Wednesday, July 29, 2009
How am I Different?
I spend hours talking to my clients about one of the basics of Marketing: Differentiating. I ask how they are different than other people who seem to be doing the same stuff.
15 years ago when I started working as a consultant, I really didn't think very much about that for myself. My main focus at that time was setting up financial systems and processes for very small companies and I didn't have much competition in my market.
Now, as a business mentor I have plenty of competition. I started this blog as a way for you to all get to know me. I ramped up my social media marketing and published articles elsewhere as well. In all this flurry of activity, I've been following many other folks who market themselves under this or a similar label. As I've ready their advice and watched their approach, it's been hard for me to pin down exactly what it is about me that's different. I was, like my clients, in that moment, unable to see the forest for the trees.
When posting a comment on small biz on Linkedin, it came to me: I've come from a family of entrepreneurs. It's all I've really ever known!
Many professionals enter the world of consulting after leaving the corporate world. That, for the most part is my competition. I have in fact worked in the corporate world, as a GM, CFO, CEO, all on a contract basis. The "lure of the paycheck" has never really worked on me. It's taken me quite a long time and many conversations for me to realize because from childhood, my vision of the world was shaped by the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
My first business at around age 7 was to collect wildflowers and make miniature arrangements and sell them door to door in my neighborhood. I remember this clear as day, but honestly cannot explain it given my self proclaimed identity as an introvert. (Uh, until recently...)
My first "real job" at 17 was helping this woman, who had been away from her brownstone for 10 years, renting to grad students. I keept her cool and calm and sorted through 10 years of her life and organized a sale. It was exciting and I felt like I was using all my abilities. When I headed off to college late that Summer, it was confusing in comparison. It seemed to unfocused to me.
So here I am, all these years later, telling you a bit more about how I might be able to figure out your situation and help you along the sometimes rocky road of small business. I'm not matching it to a certain business model or "ideal". Instead, I'm finding a way for you to do what you want to do and have it support you. It's what I know, down to my bones.
Shall I be corny for a moment? Your dreams are my business. Bring them to me and let's see what we can do.
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