Now I get it, it’s super hard to stand out in a sea of competition. When I started my business I was fortunate in the fact that I had a easy jump from company not existing, to me netting 60k my first year. However that took a lot of time at my previous job working for free for a year to learn as a intern then becoming SVP and later on opening my own company.
It really is. In order to stand out and be something people will flock to, you have to be forming the definition of yourself. You have to show why you are different. Why they need to buy from you. Where is the value? Can’t I get this for cheaper? What if it does not work? Why do you keep going back and forth between two ideas? All these questions you have to answer directly to your clients but also indirectly, and how do you do that you may ask. Well threw brand development.
I want you to think about you and your friends for a minute. Do they hang around you for a certain reason? Do you hang around them for a certain reason? If they described you to someone else what would they say? What would you say of them? Guess what? That is Personal Brand. However no one thinks of it that way. They think personal brand is just a business thing and it is not that important. However if you are like my friends you have a reason to hang around with certain people. For example people hang around me because I am blunt, to the point, I don’t waste time, I am aggressive when need be, I get things done, I help anyone I can to find their calling, I help people master psychology, and I am as loyal as a human can be and will defend the people I care about with my life. Now my business people pick me because I am young, aggressive, I have a work ethic most my generation can’t stand up to, I get things done, I am always thinking outside the box, I am a force to be reckoned with, and I am constantly learning and evolving.
As a wonderful book brought out (Book Yourself Solid) it’s really as easy as ABC! Always Be Communicating! So what does that mean? It means that no matter how much you want to build your brand you need to know if the message is getting to the right people correctly. Do your customers know you? Do they know what the heck you do? Do they want to work with you based off of price or your work quality and smarts? Do they know what morals and standards you adhere to? I hope they do, but you don’t know until you talk to them and communicate with them. This helps out in two way. 1. because you are constantly teaching people what and who you are when you constantly communicate with them. 2. You get to see what they think of you. Do they view you the way you want them to? This also gives you a chance to see whether there is something you need to work on that can make you better.
So there you have it, the first step to building personal brand. Continue to follow along to find more detailed ways to do it.
Now you will not hear me say it’s time to get your goals planned out and start working harder starting January 1st. I do not and will not believe that Jan 1st is the day you should start doing better. Grow the hell up and start today. Anyhow I hate this time of year because of that the millions of people, posts, pics and blogs saying oh get up and get ready for Jan 1st, get ready for a two week burst of a bunch of “I wills” that will end up actually being “I did for two weeks.” Yayyyyyy you did not even hit the three week habit forming point. Good for you, good for me, good for everybody.
What I will talk about however is how this time a year is a good time to examine one thing. Your clients! So what do I mean? Well here comes one of the times a year where I sit down and see if I am scraping the bottom of the barrel with clients, and what I mean is this. Do I personally have a velvet rope policy for my business? Do I have a bar that people need to meet to become my client and if not it’s time to fix it.
But Connor (and yes I started a sentence with the word but.) I need to take on everyone. I don’t have enough clients to be picky. I need to treat everyone the same, and so on. Exception time, if you are brand new to your business or industry I understand you have to take on everyone to get known but I will tell you now it will be better for you and impressive to me if you start this from the beginning. However if you can not do that then you are the only type of people with the excuse.
I want to ask you a question. Do you eat any food you want in massive quantity’s? Do you watch every tv show no matter the quality (yes I am talking about things like keeping up with the you know who’s)? Do you listen to any type of person that gives you advice regardless if they offer value or have the knowledge to even give you advice in the first place? I hope you don’t! I also then want to ask you, why in the world do you take on clients that don’t respect you, value what you offer, and treat you like you are beneath them? Starting to make more sense now.
If I go to a fancy restaurant or a club they have a velvet rope policy. That means if I walk up to them in ratty clothes and smell like garbage then they won’t let me in because it just does not make sense to them to let someone like that in and it should not make sense to you to let in clients that don’t meet your rope policy.
Now I know some of you are still like but Connor they pay me that’s enough to get me to deal with them, and to that I laugh in your face and tell you to wake up. You probably don’t know this but the clients that pay you more are usually more respectful. I have been doing this since I was 15 and one thing I have learned is, that almost every time the small client that pays you barely anything will end up the biggest pain in the rear, and there are two reasons for that.
Reason number uno: In most cases you have been bent over backwards by them to get a lower deal. Now that works when selling a car because they drive off and you never see them again but most of us that is not the case. We have to deal with them week in and week out. So because they know that you were cheap before they know you will be cheap again. They just have to be pushy or act like a brat and you will wuss over and give them what they want.
Solution: Never lower price other than sales without lowering value. If you are lowering the price, lower the value that is how the rest of the world works.
Reason number two: You hurt your self if you charge less because then in your mind you lower their value to you. With them paying less you more easily get annoyed with them. They are not paying you enough and even tho you want to pretend that is not true, well your subconscious knows very well what you are doing.
Solution: Just don’t charge less.
Another thing I want to touch on is the type of client that is a pain. That always proves to be a jerk to you, under value you, and basically treat you like their punching bag. GET RID OF THEM!! You are better than them and you don’t need it.
One last thing to think about. WHEN YOU WORK WITH CLIENTS YOU LOVE AND THAT VALUE YOU, YOU WILL TRULY ENJOY THE WORK THAT YOU DO. AND WHEN YOU LOVE EVERY SECOND OF THE WORK YOU DO, YOU’LL DO YOUR BEST WORK, WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO GETTING MORE CLIENTS.
STOP HURTING YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING, YOU ARE WRONG!!
On January 2015 Facebook changed yet again. They removed almost all of the unpaid content posted by business pages from the news feeds of the people that had chosen to follow those pages. For many businesses that rely on Facebook’s free marketing this has been almost a devastating blow.
Since before 2014 Facebook marketing could be done for free. Hey post something of value and it would go out to all those likes you tried so hard to get. It was the most powerful marketing tool for a business, no budget necessary. Businesses had a pulse on their client base and prospects. They could hear what people liked about their business and what people wanted the business owner to work on. It was awesome and it proved that “nothing is free”, was wrong. When someone clicked the like button it meant that they opted in to get posts from said business. However we slowly watched as Facebook changed what they said and shaped their business in a way that… oh that’s right makes them money.
Facebook after January 2015 has changed completely. Facebook now says that we have to pay in order to reach our likes or anyone else for that matter. For a lot of businesses that have grown to expect free marketing, this burns. These businesses have had their shirt ripped off their back. It started slow in the beginning of 2014 where we saw less and less of our likes seeing our posts. Now on average 10% of your likes see our posts without money being spent.
I understand that you like many others may feel slighted, abused, or wronged. I do. However I believe everything is 10% what happened and 90% how we respond to it. So look at it this way. We know that Facebook is a business and all businesses need to make what? Money. So it had to happen eventually. However we should be glad that Facebook let us advertise for free for such a long time. We also need to realize that it gives us a advantage. For the people like me and my clients that have decided to not feel wronged and instead understand it, and by doing so have have started to spend money on Facebook ads we have found something amazing. We have found that we can now steam roll our competition of complainers when we spend hardly any money to get people to see why we are better than our competition. To be honest Facebook is still the cheapest major marketing platform. Where else can you get access to 1 billion people and be able to target them based on age, gender, interests, job, job position? Oh and where as LinkedIn and Google ads cost between $5-$18 dollars for someone to click on your ad Facebook costs on average below $2. For me and my clients I can get it down to $1 or even as low as $.04-$.08 with good content.
So in close it’s all about how we look at it. Yea change sucks however at least we are aware of it and at least we can now have a advantage.
Alright Kevin besides the creepy stalker vibe I got at first from the whole “watching me for a while thing” haha, I will answer the question. First I want to address the difference between marketing and advertising. Many people ask this and don’t really understand the difference, and seeing the fact that I will be answering this publicly I will go over that briefly. For the few people that may get confused by what I mean let me explain. There are a lot of different ways to market your business and advertising is only one of them. In fact advertising is the most expensive way to market. Here are a few examples of marketing that would not cost anything. Having your customers review your product or service publicly on sites like yelp, asking your current happy clients if they can think of anyone else that could use the same benefits that they themselves are getting from you and then referring those people to you, and also the customer experience that your clients can come to know and love when doing business with you.
So in fact you can spend hardly anything a year and get great results. However running a business exclusively on referrals can be a bad idea as well. So how much should you spend on advertising a year?
This is one of the ways a lot of people tell you how to do it. You take a percentage of your gross sales and spend that each year. On average people will state that spending 5%-7% is a good amount to spend on advertising. If we look at the big guys we can see that’s not always the case. In fact if you are going to use the percentage method what we learn is you should spend around 5% just to keep up with last years sales. 9%-10+% would be used to explode into the market and is usually needed for growth. However as we learn from Walmart who only spends .04% of their 129 billion gross income on advertising, there are many exceptions to the rule. So really this method looks good on paper but can not always be the best way to go about it.
Maybe you’re like me and you might not be a fan of math, and even though this method takes a little more time and effort it does seem to work the best.
First Step is to take 10 and 12 percent of your gross sales and multiply each by the markup you make on your average sale. So say you make 720k a year you would get $72,000 at ten percent and $86,400 at 12%. Then take your profit margin say in this case is 45%. We then need to convert that profit into a markup. This is where it gets difficult for many people because business owners know their profits but very rarely they know the markup. So this is how you do it take $324,000 (gross profits) and divide that by $396,000 (hard cost) and that will give us a 0.8181818181818182 you take that number and move the decimal over two spots and get 81.8 percent. (Most of you probalby know how to do that but I like to help everyone.)
Step two is to then take the $72,000 times 81.8 percent (so 72,000 times 0.818) to see that the adjusted minimal budget is $58,896. Then we do the same thing for the $86,400 times 81.8 percent (so 86,400 times 0.818) and we get $70,675. Then we deduct our rent say $24,000. So this leaves us with the best possible calculated ad budget that ranges from $34,896 – $46,675 per year.
So in conclusion that really is the best way to figure it out. It will always be the best and most detailed and accurate way to calculate it. However if you just want to get it done fast (not recommended) go for the percentage way.