We feel so green with regard to all of this business stuff it’s easy to forget we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. There’s so much information out there about running a business that it’s pretty overwhelming for someone who’s starting from scratch and it’s difficult to know where to begin. I haven’t actually read any conventional books on business (although I am currently reading “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” and am thoroughly enjoying it) but the two (yes, two!) that I have read have each introduced me to a concept that has completely obliterated many of my assumptions and given me some firm foundations to grasp onto. Another guiding principle I use doesn’t come from a business book at all but rather a sociology/social psychology one – an area a bit closer to home, for me.
I’ll talk a little bit about each over three blog posts.
This one is by far my favourite as it provided me with an alternative to an area of business I had nothing but contempt for and it has had the biggest impact on the way we run our business. I first came across this concept in Chris Guillebeau’s ebook “Art + Money”. To quote from his ebook:
The “anti-marketing” approach is all about relationships, your story, and giving value… When you’re selling art, or any product that you passionately care about, you want the buyers to be people who truly want it. You want to connect with the people who are into your work, and let them realize on their own how much they want it.
The beauty of this concept is that it is not only a painless way to go about marketing, it is enjoyable, as long as you’re passionate about what it is that you do. Basically it works like this:
- Connect with people in your niche on various social media sites
- Some of these people like what you do
- Some of those people tell people on various social media sites about what you do
- Some people buy your stuff
It’s basically word of mouth on steroids.
A slightly more cynical take on this concept is to connect with “influencers” in your niche, a concept I read about in “Cloud Jacking: 7 Steps to Dominate Your Niche”. This can be done as authentically or disingenuously as you please. For example, we took a fairly strong dislike to the number one blogger in our target niche. We didn’t un-follow him straight away but after a time it became pretty clear that even if he did like The Cartographer – which we didn’t think he would – we didn’t actually want it associated with him or his website. We un-followed him and could put our efforts into connecting with people who we respected and were genuinely interested in getting to know.
The Cartographer hasn’t launched yet so I can’t tell you if any of this has actually worked for us but there are plenty of case studies out there for whom it has: Tim Ferriss, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Natasha Newton, for example.
For me, marketing always had negative connotations so I feel like the anti-marketing approach to marketing makes the entire prospect of running a business, at the very least palatable and at the very best enjoyable and something I would do for free.