By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing
I've been working with my client, Sarah Taylor, for a few months on her marketing. I don't usually mention the names of my clients, but I am today because I'll be pointing you to her website.
Sarah works with companies to help them accommodate employees who are on the autism spectrum.
Companies that hire people with autism are required to step up and provide assistance because autism is legally considered a disability. Common issues are behavior and communication styles that can make work very challenging.
Sarah has worked very hard to set up her business, develop a marketing message, a web site and a marketing plan. She's smart, talented, and has worked in the field of autism for more than 20 years.
But then she started hitting brick wall after brick wall.
The first client she booked, cancelled the contract a few weeks before it was to start. A company that was having major communication issues with an autistic employee was not willing to do anything (except get very upset at him), yet failed to hire Sarah.
You might say that Sarah was having "success challenges" and in our meetings she was feeling very discouraged. After all, she had done all the right things, but people were not responding and the future of her business started to look bleak.
In our meeting a couple weeks ago we had a different kind of conversation.
I told her that doing more of what she was doing would not get her where she wanted to go. I explained that she needed to "shift success paradigms."
The old success paradigm of working hard, being professional, and persisting until you see success can be useful.
But it's also terribly flawed.
In the early days of my business, when I knew virtually nothing about business and marketing, I absorbed a lot of "success teachings" such as Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Brian Tracey and Anthony Robbins. I read lots of books and listened to tapes.
The problem with this whole approach is that it's very mechanistic. If you do ABC actions, the approach says, you'll get XYZ results. But can often feel like an uphill push.
And every time you don't get a client or fail to make enough money, you simply feel like crap and any self-worth you had goes right down the drain.
What good is a success philosophy that always make you feel like you're failing? It's no wonder that the great majority of self-employed people give up before seeing any substantial success.
So I told Sarah that she needed to shift her success paradigm from solely: "Work hard – Win/Lose" to, "Work – Serve/Contribute."
This is a much saner model of success. Your self-worth is not so tightly tied to personally winning or losing, but instead is based on making a difference to others. It is "other focused" instead of "self focused."
But does this really work? It seems that in all those success books many miss a very important element: Service.
In the famous book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill (published in 1937 and still in print), the word service is used 150 times, almost as many as success at 161. And the word plan trumps them both with 240 mentions.
You might sum up this success paradigm as:
"Plan for success by serving others."
That's what Hill talks about throughout his book, but I had missed that essential message years ago. It took me many more years to understand and apply it with great results.
In our meeting two weeks after this conversation, Sarah's whole attitude and demeanor has shifted dramatically. The reminder that embracing the paradigm of service had her look at her business in a completely new way.
She started to see that she could offer service through every conversation, every idea she shared and everything she wrote. And she was getting out there and feeling excited about her business again.
I told her she could also use the same paradigm when approaching new prospective clients. It didn't have to be about winning or losing them, but a matter of discovering ways she could serve them.
Look at your current paradigm of marketing and doing business. Could it use an upgrade?
Please check out Sarah's website here: http://www.nextlevelasdconsult.com