Years ago, when I was a health coach and really hungry for clients, my friend and fellow coach (now husband Drew) told me a story about how a colleague filled her practice.
It was when the film, ”What the Bleep Do You Know?” hit theaters and they were packing them in.
His colleague, he told me, specialized in energy clearing and her focus matched up well with the film’s message.
So she made up a flyer and then stood outside of the theater and waited for the movie-goers.
As they came out of the theater doors and onto the street, full of excitement about what they learned, she handed everyone a flyer that would take it.
Drew went on to tell me how she landed a whole bunch of clients.
I was totally impressed and absolutely terrified by the idea.
I mean, the thought of doing this myself made me start to sweat.
All signs were telling me that THIS was not the idea for ME.
As it was, networking was a bit of a holy hell for me (still is) unless I can set up an intimate, one-on-one coffee date.
But hey, I was kinda desperate to get clients and thought maybe this could change things.
You know, like hoping the “next perfect diet” or latest super food will fix your weight issues.
And well, Drew’s words kept ringing in my ears: “It’s a great idea! It’s easy! You should do it!”
He’s so smart and he probably knows better than me.
So here’s what I did…
My health coaching business was called “Wild Woman Wellness” and it was focused on women’s health.
Eve Ensler, of the Vagina Monologues fame, had a new, one-woman show that was playing in New York City.
Perfect! I thought. Those ladies are going to leave that theater ready to think about their body and their self-care in a whole different way. They’re going to be ready to hire ME!
So I bought a ticket to the show and planned to attend ALL by my lonesome. (Which by the way, was WAY out of my comfort zone too.)
I enjoyed the show enough, but really, I was just so freakin’ nervous about the hot pink flyers I had in my bag and how was I going to manage to get out of the theater in time to greet everyone and hand them my flyer. AND, not get in trouble. (Oh, my God. My inner “good girl” was freaking out about this too.)
When the show ended, I scurried outside and then reached into my bag to hand out the flyers.
As the ladies came out, I started saying “Hi, here you go!” and handing out flyers left and right.
On the inside I was totally flipping out. I hated how this felt. It was terrifying, awful and kind of humiliating to me.
Especially since most New Yorkers aren’t so keen to be tapped on the shoulder by a stranger and handed a flyer.
Many said no, some were kind enough to take one. I’m sure it didn’t help that I probably had a pained, uncomfortable look on my face.
The best part?? Oh, you’re going to love this.
In addition to being a health coach, I had gone back to school for a dietician degree.
By day I attended classes and kept my private practice and holistic point of view a secret (it was made clear to me that it wasn’t cool.)
So as I turned to give another woman my flyer, this time she stopped me cold and said “what’s this?” in an unmistakable voice.
Oh Fuuuuuddddgggge! It’s one of my professors!!! No joke.
In fact, it was the sharpest and most current one of the bunch. The one that kinda scared me with her “togetherness.”
I mumbled something in reply, pulled my hat down even more and quickly turned away.
I don’t know what I was thinking, I mean, my name was all over the flyer.
I just hoped that since I had completed her class the prior semester, and she was one of those UBER busy over-achievers, she wouldn’t remember me. (Yeah, right.)
I stuffed my flyers back in my bag and immediately headed home, tail between my legs.
I felt defeated and pretty stupid. And I spent the next hour on the Metro North train ride home berating myself.
I was ashamed at having put SO much effort into this and obviously failed. Another idea that failed. Again.
You would think I would have given up after this. Oh noooo! (I was of the mind that this is what it takes to be successful. You just keep at it no matter what!)
It gets worse.
I went on to hire a very qooky lady to hand out flyers for me. I still wasn’t convinced this idea wasn’t a fit for me! I’ll just outsource this!
Seemed like a great solution, right?
This woman was really weird. I don’t know why I hired her. She seemed to know what she was talking about and actually did this for other theatre companies.
I guess I just kept hanging on to this being a great idea and that it worked for someone else, and it had to work for me too.
She was so odd that a few people who received my flyer wrote me about it. More out of perplexion than interest, really.
So how many clients did I attract from this brilliant idea?
Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Was it a bad idea? No.
Was it an idea that was in alignment with my strengths, my personal preferences, my style and my vision of success?
I bet you can relate in some way.
How many times have you heard that “you should ENTER PUSH HARDER/WORK HARDER STRATEGY HERE” in your business or practice?
How many times have you gone through with a marketing tactic or program idea, because it just looked so damn good on paper?
How many times have you implemented an idea that you already knew, in your bones, wasn’t for you?
How many times did you hope and pray that the NEXT idea would be THE idea that lifted off your practice into the stratosphere?
This is just ONE of the stories I have of trying this and that in my practice, only to result in depletion, a degrading feeling and bewilderment as to why it didn’t work.
And here’s what I know for sure, 10 + years later.
There are countless ways to start a business, grow a business and make money doing what you love.
And everyone and your neighbor has another idea for you too.
Every marketer and business coach, myself included, has 5, 6 and 7 figure ideas for you.
None of it will work unless it’s in alignment with YOU.
None of it will work unless it fits who you are, your personal preferences, your strengths, your style, your energy and your authentic voice.
Everything else is like trying to diet your way to success; shoving copious amounts of magical super foods down your throat instead of finding your version of a well-rounded, healthy diet that makes you feel great.
As you enter the New Year, remember that there’s no ONE right way and there is no secret to success.
Remember that you can create YOUR version of success.
Remember that you can leave the hype marketing behind and do things more quietly, more authentically, more YOU, and still be effective. (I’m living proof of that!)
Remember that you can design your business to make you feel good rather than tight, anxious and about pushing harder.
You can have it your way.
Happy New Year!
PS – Hey, do you know someone who wants to write a book for their business? Me and my husband are on a mission to help coaches, consultants and practitioners do just that. Come see for yourself at http://bookin90days.com. We’re giving away free copies of our book that shows you how to do it.