I never really understood good marketing until I started to respect my own time more. These days, I'm trying to really live 24 hours per day the way I want to be living them. Do you know how much time there is in 24 hours? It's a lot.
Before I respected my own time, I didn't really respect other people's time as much. Don't get me wrong - I was always cool enough, I didn't waste people's time, but I never realized what a magnificent thing people choosing to spend their time with you is. There's so many good places to spend your time - getting entertainment, learning, connecting with good people, building things, inventing, relaxing, thinking, working. When someone spends their time with me, whatever the medium, that's a tremendous honor.
When someone comes to join me at my blog, reads something I write, listens to me speak, meets me for a coffee or we go on an adventure together - there's a hell of a lot of other places they could be, and a hell of a lot of other great things they could be doing with their time.
I think good marketing respects that. Good marketing goes, "This person could be anywhere else - let's make it worth their while." Kathy Sierra, Seth Godin, and Chet Holmes all talk about this - educating people, teaching them, making them want to spend time with you. Being entertaining, or informative, building a place people feel welcome, or strong, or get smarter at.
I think that's most of good marketing - having people want to spend time in and around you, your company, wanting to be associated with what you've got. The rest of good marketing is offering people something worth many, many times more than what you're charging. My current target is 10x - if I'm working to help someone build their revenues, I'm aiming to get them 10 times my fees in net profit, for a 1000% ROI. To be honest with you, I'll settle for 4x and 400%, but I'm aiming for 10.
I want to build and get stronger after that too. Ideally I could offer people things that are worth 100 times what I charge, to give people things so marvelous and amazing and such good quality that they're amazed it could cost so little.
But honestly, the second part - offering immense quality worth many times what the person pays - that's second to having people want to spend time with you. If people want to spend time with you, because they're learning, because they're entertained, because they feel strong and cool and fashionable and amazing being around you - then everything else goes smoothly. You can tell people what you're doing and let them decide if it's right for them. You're not in such a tremendous hurry when people want to see you and return again and again.
I think the first step to being a great marketer is respecting your own time, and seeing how much is possible to get done when you respect your time. Then start really respecting other people's time - it's amazing what wonderful things can be done with time if you're spending it well. So acknowledge that, be aware that it's an honor, a privilege, a blessing if people want to spend even 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes with you here and there. Make it the best time they ever spend, give people what they want, really respect their time. If you do that, if you deliver and make every minute someone spends with you a great minute, marketing will become easier and more joyful all the time.
Very true. I just recently started looking at time differently and realized it is a valuable resource. More valuable to me than money. I feel like most people don't appreciate or value time. At least it seems like people around me feel entitled to my time and get upset if I have to focus on other things rather than spend time with them.
Well, a very cool trend is happening at Hacker News - people are posting "Offer HN" threads offering advice and help. The first one seems to be "Will Work for Karma" by todayiamme, which kicked the whole thing off. My favorite is "Tax Help for Startup Entrepreneurs" because there's a lot of insight and analysis just in the thread itself. I like learning about law, but it's damn expensive to learn about either in time or money. That said, learning law can save you a lot of money when you write a contract correctly or when you have a company buyback shares instead of purchasing them yourself when buying a partner in a two person partnership out.
After a bunch of "Offer HN" threads started kicking up, there were two discussion topics, both by guys I respect. "Please stop offering your services" and "Please keep offering your services" by Swombat and Jacques. There seems to be a few themes going on:
1. Some people think this is really cool and nice of people. 2. Some people are skeptical of the intentions of people doing this. 3. Some people don't want to see HN get bogged down/clogged up by this.
Let's cover those in reverse order.
First, if it gets out of control and you want to see news without offers, Paul Graham implemented http://news.ycombinator.com/offerless - no offers there. So that solves that problem.
I used to dislike to work. I saw how most people lived their lives, slogging through work that they hated, and I was determined not to fall into that trap. I made the mistake of generalizing, lumping all work together in the same bucket.
Since then, things have changed. In terms of monumental personal life changes, becoming a hard worker is the most recent one I've undergone. About a year ago, for reasons I touched on in this post, I decided that it was imperative for me to become a hard worker. I didn't do it because I had suddenly fallen in love with work, but rather because I had began to feel as though I was behind. And believe me, it wasn't love at first sight.
To fall in love with hard work, you must understand why it's necessary. When I was young I was told that sugar was bad, but I never understood exactly why it was bad, so I kept eating it. Only when I learned how it chemically affected my body did I finally give it up. The same is true of work-- if you don't know why you have to work hard and love it, you'll probably never actually do it.
Work is your gift to the world. That sounds corny, but it's true. And believe me, you owe the world a gift or two. Think of all of the various things that millions of people around the world have done for you to enjoy the life you have. They made up languages, invented stuff, procreated at the exact right times to create your ancestry, and managed to not kill each other in the process. We're lucky to be here, and the high standard of living we all enjoy now is only because of those who came before us. Some, like Einstein, had huge impact, but even people you don't notice, like the janitors, are making your life better.