the conversation without purchasing right away, but they associate me with a positive and respectful experience, which can be more important in the longer term.
I suppose it’s kind of old-fashioned, but treat people the way you want to be treated…whether they end up purchasing from you now or not. More than being good for repeat customers, it’s also good for referrals and therefore return on energy invested.
2. Very limited social media use on one channel
Since I don’t enjoy social media, I stick to one channel. Facebook. Mostly because I interact a bit in groups that were part of a program/course I purchased. Once in a while, I’ll post or comment in other groups where potential clients spend time.
In terms of my own page, I post as I feel inclined to do so. Because of my irregularity, I don’t get much reach. But I don’t find myself caring enough to invest more energy in it at this time.
Sporadic is how I would characterize my social media use. I could easily step away. But since I have had success in finding clients (particularly amongst classmates), I am keeping it in my mix for now.
3. Low-key content marketing, boosted by SEO, as my main form of reaching a cold audience
Writing is my preferred mode of communication. Video and audio are NOT my zones (they do not energize me). So content marketing, primarily by writing blog posts, is how I go about reaching a cold audience without investing a lot of personal energy.
Why is a cold audience important? Because it’s part of a balanced approach that goes hand in hand with developing relationships with a warm audience. If someone new reads my blog post and finds value, they might choose to sign up for my newsletter (or contact me with a question, sign up for a quick call, buy a low-risk offer, etc.) to get a better feel for me. That’s good for my business and it doesn’t take much energy to establish that connection or respond with value.
What do I mean by low-key? I don’t pressure myself to push out new content daily. Or even weekly for that matter. Would it help if I did? Possibly. But it comes back to energy again and I choose to do what feels realistic, inspired, and sustainable for me (versus following a lot of ‘shoulds’).
I do the best I can with what I have to offer on any given day. If I don’t have energy for the more people-oriented side of the business, I might have energy for the content side. Something is better than nothing.
Importantly, occasional (dare I say, regular) ‘nothing’ days and/or blocks of time are part of surviving and thriving as a sensitive solopreneur (in my opinion). Yes, you own a business which comes with a wide range of responsibilities…and you are still human. Treat yourself accordingly.
4. A newsletter I send out once a month
Yes, just once a month. I don’t enjoy my inbox being bombarded. My ideal clients don’t either. It’s overwhelming. So I’ve ditched the mainstream marketing advice on this one and keep it to a minimum.
That includes NO multiple email series as part of a fancy funnel when a new subscriber signs up. The opt-in process ensures that people who join me are genuinely interested and that I can provide relevant value promptly. The goal, at this point, is about quality versus quantity.
5. Adding links to blog posts on Pinterest
While I don’t spend much time optimizing it, I do post images with links to my blog posts on Pinterest. Since it’s searchable, it’s another way to bring traffic over to your website as an addition to Google or YouTube (while avoiding social media). When you write your title and description, think about how you can make the most of the search function by considering what your ideal people might be typing in.
Keep in mind that whatever your marketing mix looks like now, it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. Allow it to change and grow as you and your business do. You’re allowed to change your mind!
Slow, quiet, and minimal marketing is feel-good marketing when your energy level is low
Here’s the thing. I’m not everywhere online and I don’t show up to market my business daily. As a sensitive solopreneur who mostly works 1:1 with clients, I don’t need that many of them. I’m not trying to juggle a million things at once and cram in more, more, more. And I’m also not interested at this point in hiring any team members to help me boost my business visibility.
If you’re like me and this is resonating, know that you can find your own best and sustainable marketing mix that works when your personal energy level is low. And, it may look nothing like mine. It doesn’t have to. That’s the point.
It’s ok to take things slow and scale back for minimal energy output in your marketing. Have you considered what that might look like for you?
Be patient. Be kind. Trust yourself.
Keep experimenting until you find your feel-good marketing mix that also works to build your online service business.
Know someone who could benefit from reading this today? Share it!
And I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What part can you relate to most?