For most solopreneurs, marketing and sales are tough. By definition a solopreneur hates working with other people. The idea that you now have to go out, contact them, interact and convince them of your worth is truly painful. And by go out, I mean actually leaving your shop or computer and getting out there or at least call them. Yes, you can do a lot with social media and online marketing, but real marketing and sales often requires you to get out of your comfort zone. What is a solopreneur to do?
One option is to hire someone. Either an employee or some sort of agency. This will be even more painful because you tend to hire the first person you interview just to get it over with! The results are usually awful and then you have the joy of firing them. Of course, if you’re truly terrified of doing any marketing/sales this might be your only option but I recommend what’s behind door number two. Do it yourself – in little bits.
By “doing it yourself” I mean making the calls, handing out the flyers, talking to the possible partners, visiting their stores, etc. By “little bits” I mean doing some every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes to start. Then grow from there. Particularly if you’re making cold calls or interacting with people you’ve never met before, it’s usually best to do it in small increments at the start. You learn firsthand what customers/partners think of your product/services. You understand how long or short these things take. Even if you decide to hire someone later on, at least you now know what they will go through and can adjust your expectations accordingly.
Doing it in short, small increments at the start gets you going. The first can be painful, the second, oddly enough, usually worse. Somewhere in those first five or ten interactions someone will either be rude, most will not take your call or show any interest at all. However, if you usually do it in groups of ten, within those ten there will be a ray of light. Someone will listen and provide a comment. They will take your flyer. Ask a question. Express an interest. That’s pretty good.
The process is all about toughening you up. Forcing you to understand all parts of your business. Shaka Zulu was the king of the Zulus in the 1800’s. He toughened his soldiers and their feet by forbidding them to wear sandals and by dancing/stomping around all day on the thorny ground of Southern Africa. In battle, this increased their mobility dramatically and he built an empire based on this slow, incremental, toughening of his forces. Marketing and sales are like that. By doing something every day and toughening yourself up, you will become a true marketing warrior.