Hey, it’s been a while, Bob and I have been going through some stuff. This post is raw, and if you are offended by swearing or the thought of being angry at God scares you, do not read this post. Okay, you’ve been warned….
I will admit, the past few months have flat out sucked. It seems everything I do is a push up the hill.
You might be thinking with all my struggles that I missed God’s voice. That I’m going against his wishes. Thus the hardness of the struggle.
Here’s the funny thing, in the struggle I know it’s the direction he wants me pointed.
At the first part of the struggle my heart was filled with joy and hope. That quickly turned to sorrow, pain, misery, self-doubt and distrust of God. I pushed him away. I have felt like he’s led me down a path that is a retread of past struggles.
Why God do you take me down the seemingly same paths? Have I not learned these lessons already?
Then off in the distance I hear a voice. Do I see a man in the distance? Beckoning me to come closer? To keep going down the worn path?
I continue down this path and it comes to a bend in the path. The path before me continues up the hill, it is rocky but well worn. It looks like the way. But off to the left, I see the remnants of a path. It seems to go into a thicket with poison ivy and scrub.
I stand for what seems like a long time. Others pass by me on the path taking the rocky road up the hill, asking if I’m okay and encouraging me to continue on the way.
But there I stand. Listening…
Then I hear that call again. It comes from the unlikely path. I look around, no one else is there, it is just me and I hear the voice again.
“Come down the road less traveled.”
Others pass by.
The voice comes again.
I take the first steps, afraid of what will happen to me with the poison ivy, the brush and the thicket.
I move forward.
The path is hard to see and follow. Every few feet, I have to stop and listen for the voice. At times it seems like an eternity before the voice calls out and shows me the way. If only for a few feet.
Then I stop again… Each time listening for the voice. Sometimes seeing the man, waving me along the way.
When I stop and rest for the night, it seems like it’s the place to be. Then again up in the morning to go again.
Surely this path will lead to paradise, but it seems to lead me no where. At times I get angry at the voice and the man.
“Why doesn’t he just show me the way? Why do I have to keep struggling day after day, night after night. Just when things seem to get better, they seem to get worse. Am I hearing him correctly? Did I miss a turn in the ‘path’?”
My heart grows cold, cynical. I tempt myself by saying “There is no voice”. At times, I’ll go off the unmarked path only to find myself lost, or worse yet, on the rocky road up the hill.
I try the rocky road for a while. At first there seems to be success, but it is tiring. Then the voice whispers again.. ‘come this way’. A new hidden path shows up and off I go again.
This happens time and time again and it never seems to get better.
I feel like I’m in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, where the same thing plays over and over again and again.
Now my family is with me… they get frustrated with me. Am I hearing the voice correctly? Maybe, I should just get off the ‘path’.
Isn’t there a better path with benefits just over the other hill?
I still my heart and the voice says one simple word to me… “love”.
Along the path, others appear from nowhere. Some are cynical, others are dejected and beaten. Most just look at you, nod and join you on the path. We all hear the voice. We have those who love us who tell us we are crazy, but we stay on the journey.
When night comes and there is no food, no water, no shelter and no fire, we huddle together. Some laughing, some cursing… yet we all laugh and chuckle.
The journey continues. Some fall out, but most stay. Some are called off a path in a different direction and they go off to success, while the rest of us seem to struggle. Envy sets in.. our condition seems to get worse, but the voice is still there calling us forward.
Is this the life? What about our hopes, dreams and the deep faith. Surely God will reward us for our undying faith. Surely we won’t struggle forever in this condition. Certainly there will be a simple house, with a warm fire and food in the cupboard.
But the journey never seems to end, the voice never stops calling us forward and the conditions never seem to get better.
This is the life for many Christian Entrepreneurs.
You reach a point after 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, where you realize your dreams may never come true. Your hopes and dreams may be on the garbage heap of life. And you are not cool with that thought.
Your heart gets hard, you curse God. You tell him to fuck off and go to hell. Vearing off the path, only to come back to the path and group more humbled, more in love and laughing at your situation more and more.
This is the journey folks.
I don’t know if your entrepreneur journey will be better or worse. I just know it’s a journey and that the money in your bank account, the kind of car you drive doesn’t mean you didn’t hear God.
Maybe the path you are on is for the next generation. Maybe it’s for your children, for the lessons they’ll learn from watching you.
Maybe it’s for nobody but you and your relationship with God.
That after years of hurt, pain, suffering, misguided steps, that you will try and love again.
Have you ever seen fear based marketing?
This is easy to spot, because it uses things like; scarcity, fear of loss, missing out, fake deadlines and language that makes you think that if you don’t make this decision today, you are damned to burn in hell.
I won’t mention names of marketers who use this approach, but you’ve seen this method.
Then there is the direct opposite. This approach uses things such as; education, serving the customers needs, sharing information freely without expectation of sale.
Famous copywriters like: Gary Bencivenga, Ted Nicholas use this method. Marketers like Gary and Ted have been around for 30, to 50 years and have sold hundreds of millions of dollars in products and services.
I call it ‘love based marketing’.
Of the two groups, my marketing is more like that of Gary and Ted. There is a reason, which I will explain and it’s based on experience.
For years I was a hired gun, front of the room pitch man for a number of famous speakers. Traveling around the country, city after city, selling from the front of the room.
Usually you had 90 minutes, not a second more, to sell your stuff. You were graded based on your success rate of selling.
In those environments, I sold about $250 per person in the room.
However, when I did a half day or full day selling, I usually doubled or even tripled my dollars per head in the room. Because I was given more time to bond with the prospect. They could see I was real. Having their best interests in mind.
Furthermore, my return rate from full days was drastically lower than the 90 minute presentations.
At first, as a marketer, I fell into the trap of being a hype oriented type sales person. It didn’t matter if it was online or offline. My goal was to get you to buy and buy fast. I hammered my list with offer after offer, after offer. Using hype language. “Last Chance” offers.
In retrospect, this was a ‘scorched earth’ marketing process. In this method, you burn through your leads as quickly as possible. Throwing caution to the wind.
Then I started taking my time. I built a relationship with my list first. In many cases, you can’t buy anything from me until day 14 or 30. Just like Gary and Ted.
Guess what happened.
My sales steadily increased and my list has longer life.
I can sum up my process as simple as:
“Love is more powerful than fear in marketing.”
Love is the most powerful thing on earth. People long to be loved. They will move mountains to experience love.
When you, as a marketer, come at your clients with nothing but respect and love, when you truly care about them as business owners, you’ll see amazing changes in your business. Positive changes.
If you use FEAR in your selling, your customers won’t stick around for very long. They’ll see through the ruse. They realize the FEAR is being used to manipulate their response.
Granted, taking an approach of love, education and sharing, takes more time to experience sales results. In the end, it creates a better environment for you and your business. And your customers.
In end you get greater satisfaction and a more enjoyable business.
Have a great day,
PS> If you’d like to see how we’ve applied “LOVE” in our work with clients, check out our latest FREE Report on our main company site: WWW.CapstoneStrategicPartners.com Love is the main ingredient to our successful case studies and our latest white paper: How To Grow Your Revenues By 30% Or More Using The Customer Conversion System For Big Ticket E-Commerce.
Opportunity everywhere… Those were the words spoken by my oldest son, Andrew at 7 AM the day after Christmas. He came down the steps and saw we had just received 4 plus inches of snow during the night.
“What do you mean Andrew?”
“Well, it snowed last night and I know people will need to get their driveways shoveled.”
“How do you plan to shovel, we don’t have a snow shovel.”
“Hmmm, maybe I’ll ask Mr. Tom if I can use his shovel.”
After about 30 minutes and a breakfast, Andrew went next door to Mr. Tom and borrowed a shovel. Within a few moments I looked outside and my son was shoveling the snow off the driveway of our neighbors. They are in their late 60′s. A perfect target market for this endeavor.
In about 45 minutes, my son came back in the house with $20 in his pocket and a grin the size of Texas.
He warmed up a bit, then came into my office. We plotted out the other homes in the neighborhood who had older residents. Determining these homes were the best opportunity for him to earn money shoveling snow.
Our neighborhood has about a thousand kids. Of which 100 are in the 12 to 17 year old category. No one is out offering to shovel driveways for $10 or $20. Most are probably inside, staying warm, playing the wii or facebooking.
There is no doubt in my mind, that Andrew saw this snowfall as heaven sent. A divine opportunity to earn some cash for his summer scout trip to the Northern Tier.
He didn’t futz around, come up with excuses or figure out how not to get a job. He saw and opportunity, figured out how to get his hands on a shovel and went out knocking on doors.
Not really hard, but yet don’t we make things way more difficult than they need to be in business? Especially as a Christian?
My son didn’t fast, pray, seek God as if this was the right opportunity. He didn’t consult with his Bible Study group or seek the scriptures to see if there was a reference to snow, money and shoveling.
He just saw an opportunity.
If you are a business owner, or contemplating being a business owner, my I suggest you operate in the same fashion. There is all around you, opportunities galore. Just open your eyes and get after the abundance around you.
Other kids in the neighborhood saw snow, my son saw a money making opportunity. Into which category would you fall into?