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Listening, Learning, and Some Unlearning Too

Everyone seems to be making major life changes lately. It’s only natural that during a pandemic of this scope and scale, we realign our priorities. We focus on what’s important to us. If there’s anything positive to come out of the past 10 months, it’s this.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking myself. Trying to do more listening, more learning, and more unlearning. What’s my contribution? What can I do that’s worthwhile in moving the culture forward?

The results is that I’ve amended my focus a bit in the podcast. Here’s a little background on why. My contention is that in today’s world, it will be impossible to create positive change without a better and clearer expression of society’s best ideas. In other words, better marketing. Of course, I mean the type of marketing that I’ve talked about in 180+ episodes — done with empathy and respect for the recipient. …


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We will soon be rid of Trump. But not Trumpism.

Well, now we know.

I don’t just mean the results of this election.

Now we also know a little bit more about the state of our culture. And it’s not great.

Turnout was supposed to be the solution, but in actuality it revealed that 70M people approve of the past 4 years… and somehow, inexplicably… wanted more of it.

Let’s not dwell on why that might be, others can unpack this better than I can. But needless to say — this realization is incredibly disappointing.

It means that we have a lot of work to do. We got rid of Trump. …


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From Portfolio to Platform to Preparing Your Pitch

In the publishing world, most agents won’t even consider a prospective author without an established platform. Same goes for the music industry. Without a platform, you are simply not worth the risk to them. So let’s put the work in and get established — before we think about attracting an agent.

This might come as good news. It means that you can stop spending all your time sending emails, pitching, and cold calling. Unless you have a proven platform and an established presence, this will likely be wasted effort anyway. …


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Getting Serious About Marketing Your Creative Work

You love what you do. It’s your passion. You’ve devoted every waking moment to your craft — be it writing, music, or visual art. You find yourself thinking about it all the time, capturing ideas, sketching concepts, and planning projects. It’s invigorating. In some ways, you may feel like it chose you — not the other way around. You can’t imagine your life with your creative pursuit.

Because you work on it every day, go ahead and admit it. You’ve gotten good. You are practiced, you know the techniques, and you understand the nuances. You’ve made all the mistakes, and your work is better for it. …


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Breaking Down the Myths that Hold Us Back

There’s a myth that creativity and business don’t mix. That creatives can’t be good at business, and that business can’t be creative. I think that the opposite is true:

  • It’s never been more important to bring creativity into business.
  • There’s never been a better time to make creativity into a business.

In running my own business, I’ve been very stubborn about this. Conventional wisdom says to pick one customer type. I have two: Entrepreneurs and writers. But to me, they are one type. Small business owners and creatives are the same — just two sides of the same coin. …


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Going Against the Grain to Find Success in Building Your Business

There are a set of new business principles that fly in the face of the lessons I learned when I was in the corporate world. These principles are often relegated to the back row, because conventional wisdom cements the status quo every day.

Business is still about relationships — that will never change. However, the way we form those relationships, nurture them, and manage them continues to evolve quickly. The way we communicate is vastly different now, and it’s having a massive impact on customer expectations.

This is a huge advantage for small businesses. But it requires a mindset shift. …


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Counterintuitive Strategies for Attracting Customers and Earning Their Business

Marketing is different now. This is great news for smaller players like you and me. The old “spray and pray” model of marketing never fit well with us anyway — it was expensive and ineffective.

There’s a good reason that traditional marketing often feels “icky” to small business owners, solo entrepreneurs, authors, and other creatives. When you are your brand, you don’t want to be seen as a self-promoter. You want to get closer to your customers, not repel them with pushy, aggressive tactics.

Soft-touch marketing is the answer — not only does it feel better, but in light of today’s consumer behavior, it’s also more effective too. But it requires a mindset shift, and that we unlearn some of the conventional wisdom about marketing. For instance, the fact that marketing is no longer a campaign — it’s an ongoing set of relationship-building activities. …


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Why You Should Support the ACLU

Anyone who has watched any sport with me knows that I love the defensive game. It doesn’t matter what sport — it’s fascinating to me. From the pitcher’s mound in baseball to incredible catches by Jackie Bradley Jr. out in center field, I love it. From Kevin Garnett barking orders in the low post to a simple weak side shift off the pick and roll, I love it.

Yes, you need to produce runs, hit your jumpers, score goals. No offense, no victory. But the defense sets the tone. …


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Counterintuitive Lessons from Mentors and Mistakes

The customer relationship is different now. Consumers have a lot more information at their fingertips. The way they communicate has changed. Their expectations have increased. In short, they have more power.

While this might seem scary to some businesses, I would argue that as small business owners, this puts us in a better position than larger, more established companies. We have the chance to recognize their new power and use it to get closer to our customers. We have the opportunity to treat customers like partners instead, which changes the dynamic entirely.

This requires a mindset shift from traditional ways of doing business, however. When I started my own business, I had to unlearn a lot of the core tenets of the corporate world. I held some of these beliefs tightly, with good reason — they worked. However, repeated mistakes in key areas started to overpower my stubbornness and convince me otherwise. …


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Marketing is more than just creating awareness about your business. If it were that simple, then all you would need to do is to generate attention in order to create success.

Your business exists to solve a problem. In order for you to find and connect with customers, there are two elements of awareness that are really important to the equation:

  1. Does the customer know that they have this particular problem?
  2. Does the customer know that your business can solve this problem?

Most businesses go straight to the second point — and the result often amounts to “shouting” about your business to an audience that doesn’t care. …

About

Michael Boezi

Writer, Educator, Musician. Trying to listen more than I speak. http://mboezi.com/now

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