Month: February 2016

Are You Making This Mistake When Pitching to Prospects?

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The worst time to pitch to potential prospects is when you need a new client. That’s mistake #1.

No, not the prospecting…

The needing. That’s the mistake.

Let’s get one thing straight: You don’t need anyone. People want you. People want what you have. People want what you’re offering.

It’s not just a mindset, it’s the truth. If you’re reading this blog chances are you’re a graphic designer, a photographer, a writer, or some kind of solo entrepreneur.

According to the Small Business Association, there are 27 million businesses in the US. All of whom need a service that you can provide.

Three weeks ago, I walked into ACME on an empty stomach. The shopping list was simple:

  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Almond milk
  • Rice
  • Thin sliced chicken breasts
  • …and a few other items that I can’t seem to remember

Those items ended up in my shopping cart because I needed them…

and then I walked by the Hot-n-Ready section… I salivated at the greasy fried foods.

I was dieting.

I was budgeting.

I did not care.

The fried chicken didn’t stand a chance. By the time I walked in the door all that was left were the bones.

I was ashamed.

I wasted the time I had spent dieting, the money that could have went to something more useful(or healthy), and most importantly I regretted every irreversible action between grabbing the chicken, checking out at the register, and eating it on the way home. I knew it was something I shouldn’t have done but caved because I was shopping on an empty stomach.

You shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because of the regrettable ramifications… You shouldn’t approach prospects when the landlord just knocked on your door to collect the rent money that you don’t have. Your proposals will come off pushy, arrogant, annoying, and 98% of your proposals will be rejected.

Organization & strategy begets success. Tweet that out!

Just like when you’re grocery shopping, you’ll want to organize your method of approach when calling, emailing, or speaking to your prospects.

Learn how to systematize the process here.

 

 

 

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Continue reading

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Continue reading

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Continue reading

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Continue reading

Making a real investment in their creativity is something that people don’t take seriously enough. I think it has to do with the fact that our society treats creativity as something frivolous or impractical. People may praise it publicly and demand originality or innovation, but they usually don’t put their money where their mouth is.

This tends to trickle down into the way creatives think of their craft too, unfortunately. When it comes time to invest in new equipment or polishing their skills, people will find an excuse not to give their creativity the priority of their time or money in favor of more practical things or entertainment. This often is one of the big barriers to success for creative professionals and creative entrepreneurs.

My own personal experience has shown me the difference investing in yourself can make, but I’ve seen this is some of the creative entrepreneurs that have influenced and inspired me over the years.

From podcasters who made sure that as the grew they invested in better microphones to improve the quality of their sound. To actors who take voice coaching lessons, paid for out of their earnings. I’ve seen countless photographers scrimp and save to get a better lens that would let them take the shots they knew would help them sell the quality of their work to paying clients.

“When someone is fully and truly committed they will invest their time, their energy and their money.”

Any success I’ve seen in people, even if they were lacking the highest amount of talent, can be traced back to this concept of self-investment.

This doesn’t always mean you have to go off and spend a mortgage on an education, or the equivalent of a car on the latest equipment or Macbook Pro. It means identifying your strengths and weaknesses and giving yourself a shot at real growth.

Resources for Investing in Creativity

 

What we leave is our legacy.

One of my favorite sayings.

When our time comes and we’re buried in the cold & lonely soil, what will those who’ve come to gather have to say? Positively or negatively, the end of your life will have had an effect on those closest to you as well as those around the world.

There are no do-overs and you’ll never know when your last goodbye will be…

You see, death has given me a reality check so big that I was forced to live the life that I want.

Allow me to explain…

My father was an absent parent throughout the most crucial years of my life. The only things I knew about him were health issues, excuses, and his love for his advertising and promotions company.

9 months after his 60th birthday he was in the hospital…again. Having not been around him for years I expected to be stone cold, emotionally. However, the moment I saw him on the bed, I crashed and wept. I left the room and wept for a man I didn’t really know too well for the majority of my life.

After his passing and the service I became reflective on any good things that I could remember. What I remember about him can be broken down into three things that have helped me as I develop personally and professionally and will help you as you imagine what people will remember about you when your time comes.

  1. Hustle. My father took a handful of pills and two shots every day and couldn’t even wear regular fit clothes. Despite that, he drove a 1990 Stanza with over 300,000 miles to school districts, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations pitching fundraiser ideas. He poured more money into that car than it was worth until the early 2000’s. He took action doing the things that he wanted. Despite his poor health, he made hundreds of thousands of dollars on his own doing what he loved. Nothing else mattered.
  2. Determination. We saw our father the most when we were younger. When he came over he and I would go over homework and play chess. Most of the time I never got to finish my homework because his thirst for knowledge and dedication to education meant reading the instructions, verbally defining the unorthodox words. If the definition wasn’t known, we would look up that definition in “The $40 Dictionary” (that name was given to the dictionary so we’d know the investment made on the dictionary was not to be taken for granted). If we didn’t know all of the words in the definition given we would look up that word and so on and so forth. It was tedious and digressive, however it was done for a point. That point is to better those around you
  3. Stubbornness. It’s one thing to have determination, but the will to never back down from the best is an entirely different thing. I remember playing chess with my father when I was maybe 7 or 8. I would play an absolutely disgusting blunder and I was forced to go back and verbally analyze the position and find a better move. Or sometimes he would turn the board around and I had to verbally analyze the position from the other perspective.

“The will to be great takes nothing short of a virtually irrational stubbornness.” – Tweet this quote!

We are all connected. The impact you have on another individual’s life will have an impact on another individual’s life which will then have an impact on another individual’s life. You live on in the actions that you took.

That is why it is important to understand that your dreams, your goals, your aspirations, your questions, and your passions cannot wait until tomorrow. How will you live today? How will the world be better off because you have lived? How much better will you feel having done the things in life that you’ve always wanted to do wanted to do?

Go Create Something Awesome Today… the world depends on it. You depend on it.

Tweet @erickhoxter

Last Saturday, I was spaced out in front of my computer for hours. I sat there caught between a rock and a hard place.

Youtube… or Facebook…

Whilst scrolling for new YouTube videos I found myself tabbing over to Facebook, closing out of Facebook, and opening a new tab for Facebook.

Facebook eventually won.

While scanning the posts of my friends, I stop at one that struck me as particularly interesting.

It reads:

“Met so many awesome people at XYZEventCon this past weekend. At least 7 of them want to hire me on to give lessons and a keynote to their organization.”

“Wow” I tell myself. “They’re really making it happen. Why the hell am I still sitting on my idea?”

As my blood starts to warm and the jitters crawl through my body, I head to YouTube and watch a video of some of my favorite marketing figures getting the job done and teaching their network of 100,000+ subscribers exactly what they need to do to get the job done.

Now I’m motivated. So motivated that I’m walking around the house juggling the 3 ideas I have in my mind trying to decide which to act on first.

Minutes pass…hours pass…

I get one thing accomplished before being sucked back into the Facebook and YouTube distractions.

Does this sound familiar?

Today, I’m going to give you a step by step process to getting your idea off of the ground that’s so simple you won’t even spend enough time to get distracted and upset at yourself.

Let’s prepare your awesome idea for the market using the I.C.E. method.

First things first, identify your idea in detail.

This is going to be the longest part of the process. You may think you know what your idea is but if you can’t

  • Pitch it or tell someone what it is or what it accomplishes for your customer in under 30 seconds. (Click here to learn more about your pitch.)
  • Identify your target market like the back of your hand
  • Write down what you hope to accomplish with your idea

you won’t have any idea what steps to take.

Being able to write down and verbalize the purpose and the goals of your idea will give you direction each and every day. In fact, I recite or look at my original mission statement for a small chess coaching and consulting company I run on almost a daily basis.

My recommendation, and what I did when I finally got serious about my endeavor, is to

  1. turn off your computer, television, and your phone.
  2. Grab some real estate (whether it’s your dining room table, your office, or a coffee shop) with a pencil and notebook
  3. Write out and identify the following:
    • What is it that you wish to do?
    • Who is your ideal client/customer?
    • What social media platforms are you most comfortable with AND what platforms are your clients using the most (search popular related hashtags or search Google)?
    • How will your client benefit from using your product or service?
    • What makes your idea unique?

Start with those, and whenever you go to create a piece of content, pitch your idea to an investor or prospect, or have a casual conversation about your idea you’ll be able to talk about it with confidence to others.With yourself, you’ll be able to always have an understanding, even if a vague one, of which direction you should be moving in.

Figure out how you’re going to create your content. Once you get started, this is an everlasting endeavor.

Delivering valuable content will serve as the pulse of your business. It’s what builds trust, reliability, and momentum for your idea or business. – Tweet this!

Content is a way for you to create conversation about your idea; a way to provide value to others interested in your idea. Developing a specific content strategy is part of the marketing of your idea that can make or break (…or maybe just delay) your success.

Much like in my previous point, it’s important to consider what platforms those interested in your hobby are using the most just as much as it is to identify which ones you are already comfortable and skilled in using.

A few questions to consider:

  • Do you like to blog or vlog?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of creating micro content videos (Instagram, Vine, Snapchat) vs having control of length and the best search engine (YouTube)?
  • Can I do both?
  • How much time can I allocate to content creation?

Lastly, if you ever expect to make any money by turning your idea into a business, OR even if you simply want to keep the successfully built traction of your hobby you must engage your audience.

Engaging is a concept that needs to accomplish two things.

First, it builds trust. When you create a blog or video and someone leaves a comment, it means so much to them when you take time out to read and respond to what they say. Surprisingly, it is still a concept that is done so infrequently that most are thrown off guard and become appreciative that you even acknowledge their existence.

Second, it positions you as an authority. You’re not only writing or recording some prepared content, but you’re answering questions as they come, on the fly, in order to help those who need the answer whether or not the question is related to the topic you’ve prepared.

You should simply want to engage with those who enjoy your content. It’s a win-win scenario if you are truly passionate about the awesome idea and sub-ideas that you’re discussing.

Now engage also has one more meaning. For you, this is a very important one. If you’ve listened to nothing else regarding content creation, listen to this.

Your posts must engage your audience to take some kind of action. Each post or video should have a call to action. 

Whether it’s suggesting they…

  • leave a comment
  • like your video or post
  • download an ebook you’ve prepared
  • click a link to a website
  • sign up for your email newsletter

or what have you, there must be some kind of direction inside each piece of content. It gives your reader/listener/viewer something to do in order to get more information while simultaneously setting you up to be a go-to resource for the subject that the individual is interested in. This, in turn, increases the amount of individuals who will visit your content time and time again as you produce more of it.

When you read comments like in the story I made up earlier about a friend was invited to give a keynote you’ll realize that it didn’t happen by accident. He used the strategies that I talked about today to:

  • position himself as a subject matter expert
  • become an active and accessible professional in his field
  • build a business out of his ideas and passions that others had interest in
  • use his skills and passions to make money doing what it is he enjoys the most
  • Create Awesome for others

Try following the I.C.E. method for any one of your future business ideas that you’re having trouble acting upon.

To recap this post…

Identify your idea. Cut out all technology distractions and with an old fashioned pen and paper write out your idea in detail.

Create your content strategy. Find which platforms you’re most comfortable with and are skilled in using; cross research those platforms that are most used by your potential readers/listeners/viewers (by searching hashtags and utilizing search engines such as Google/Youtube). Finally, find a happy medium of at least 2-3 platforms that you’ll use to deliver your content.

Engage your audience. When you begin putting out content be sure to allocate time to responding to comments within 1-2 days. Also, each post should have some kind of call to action embedded in your post in order to engage your audience further.

Let me know how this post has helped you Create Something Awesome Today with a comment below or a tweet to @erickhoxter.

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