ASK FOR HELP:
How & Why You Should Delegate, Request Referrals & Brainstorm with Friends
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THE REAL SECRET TO STAYING ON TASK WITH YOUR MARKETING IS ASKING FOR HELP.
Of all the important, life-changing transformations I’ve experienced while running my business for the last 7 years, learning how to ask for help is the biggie.
Ever since middle school, I’ve always managed to get through the most tasks and take on the most activity that can possibly fit in a day. Back then, Mom shuttled me to and from choir practices, dance rehearsals and musical theatre. I conquered homework assignments in study halls and during meals.
As I got older, I only added more to the mix. By the time I was a senior in college, I was juggling two degrees, three part-time jobs and an honors thesis. (I like to think I also had a social life, but you’ll have to check with my friends for the truth on that one…)
I no longer needed a chauffeur, so I fell into a groove where I did it all myself. I might as well have been wearing a Miss Independent sash across my chest.
And I survived. But it was really hard and certainly not sustainable.
Now that I’ve been running Amy Jacobus Marketing for a good chunk of time, I’ve learned one of the most important secrets to kicking ass.
You can’t do it alone. Get comfortable asking for help.
I’m serious. Ask for help early, and often.
Today, I want to share with you the top asks I make to ease my own burden in running my marketing and business building efforts. I encourage you to follow suit!
ask for help to increase the impact of your marketing:
ASK FOR REFERRALS.
Unless you are launching a completely new venture, you already have clients or customers who love your brand, your services, your vibe. Ask them to share your work with their friends and family! It sounds simple, because it is.
Step 1: Make a list of your all-time favorite clients and customers.
Step 2: Write an email to thank them for their business and support. Tell them how much you appreciate their enthusiasm and how their compliments give you life.
Step 3: Ask them if they would please introduce your program, service, product or event to someone they know who might love it just as much as they did!
The key is to be as specific as possible. Ask for referrals for one particular program. Say you have openings for a particular service within a particular time frame.
You’d be surprised how few people think to do this and how wildly easy and effective it can be.
“But Amy, doesn’t asking someone to refer my services make me seem desperate or needy or annoying??”
No, it doesn’t.
Unless your writing style screams: “I’m panicking and need more sales! Please help me!!”
I’m not afraid to ask my people for referrals and here’s why. I recently sent an email out to just my paying clients to ask how their summer vacations were and let them know I had some availability for projects starting this September. I told them they’re the best (because they are!) and asked them to please share my work with friends so I can work with more folks just like them. I got FOUR new potential projects within ONE HOUR of sending my email. Is that magic, or what??
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delegate THE CRAP OUT OF THINGS.
If you are a one-person team, and you’re totally overwhelmed with the amount of tasks on your marketing to-do list, you’ve already waited too long to find help.
I sympathize with how scary it is to spend actual time and money on someone new. But I guarantee the whole “it’s faster to do it myself” routine is not true and you can’t grow or scale or take advantage of momentum if you’re expected to do it all alone. If the issue is affordability, ask yourself this: if you invest in this help, can you make more $$ in return? 9 times out of 10, the answer is probably yes. Front that money, and reap the rewards.
If you already have a team, meet tomorrow to divvy up your tasks. Get this on your calendar now. Come with big picture and day-to-day responsibilities ready to share and discuss. Consider everyone’s unique abilities and strengths to help divide the workload. Why are you still designing Pinterest graphics if you are so much worse at it than your actual designer?? (Note to self.)
Before your divide-and-conquer meeting is over, make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re expected to do and on what deadlines.
I constantly need reminding to delegate tasks, because hoarding responsibility is my favorite pastime. If you’re like me, institute regular check-ins or provide access to your responsibilities via a task management system, so your team can suggest to you what you might be able to surrender from your list!
request brainstorm dates.
This entrepreneurial life is wonderful, in part, because the world is your oyster. That also makes it scary AF. I will personally hold on to an idea for a full year before making any moves if I don’t talk about it with a trusted colleague or two.
Or worse – I might move forward with a terrible idea because I didn’t consult someone first.
Start making a point to request coffee or cocktails with trusted biz besties and fellow creatives with the sole agenda of brainstorming the heck out of things.
Several of my clients and I make room in the calendar for what we call “Big Idea” meetings. Brainstorms where we can toss any idea into the ring, discuss its merits, implications and practicality, and save it to start implementing or throw it out completely.
Not every idea gets used, but there is nothing too big, too dumb or too embarrassing to bring to the meeting.
I also consult trusted girlfriends when looking to test ideas or solve marketing, audience development, copywriting and other business challenges. Sometimes saying the thing out loud is all it takes to spark that next big lightbulb moment. Sometimes they stomp all over my original idea and suggest a whole new perspective I should consider. (Yes, sometimes the stomping stings a little. Buck up. You can take it.)
Two heads are better than one. Invite three, four or five heads and throw in some drinks? Now it’s a party.
Bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I know too many people who try to do #allthethings alone. Or won’t consider asking for referrals and recommendations to avoid looking needy. Or sit alone with their ideas instead of grabbing a group to help stare at them from every angle and polish them up until they shine.
Be brave. You might be surprised by the generosity of those around you.
SPEAKING OF HELP…
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I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.