If you run your own business and can’t be bothered with LinkedIn, Facebook, Insta et all, it’s probably because you’re still thinking of them as social channels you need to find time to update, instead of a worldwide networking portal

GOTTA be honest…I’d heard the same, sad story before. The owner of a small, one-man-band business was struggling. Cashflow wasn’t happening. His skills were’t being utilised, let alone paid for. He was juggling yet another set of bills and, horror of horrors, his car needed a shedload of work doing to it to get through MOT.

This guy was talented, has a service that people would willingly pay for AND needed, he was a great people person and he loved doing his work. He should have been raking it in, but the clients weren’t materialising.

By the time he called me, he was at his wits’ end. We’d been coaching together, on and off, for months. He’d dropped most of his in-person business networking and wasn’t using social media channels anywhere near as much as he needed to to get the word out.

Every time we met, his cashflow issues always turned up, like the proverbial bad penny. Oh, if only he had some bad pennies — any pennies — in his pockets! We’d discuss business strategy, work everthing out, map how the ‘funnels’ would work, where his ideal clients hung out, how to get his messaging right and how to get in front of them.

Because of his time constraints — and cashflow challenges — he wasn’t getting out and about to spread the word that much, so we needed to use the online channels as much as possible in order to build his brand, share his message, grow his tribe and create clients.

Each time, we’d look at his ideas and how to breathe new life into them, as well as looking at the genuine potential to generate revenue, and he’d leave our meeting with bright eyes, fired up and ready to get cracking on making his business fly.

Nothing happening here. Move along. Nothing to see.

Time would pass. I’d notice I wasn’t seeing him online and I’d wonder what was happening. Sometimes I’d drop him a line: “Hey Frank, just checking in. How’s business? I haven’t been seeing you online much and you know you need to get visible to create demand for your new product, right?”

“Yeah,” the reply would always come, “I know I need to get around to it. I will. I’ve scheduled some time in next week.”

Of course, next week would come and go. No Frank. Not a sign of Frank’s business.

This time, when the call came, I could hear Frank was close to tears. He really was in a pickle. Despite having the ability to create clients and generate income at his fingertips, he’d done too little, too late.

Outside of the people he saw at occasional networking events, nobody really knew much about his offering. Front of mind awareness with his potential customers just didn’t exist. Frank was fishing in a very small pool and neglecting to cast his net wider, either through getting out and there and creating conversations in person OR creating conversations online.

It’s one thing having a map and getting excited at the idea of abundance in all areas of life, but quite another to actually execute those plans.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how Frank would dig himself out of this one. It’s one thing having a map and getting excited at the idea of abundance in all areas of life, but quite another to actually execute those plans.

Are you ready for some home truths?

I asked Frank how honest he wanted me to be, waited for his buy-in and then gave it to him as kindly, and firmly, as I could.

“Frank, you know how much I believe in you, right?”

“Yes, Taz, I know.”

“Well, sooner or later, this was going to happen. You have so much potential to earn AND make a positive impact with your business, but you’re just not deploying the activity you need to make it happen. You’re only doing enough to convince yourself you’re doing something, and that’s nowhere near the effort you need to put in to make this business fly.”

And that’s when Frank hit me with the kicker.

“I know, I get that. I just don’t see how using social media will make any difference.”

Gadzooks! Seriously? After all this time and all this effort, Frank had finally admitted what was going on. He wasn’t putting in the work because he didn’t believe it was worth his time.

I spun it back to him another way: “Frank, if you’re seeing social media activity as just another annoying fly to swat away from your ‘to do’ list, it’s no wonder you’re struggling. I think you need to see it in a different light.”

Frank was interested. We’d talked about this a gazillion and one ways before, but this time it seemed his ears really were open. It’s funny how a proper cashflow panic can open your eyes to ideas you created blindness around before.

“Frank, you need to stop thinking you need to post something on Facebook, or LinkedIn, and start seeing it as networking.”

“Networking?”

“Yeah, networking. Think about it — you’ve turned your in-person networking right down and, because of your cashflow challenges, you’ve been networking at really low-cost events, or free events. You know why people go to those events, Frank?”

“Tell me.”

“Because they have no f*cking money!”

I could hear the penny drop. It made a beautiful sound.

If you’re not going to get off your ass and get out there to meet new people and spread your message, you need to network in a different way. You need to see your relevant social media channels as networking events.

“Frank, if you’re not going to get off your ass and get out there to meet new people and spread your message, you need to network in a different way.

“You need to see your relevant social media channels as networking events — ones where people from all walks of life hang out, including those who have a very real need for your products and services AND the available funds to spend on them.”

Get your hands on the wheel!

We chatted some more. Frank realised he’d been dropping the ball and not doing enough. Social media isn’t about dropping a post about an event or product and waiting for the sales to flow in. Face to face networking isn’t about that either. It’s about people. It’s about building relationships. It’s about sharing your expertise with the world and building trust so that people will choose YOU when they’re ready.

And, yeah, as well as all those soft skills, it’s about CREATING clients. Not ‘getting’ them or ‘attracting’ them, but actually CREATING them, through conversations and relevant content.

As I said to Frank, just dropping the odd post and telling yourself you’re being proactive is a bit like driving without using your hands: your foot might be on the accelerator, but if you don’t have your hands on the wheels as well, you’re likely to crash and burn.

Please, take my money!

I also told Frank that about 90% of my clients come via social media. That might be a conservative estimate. I don’t do cold-calls or sales pitches and, yet, I don’t struggle to find clients. Nine times out of ten, they contact me and ask if I’ll be willing to work with them.

I don’t know if Frank really will start doing the work he needs to get his business back on track, but I really hope he will. This world needs what he has to offer, and Frank really needs the income he has the very real potential to generate.

So, if this is ringing bells with you, if you’ve been seeing social media as yet another distraction you don’t have time for, try seeing it as networking instead. It doesn’t matter how amazing your products and services are if nobody knows about them!

Until next time,

#UnleashYourAwesome,

Taz

x

PS: In case you’re wondering, that’s not Frank in the picture. Well, it’s not THE Frank. He’s just a fella from the internet. I’ve no idea if he’s called Frank. 😀


Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.

Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.

She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.

Find her on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Insta.