can't dream it can't have it

Dreams are a vital component of success for any entrepreneur. They are not trivial. They are essential.

If you can’t dream it, you can’t have it. You MUST have dreams if you are going to succeed.

When I was pondering the idea of starting my own business, I needed to concretize my dreams. I wanted a tangible reminder of WHY I would take the risk of…

No steady paycheck.

No health insurance.

No guaranteed success.

And a 99% failure rate in the first 5 years.

Dreams are what kept me moving forward.

Some people like cars. Others spend a lot on experiences. Stuff. Me? I have a soft spot for dwelling spaces.

Houses. Coffee shops. Hotels. Work spaces. If you can dwell in it, I want it to be nice. The more stars the better. The higher the class, the bigger the smile.

Always have.

Not sure why. (Although it probably explains my life-long aversion to camping.) It seems to be part of my make-up.

As I mentioned…when I was starting Think Digital I wanted a tangible token of what life could be like when the business grew. I needed something I could sink my teeth into.

One of those “tokens” was having a nice house.

At the time, we had a very nice starter home. It was a great house for the first few years of our family. But it left something to be desired.

To keep my eye on the prize, I used to drive through neighborhoods with houses WAY more expensive than mine.

And dream.

I’d look at the listings online. Take a peek and get a sense of what features I wanted in a future house.

I’d feel hope rise up in me. Excitement. Anticipation. It was an amazing way to fuel one of my dreams.

I’d even go to an open house on occasion and take my wife with me.

I wanted to practice being in those houses. I wanted to know what it felt like. I couldn’t afford any of them now…but knew I would be able to in the future.

Just last night I went driving again. I picked a neighborhood WELL outside of my price range. Like, comically out of my price range. It’s good to never stop dreaming. To remember there’s always a new place to get to–literally and figuratively.

I do this stuff when things are going good and not so good. ESPECIALLY when they’re not going good. It’s so easy to get discouraged as an entrepreneur. Dreams keep us from chucking it all and trading our destiny for a job in a cube.

World peace. Donating to your church or favorite nonprofit. Getting out of debt. Those are all great dreams. But I find the more concrete you can make them, the easier they are to attain.

Remember…if you can’t dream it you can’t have it.

You’ve got content dying on the vine.

I’ve done my research on content, and I’ve found a very common theme. So common, I’m confident in saying it’s a fact: too much created content goes unread, unpromoted, even unpublished.

We all need to do something with all of that content that we have written and produced. It’s just sitting there. Why haven’t you done something with it?

I’m not just talking about digital marketing. Digital marketing is so much more than sending out tweets. As much as I try to avoid this terminology, it really is sharing your story in an online format. It is scaling the ability to tell your story. 

Like with most things at Think Digital, this concept is birthed out of a personal pain point that I have experienced. 

We’ve touched on this before, but it’s so crucial: I realized that I had ideas that were good and were helpful, that were not getting out there. The solution? Utilizing others.

Benefits of Hiring People

Employing others doesn’t always mean hiring someone internally to get the job done. Often it looks like finding a reputable company that provides a done-for-you service. Think Digital not only provides done-for-you services; we also utilize them!

My Experience

Maybe my biggest example is the Think Digital Podcast. Although it’s not being produced currently, it created a strong brand connection with people. I still have people tweeting me saying they miss hearing me on the podcast, even though I haven’t done one in over a month. 

If our team was bigger, if I had the ability to unload some of the day to day that I have to do, I would continue with the podcast. It helped generate revenue. It was sponsored. You cannot buy that type of loyalty.

As wonderful and important a part of Think Digital the podcast was, I found myself stretched too thin to record and produce it. So I hired Don’t Panic to do the editing and producing and even part of promoting for me.

It made for a better and much more frequent product, which lead to better returns. That is why I advocate for done-for-you services.

It’s also why Think Digital provides these services. Below are three examples of successful implementation of our work!

Startup Client

One of our clients runs a startup. He’s busy making decisions each and every day to extend the life of his startup as he leads to his goal of an acquisition. One of the things he needs to do but doesn’t have time to is write blog content for his personal blog and email list.

Think Digital is filling that void for him. We take the ideas in his head and form them into content. It’s his bricks, our mortar. Essentially, the concrete ingredients are all him; we just concretize it.

He benefits by getting increased exposure so that when his business is acquired, he has a platform that has been nurtured for years with content. He won’t be starting from scratch. Entrepreneurs aren’t the only one’s we’ve helped, however.

Organization Experience

We’ve worked with Compassion International for the last year and a half. One of our main focuses has been creating content that attracted pastors and then nurturing those relationships that we started through content.

Through content marketing strategy, we have been able to initiate, nurture, and strengthen those relationships to the point where pastors “converted” into Compassion International partners. By utilizing Think Digital in full capacity, our done-for-you services allowed us to bring viable leads to Compassion.

Book Launch

Think Digital had the opportunity to work with Dave and Jon Ferguson for their recent book launch. We got to know them as authors. We got to know their team. We worked with them to launch their book to success.

We coordinated their launch team and gave that team content to spread the word. We directed those efforts and provided social media support before, during, and after launch day.

The result? They were numbers one AND two ebook and paper book in their category on the charts. I did not even know you could do that!

Our done-for-you services leveraged our network to get that book into the hands of as many people as possible.

 

We Help People Share What Matters Most

Maybe you have a book you’re gearing up to launch. Or maybe it’s your organization or personal brand that needs growth. Whatever your situation, if you need to convert leads and share your story online, Think Digital is here for you.

We have focused our efforts on providing the support, knowledge, and effort you are looking for to make your content work for you. You can learn more here; we would be happy to work with you!

 

Gary Vaynerchuck has said, “Marketers ruin everything” and he’s completely right.

I want to market differently. I want to think differently about marketing. I don’t want to market out of manipulation, but rather out of inspiration.

Manipulative Marketing

The reality is, I have manipulated people to my desired end through marketing. As a marketer, I know the tricks, the hacks, the buttons to push to get people to do what you want them to do.

I’ve seen it work and I feel dirty afterwards. I can only imagine what someone on the other side of the equation feels like.

Thankfully, my conscience kicked in a while back and I’ve been looking at marketing through a whole new lens. That lens is marketing through inspiration.

Perfect Marketing

Marketing is essentially understanding people’s pain points and then providing a solution to solve that person’s pain. When marketing is manipulative, that looks like exploitation. When it’s perfect, it’s through inspiration.

I just had an experience that illustrates this in action. The other day I needed to clean my grill. I didn’t want to use anything harsh or corrosive but my grill brush wasn’t cutting it so I wanted to find a grill cleaner. With my wife and little ones, I didn’t want to use harsh chemicals so that we wouldn’t ingest any.

I was looking for a safe, non-toxic grill cleaner and I found one! It’s safe; it’s citrus-based. The labeling on the package basically says “Hey, if you’ve ever been concerned about using harsh chemicals on your grill, try us out!” I did, and it worked!

It was perfect marketing. Because they understood that as a dad, I want to make sure I’m not putting anything unsafe on a grill that will cook food my kids and wife will be eating. Many companies focus on the first pain point only; needing a clean grill. This one went further and was straightforward; inspired. They nailed it. 

The pain point was: I had a dirty grill. The deeper pain point was: I have a family and I want to protect them. This product met both of those pain points without fear mongering.

That is perfect marketing.

Another example: Kerry needed to transfer over a pension plan from when she was in the working world. We’ve been using Vanguard for a year or so. We called them up, and within 30 seconds we got a real person who walked us through the entire process.

Turns out they’ve got a concierge service that exclusively handles transferring pensions and IRAs from one entity to another. The guy was smart, he was sharp, he was personable. He got the job done.

The pain point was: it’s a drag calling up customer service lines and getting people who don’t give a hoot about you or your business. They’re just mindless cube-dwellers. Everyone knows that is a hassle!

Vanguard met the pain point by providing a very thoughtful, personable human being that made the process from transferring her pension way easier. It’s perfect marketing from start to finish.

The concierge service has made us huge fans of Vanguard. So now, when we have money to invest for our future, that is where we are going to go.

Inspiring Instead of Manipulating

As I said earlier, I’m trying to figure out how to inspire people to take action instead of manipulate them. There’s a huge difference between the two: one serves me. That’s manipulation. The other serves clients. That’s inspiration.

Manipulation is easy. Inspiration is difficult. But frankly, if I can’t inspire people to take action, then I have no business being in business. If I have to manipulate people into buying my products or services, it might work for a short time, but I won’t be in business very long. 

So, I’ve really started looking at how I market. Everything from webinars to email marketing to in-person to pitch phone calls. I’ve been reevaluating from top to bottom.

The differences are already noticeable.While it takes longer to make the sale when you inspire, there is a lasting impact. When you DO inspire, you keep people around way longer.

With an inspiration you’ve gained their trust. With manipulation you’ve capitalized on their fears.