But the truth is…I run much of my business from my car.
I have a car-based business. While I write at my big-screen computer during the mornings, I spend a healthy chunk of time in my van in the afternoons.
Not that I’m complaining. I get lots of ideas in the car. Inspiration, sometimes. Tests of patience. I download podcasts and interviews and listen to those. My kids absorb digital media news and marketing trends, but usually they’re plugged into Spotify or Injustice unless we get wrapped into conversation, laughter, or sometimes arguments.
So I’m running a business from my car, with all of life’s drama to boot. (Not to mention Texas drivers.) I cover the same 100 square miles every week, practically on autopilot.
The reason I’m sharing this isn’t to revel in my provincial existence, but to show you that you can market your business from right where you are — even if it happens to be a very small place.
“I don’t have the time,” people say.
“I hate the copywriting part,” small business women confide.
“I’m too busy to market myself,” they bemoan.
While I sympathize with all that, the truth is no one can market your business better than you.
So be prepared. Seek opportunities and take stock of what you do have. Busy people enjoy more content currency to spend simply because they’re in there, doing it. Build in an extra minute or two and create quickie micro-content, like the kind GaryVee talks about in his book #JJJHR. It’s all over the place!
Click image to enlarge.
Do you keep all the content creation tools within easy reach? Here are some of my favorites:
- Kindle (latest magazines, reports, books) to stimulate the mind.
- Pen and notepad, for great ideas at stoplights.
- Digital recorder, for great ideas when you’re moving.
- Phone (not in picture because I’m using it to take a picture)
- Old iPod, for audiobooks and recordings that don’t get interrupted with every email or text that comes in.
- Inspirational Quotes. My two words of the year, “Breathe” and “Ask” are stuck to my steering wheel, reminding me how I’m going to accomplish my next best step.
- I left one thing out…these content creation cards that make it easy to come up with things to write about.
The game has changed. Marketing isn’t about telling your customers how things are. They already know. It’s letting them take a peek behind the curtain at how you can serve them and why they should want to connect with you, personally. What do you have that no one else has?
When you started your small business, you focused on delivering that one thing you actually love to do — the thing people pay you for. But you also knew there’d be other challenges. Things you’d have to get cozy with, maybe even some things that fell outside of your comfort zone.
Along with all those other hats, you knew you’d have to market yourself. But no one ever told you it would take so much time, money and energy right?
The great news for small business people is that you are more than capable of reinforcing your culture with micro-content. (Stay with me here.) Imagine how rich your life is — and can be — while you are running your business. All that you are, wrapped up into all that you offer, and the great service and products your customers reap, too.
Since I am a copywriter, here’s how it breaks down for me. I get up really early to write. 5:00am is average for me. That gives me a good four hours before I go to the gym. Then another couple of hours before I start checking email and returning phone calls. Six hours of writing is plenty. If I can do that much every day, I am happy. The rest of the day? Driving, cooking, reading, catching up with people via phone calls and recordings, etc.
I’m not saying this is the perfect way to do it, but it’s right for me. I’ve structured the day so I can get stuff done, and it’s not glamorous by any means. Most days I come up with article ideas at 55 mph, or a through a simple conversation with the guy at the pet store where I buy crickets for my son’s lizard, or a Facebook post.
Anyone can market their business. Your life looks different from mine, of course, but as you build your business, why not share the journey with your community? The content you create right where you are is the juice that ultimately drives your business.
- It’s what you opine as you read articles.
- It’s what you tell your friend about after an interesting meeting with a new affiliate or vendor.
- It’s that tangent your can’t resist exploring in conversation.
- It’s the funny joke you shared when your favorite client visited.
- All of this is fodder for your content. And the people who are your ideal clients will naturally click with where you are right now.
That’s not an excuse to be scattered and unintentional. And it’s definitely not an excuse to share all the “junk in your trunk,” so to speak. But a home-based business (or a car-based business) allows you a certain lifestyle that still serves clients with great value. The same goes for your life as a shopkeeper, a coach, a volunteer, an educator, a speaker, a realtor, or any of the various professions small business people fall into. It’s a life you can share as you reveal how you serve.
Incorporating content creation into your day-to-day takes a little extra time and intention.
Learn how to do it efficiently, making use of apps and tools so you can touch the right people. Having the right tools makes it easier on you, too.
Here’s an example.The driving around started early today. An orthodontist appointment at 7:30 am and drop-off at the high school led to two hours at the cafe where I wrote for awhile. Then I picked up another child at the grade school to have a wart checked by the dermatologists. Trish, at the school’s front desk told me we’d need a doctor’s note when we returned, but I forgot to get one. So I turned the car around and sent my son Henry in to get it from the receptionist. As I waited in the car, I looked up to see this set of windows, a riff on classic architecture. I snapped it, intending to research the golden mean, while I waited — and if I could relate it somehow to writing.
I got to thinking how lovely the lines of simple geometry during a hectic day and how to share it in some way.
Which brings me full circle. Within your day, there is something to share. Take stock, don’t discount the small stuff; try to find meaning in all the chance bits of flotsam and informational jetsam God sprinkles into your life. Don’t take them for granted.
What does it mean for your customers and your ROI? Relish all the little things that contribute to the business you are building, and share them as your community grows.
What you invest is time and effort. What you get back is the return on dependability and familiarity. The better your ideal customer knows you and understands your vision, the clearer they see how you fit into the perfect solution once they’re ready to tackle their problem.
Do you have any thoughts on inventing and sharing content from “inconvenient” places?