When you get busy, the easiest thing to drop off your schedule is self-promotion.
And yet, self-promotion is the only way you have a business.
It’s like watering a plant; you can forget to do it for a while, but eventually, the plant will die. When you stop self-promoting, your business starts dying, too.
Everything you do means you have decided NOT to do something else. Whether you realize it or not.
You don’t have unlimited time, resources, and energy. You can’t be all things to all people. You have to make choices and trade-offs.
And one of the choices you need to make as an independent professional is to show up every single day.
That’s right, every day. Not every-so-often. Every day.
I heard Dan Kennedy say that you’re not in the business of whatever it is you do. You’re in the business of getting clients.
I’m paraphrasing, but that stuck with me.
I realized that delivering good work was table stakes (still important). But it wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t able to keep getting new clients.
So, what if you’re too busy to keep marketing yourself?
- It might be time to raise your rates
- It might be time to redesign your services
- It might be time to start productizing your expertise
Business is an iterative game.
I spoke last week about how I went from hobbyist to employee to freelancer, to consultant, advisor, educator, and so on over the course of nearly 20 years.
When I got too busy as a freelancer, I hired sub-contractors. Leverage.
When I got busy as an agency owner, I stopped marking up other people’s time and starting selling marketing strategy, management, and oversight as a fractional chief marketing officer. 100% margins.
When I got busy as a fractional CMO, I removed project management from my scope and started selling purely consulting and advisory services. More time back.
Now I also sell info products and a membership program for my niche consultancy, which is further helping me stop trading time for money. I’m creating an asset I can sell repeatedly.
Bringing it home
Whenever you do—don’t stop marketing yourself. It will be tempting. You will be tired. You won’t feel like showing up. But do it anyway. Every day.
Your job is to create opportunity for yourself. You must keep showing up. Again and again and again.
I recently invested in a Buffer account to help me schedule some posts and keep my content going.
I also write two newsletters, do group coaching, and run a membership in addition to private consulting and workshops. I’m busy.
But I make no excuses. I keep showing up.
So if your goal is to remain independent, you have to keep iterating your business model, freeing up more time, and investing everything you can BACK into your marketing to ALLOW you to keep levelling up.
Otherwise, you’ll stay at the level you’re at—trading time for money. Never fully realizing the upside that you could have.
Make the trade-off to invest in your marketing, even if it comes at short-term cost.
Otherwise, the trade-off will be made for you in the form of fewer opportunities.