Hold No Ground Solid

It’s so easy to get set in our thinking. I spent 2013 working hard on creating courses, and paid a little less attention to my media efforts. I’ve also started work on some rebranding efforts. All of it gives you and I a lot to think about.2013-07-18 10.21.35

What In Your Plans Are You Holding As Solid?

For all of 2013, most of my business has come from offering courses to help people grow their businesses. Some are about blogging. Others are about productivity. Others are about building out a better digital channel for marketing and business-making. Zero are about “social media.” Most people still think of me as a “social media” guy, which is irksome, but whatever. It’s a label others can’t seem to shake from me.

But even as that was bugging me, I realized that I was focused almost entirely on my course work and also my newsletter, but hadn’t really paid as much attention to the media property that got me here in the first place. My sharing posts and ideas with you that help YOU grow is what earned your attention in the first place, and because I was working so hard on the courses, I really wasn’t giving that as much thought and not nearly the attention it deserved.

I was holding my courses as “solid ground” and was letting my future be decided based on that always being so. Meanwhile, my media efforts are every bit as important (maybe more so), and as such, I’m on track to release something really good in August and put a lot of effort into some next steps on helping build your future business curriculum so I can help you succeed even more.

What are YOU holding as solid right now?

What Would Happen If Something Solid Went Away?

I think about this question more and more, but do you? I once consulted with a celebrity who had a real problem. His telemarketing business was pretty much drying up, and that was his primary (almost only) sales channel. He needed to develop his digital channel but hadn’t put any effort in that direction. Further, he didn’t have the first clue how to ramp it up, and because revenue was suddenly plummeting fast, he needed results that weren’t realistic to the medium.

What’s your primary business-gaining method? What would happen if that went away? What’s your primary revenue-generator? What would happen if that went away?

That’s a really tricky question to deal with, but it might also help you be in a better position to work smarter. If you act as if the best and most “solid” elements of your business might go away or be rendered useless to you, how would you change? What would have to happen? Does this information help you better consider your strategy?

Would love your take.

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  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Excellent point, Chris. All of us have a tent pole that we treat as a given. But if that pole disintegrated, what would we do? Especially valid given that many businesspeople today have built “solid” online things on rented land. If Facebook went away, if Twitter faded from prominence, if WordPress disappeared for some reason….what then?

    Great stuff as always, and a real thought starter. Thanks for writing this.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      True, sir. I did it a few times in social and then I stopped. I lost a lot of money on something i built atop an email platform. Not twice.

  • http://pjrvs.com/ Paul Jarvis

    These are all great points. I’ve always been a fan of not having all my eggs in one basket (and not just because I’m vegan!). I like having varied income streams, and even in single income streams (for service based stuff) having more than one “main” client. that way if they go away or the stream goes away, I’m not 100% high and dry.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Best advice I ever got in that regard: never let one client make up more than 15% of your income.

  • http://raulcolon.net/ Raul Colon

    I finally decided I had to make an investment at a very complicated time financially to let go of the only small portion of ground I had which kept on slipping away from me.

    I still don’t know how you produce and create so much, travel and do all the great things you know.

    Does who now you a little bit better they understand why you shifted. I really think that what got you where you are is being ahead of the game.

    When people swarmed into a space they call “Social Media” you are creating paths towards something new. That is admirable and maybe that is the story you need to continue to tell. But who am I to tell you what to do.

    On the other side I do miss these posts where I use to get insight and you shared your knowledge. But then again I am only thinking of myself like many others who might complain your not sharing enough.

    A big hug hermano!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      You can learn social media from anyone. My next role is teaching you to get more customers and keep the ones you love, etc.

      • http://raulcolon.net/ Raul Colon

        I believe you have taught me a lot of that with the help of our pal Rob Hatch… It has been a balance on executing on it. Thankfully I think I am getting there.

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    That’s a constant fear I always have as someone that works full time for a company whose only product is based on Facebook. I’ve seen many before crash when FB makes a change that the app can’t handle or keep up with. So it’s always in the back of my mind.

    But I’m reminded of a saying from the old show Growing Pains. I’ll never forget the advice given by good ole Kirk Cameron (and this isn’t verbatim but only what I can remember from 20 years ago!)

    “Why have something to fall back on, because then it’s too easy to just fall back”.

    I guess I’ve always lived by that mentality. Do what you’re doing with 100% effort and stop worrying about whether or not it will fail or succeed.

    Where I often fail is looking for the “next” thing and not focusing enough on the present and giving it the attention it deserves.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Smart point in many ways. Scary in others. Don’t plan and you’ll stay committed. Lose that gig and start with zero velocity.

      • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

        Yep.. Tough balance and it happened to me last year. Was working for a company and then got a Skype message that he couldn’t pay me anymore. Was left trying to figure things out immediately with no cash flow.. Was a rough few months.

        But at the same time it’s hard to be 100% committed to something when you’re constantly planning the next thing.

        I’m the king of having great ideas but never following through with them!

        • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

          Unless you can commit to something larger than the job and see the job as just one stream of money.

  • http://www.todmaffin.com/ Tod Maffin

    Best business advice I received: Trust your gut when it comes to taking on new clients. Every so often I get a “feeling” about a prospect… asking weird questions, not responding in a timely manner… I turn down business which feels like it could end up being an anchor.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      True that. It’s the best perspective to have.

  • http://whenpiggsfly.com/ Martin Pigg

    Not sure why being known as a “social media guy,” would be irksome. I’m proud to say that I own and have enjoyed all of your books, one of which bears the title, “Social Media 101.” There are lot of really talented people in the world who would love to be known for one thing, but I must say that I have enjoyed being a beneficiary of the tremendous growth in your message over the years. You give us so much more to think about than google plus, Facebook, etc. And I’m truly grateful for your generous spirit. Oh, and I’m looking forward to learning more about your August release :0)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Martin – because it’s not what I write about. It’s not what I care about. My message for a very long time has been “use these tools well to DO something” not just “gee whiz these are cool tools.” That’s the rub, I guess.

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  • Ricky – Safest Ledge

    Solid, solid read. Being “the Social Media” in my network of business partners and clients and friends has been a great experience, but I’ve found that it’s time for me to change it up in some way. Thanks for the article and the inspiration!

  • http://rumzi.co/ SL Clark

    Ouch Ouch, pain agony is what I’m thinking of our “solid” vanishing. I’m building our company based on a variety of products, any can vanish. What I would never want to happen is for all of it to fail. Here’s an example of not vanishing.

    Hermes once made exquisite leathers for the horse & buggy era, their logo. Today, their leather shop makes amazing handbags. Keep the expertise, change the products.

  • http://www.boydjane.ca/ Jane Boyd

    Ahhh….Mr. Brogan….here’s a couple of thoughts to consider.

    First – Life is always changing. Nothing can really be counted on. More people than ever are working their hearts out to try and diversify their income and their passions – both in small business and in corporate. It seems just about everyone wants to build new solids in new places despite the uncertainty of the world. It can be tricky and challenging – but it sure does seem to be mission critical these days.

    Second: There are a great many people who would like to trade in where they have been for where they want to go. They want something more exciting and something different. It’s never about what was and it’s all about what is and what will be. Sometimes this approach works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Over the last few years, I have learned this important lesson:

    Sometimes we need to walk away from where we are, explore new places and then realize that the very foundations we once built upon are indeed the places that we need to return to – in some way. Perhaps not as was in the past – but with new approaches and perspectives. This combination of old and new can result in magic and opportunity.

    Just about everything in life is a cycle so it’s worth remembering that there is as much value in where we have been; as there is in where we are going.

  • HiltonB1

    Chris – so few companies do “scenario planning” that its hardly surprising that few individuals do it either. The reasons are legitimate (too difficult, too time consuming, too difficult to determine where markets are evolving).

    Personally I try to do a bi-annual Skills & Business Assessment. As a single person business that task is slightly easier but its certainly not a walk in the park. I book time with my top 5 clients for an open evaluation of areas I’ve over and under-delivered (consultants don’t get an annual review after all) and areas their companies are stretching into. I balance that view against an exercise i do with my top 5 network colleagues. Where are their own business’ going and where are their clients stretching.

    At best, it gives me a matrix of opportunity that I can then use to re-fit where i’m investing time to grow/develop/be prepared as the market evolves.

    It’s a tad deliberate and disciplined but that’s the point. It forces introspection and, by engaging your current clients and a network of peers, it forces you to tag the blinders off.

    Its not for everyone but it works for me.

  • http://www.AchieveTheGreenBeretWay.com/welcome Michael Martel

    Nothing is forever. I learn that lesson over and over again.

    While I was in the Army Special Forces, we took on the motto Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. Be prepared to accept change and act on what is, not what should be.

  • http://about.me/josephmanna Joseph Manna

    I think as marketers, we must hold onto strategies and lessons that we learn along the way and not the tactics. One of those is community-building. It’s something that many social media practitioners neglect.

    I think you’ll like my piece about this that I wrote on the Big Ideas Blog: http://bigideasblog.infusionsoft.com/online-communities-entrepreneurs/

    Great advice and perspective, Chris. :)

  • http://finegoud.nl/ Finegoud

    We should always have a backup plan, don’t lay your eggs in the same basket some would say, and that’s true.

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  • Copywriter Matt

    Excellent point, here. It’s important to have a diversified plan, and stick with the strategies that work.

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