Warning: This post is pretty raw. I hope and pray it is taken the way it’s intended.
Last week, my family received the shocking news that a friend of ours had passed away in a car accident while at work. He was only 24.
Without going into too much detail about that incident (that’s better left to other forums), it got me thinking quite a bit.
Why him? He was loved by so many people, and had a bright future ahead of him. Why him?
While I listened to the stories of his co-workers, sister, fiancé, and best friend, I heard what an amazing repertoire of memories he left behind. Every single one of them came with a smile, laugh, and gratitude for his positive influence.
And – as is so common with all major life events that happen so suddenly – it got me thinking… What will people say about me at my funeral?
Pretty deep, right? It brings a flood of tears to my eyes just to write that.
But it’s important to take a step back and reflect, because without learning form a tragic situation and taking an example from the positive people in our lives, how are we ever going to be happy with the answer to that response?
What’s this all about?
This is a marketing blog. It is a place where I share ideas on how to promote your business online, stand out from the crowd, and earn some money.
Full disclosure: Going back to this marketing blog, and writing for my clients was a struggle in the wake of the death of a friend. Something just didn’t seem right. Something tugged at my heart wondering, “Is this where I’m supposed to be?”
Often marketers and salesmen are seen as money sucking, greedy bastards who will do whatever it takes to earn an extra buck. We’re vilified in some circles. We’re viewed as the selfish scum with not a lot to offer.
I am passionate about what I do, and disagree with the above statements, but still… is that how I want to be remembered? No.
With that realization, I thought more deeply about my work, and about the work of businessmen (and women).
The goal, with every piece of copy I write, is to sell something. Whether it’s a new skincare product, software application, or service, I write to sell. For many copywriters and marketers, that’s where it ends.
Refreshing my marketing mindset
I admit it. When I first started out, I was eager to earn money and prove to my family that I could succeed. I took on any and every project that landed on my desk. I worked hard to exceed client expectations.
I quickly realized that all that brought me was projects where my only goal was to help a client sell more of something. I was burnt out on the lack of enthusiasm I had for some client’s work. Sometimes, I didn’t care about the product. Sometimes, I didn’t even think it was that great.
Not only does that make it much harder to sell, but it also made me disingenuous. How disgusting.
So disgusting in fact, that even prior to this tragedy, I vowed to myself to never do that again. I think you should do the same in your business.
Apathy in business is toxic. It breeds mediocrity, and dissolves the value of our work.
Now, I say no when a product I don’t believe in comes through my virtual doors. I will tell a client openly and honestly how I feel her product can improve if I see potential.
My goal with starting this marketing company was never to be disingenuous, as so many people perceive marketers to be. My goal is, and always has been, to help real people with real ideas bring real value to the world.
That value has to be found somewhere. I find satisfaction, and define my success in bringing spectacularly valuable products to the forefront so people who need them can find them.
As entrepreneurs, it’s critical to never lose sight of the bigger picture. It shouldn’t take a tragic life event to gain that perspective, but sometimes it does. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind. It’s so easy to get lost in making the next buck. It’s so easy to get infatuated with hearing the cha-ching of the virtual register.
When it’s all said and done, no matter when that day comes, we need to be proud of the business we build. It’s our legacy. But bigger than that, we need to be proud of the work we did to help others have a little bit better of a time here on earth.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Does your business do something (anything) to improve the lives of your customers and clients? If not, it might be time to rethink your approach.