John asked me some great questions in a recent post. I’m going to answer him here.
First, I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone. I think your last two sentences sum up your comment plus give us something to think about as we move into a new decade. You asked: “Where is the balance? How do I make a living and still respect my community that I’m striving to develop?”
I love that you use the term respect because it is tops on my list in sales and marketing. Without respect for our clients, our self and the services and products we provide, we’re dead in the water. I know that you get that and I think the people who read this blog get it. Sadly, not everyone does but that just makes it easier for us to compete.
I give away a free download of Listen First – Sell Later for one primary reason. I want it to spread. I know for a fact that people who sell and market will benefit if they read it even if they don’t pay me. By giving it away it gives everyone a chance to read it. This is especially true for many people in foreign countries as it is only available in print in Europe and the U.K. right now.
Also, I found that when I made it easy for people to download a free copy of the eBook my print sales went up. Every author I have ever talked with tells me the same thing happened to them. If people like it they often want to own it. Even the Kindle version sells well and people can get the same thing for free.
One of my goals this year (they will be on here tomorrow) is to conduct a number of free webinars. I’ve also offered to help 3 start-ups pro bono. Why do I do that? Because for me that’s what I love doing. I want to help people the way people helped me in my early years in business. I’ve been at this for over 40 years now and I’ve had wonderful people mentor and help me. If doing things for free means I don’t make as much money as I used too, I am good with that because I am happier doing what I do than ever before.
My life changed tremendously between 1994 and 2004. In 94′ I went from being well off financially to starting all over again. And, when 9/11 happened I had to stop and take stock of the true purpose of my life. That’s when I decided (with my wife Joann’s support) that I would spend the rest of my life using the talents and experience I’ve gained to help other people do the same thing. That meant giving up a lot of financial income that I had rebuilt over the previous ten years.
For me it became all about giving back and the feeling of satisfaction I get from seeing someone find entrepreneurial or sales success. It is a lot of work. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder but I’ve never enjoyed anything so much in my life as these last five years.
There wasn’t any road map to follow. I bought all the books I could on new marketing and social media and more. I hired my own consultant to help guide me. I made new friends like Seth Godin and all the members of Triiibes which I was lucky enough to join from the start. I made plenty of mistakes but I have met more talented, authentic, honest and respectful people in this world of new marketing, Twitter, Facebook, etc., than I met during the entire time I would have been considered very successful based on my net worth.
My gut tells me that I am on the right path for myself for the rest of my life. And, I base my decisions on what I give away and what I sell by asking myself, “Does this feel like the right thing to do and is it in keeping with my life goals?”
You’re an experienced guy, John, and I know you use your own gut for making decisions too. We’d never have gotten this old if we didn’t! What is it that you want to do now? What’s your purpose for living? How can you best spread the word about how you can help people? It’s probably by building relationships with them, letting them know you care about them, helping them when they need help and one person at a time – making a difference.
You’re already made a difference in my life, John, and I know you’ll do the same for many others.