The biggest question I get asked about starting a business:
How the hell do I market myself?
Usually this is accompanied by a downtrodden face of doom, and sometimes a teeny, tiny fart. For this, my friend, is the question of the times: the creator economy has made normal people who would normally only be worried about hiding from the neighbors, NEED TO WORRY ABOUT OTHER WEIRD THINGS, TOO. (As if we all needed something else to concern ourselves with other things besides pretending not to be home.)
But, whether you’re selling your knitting, selling your coaching, or selling an idea for a hyped-up hot dog holder, the inevitable remains:
You’ve got to find a way to get seen.
For most people, this is a task that’s right up there with “piercing your ear drum with a cocktail sword,” and I’ve got to be honest with you: I’m with ya. Some of this crap is incredibly superficial. You go online and suddenly you see 900 Instagram posts of people slinging MLM, with really bad graphic design, desperately trying to convince you to buy $99.99 worth of placenta-scented bath salts. Then, on your right, you’ve got 20-year-old supermodels making TikTok videos showing off their glowing noses & oversized Lululemon hoodies that make you think to yourself, “Oh for fuck’s sake—is this what I’m supposed to be doing?????????” (No diss to the Lululemon hoodies—they do a great job of covering up a rogue fupa.) And THEN you’ve got the people who just really, really don’t give a flying father: they are going to badger you into buying their stuff, so help them unsubscribe button.
I’m bored with all of this. I’m sure you are, too. Is bored even the word? Are we bored, or just horrible people? I can’t tell anymore. Figuring this out is probably my life’s work. (Isn’t there some story about my soul having a job to do or something? A MISSION on which it must embark? Ash Ambirge: here on earth to come to terms with her cynicism.)
But, I can’t play these strawberry shortcake games: advice like “post 3x per day because #algorithm” makes me stabby. I disagree with the common way of doing most things, and that includes social media & marketing. (Assuming the goal is to earn actual business revenue.) I’ve been doing this long enough—thirteen long, fun-filled, creatively satisfying, and also sometimes neck-throbbing years—that I know what sells and what doesn’t. For example, I start laughing MANIACALLY every time I do post something on IG for pleasure, and, like, 5% of my followers will ever see it. Seriously, have you ever looked at your insights???? Why is this where everyone’s putting their energy? You have literally no power here, unless you’re paying for access. (And even then.) It’s an illusion that anyone has followers—all they are is the digital carcass of someone who once stumbled upon your profile but probably hasn’t seen a single thing you’ve posted since. It’s an illusion that anyone with followers has meaningful, monetizeable influence. They might have the perception of influence, but this is one place where the numbers often do lie. 112.3 million people might have watched the Superbowl, but if only 5% of them saw the commercials? I promise you we would not have a Superbowl.
So! Now that we’re off to that happy start, marketing simply isn’t what most people think it is—and so a lot of folks are killing themselves doing the wrong things. Most people think “marketing” means “get me lots of free attention.” It’s a big umbrella term that we use to mean “any thing that’s going to expose my junk!” And that’s probably one of the first places where most people accidentally go wrong in this department: they don’t know where to spend their time or energy, because it all feels like this big, giant, confusing car crash of pandemonium. What should I do first? Second? And third? Or not at all?! Or more of???? And how? Am I doing it right? Does my breath smell? What actually moves the needle, and what’s just smoke and mirrors? Wait, why is no one paying any ATTENTION TO ME?!?!?!?!?!
It’s enough to make you pack your bags and move to Iceland and sell salted cod on the side of the road in perpetuity. Which happens to be my favorite word. Perpetuity. Don’t you just feel like a fancy freak when you say it?
Anyway, I think a lot of us are having our chains jerked by a few misguided assumptions, right now, and decades into the future the world is going to look at us and say, “Remember all of those people who were scrambling around like a bunch of stunned birds who just ran into a window?” The internet’s the window, and we’re all just like, “DUH DUNT DUH DA DUNT DA, SIR.” Which is a line from my favorite movie: Spaceballs, obviously. (You know which one I’m talking about, right? It’s got the bleeps, the sweeps, and the creeps!)
It's about intensity, applied to the correct pressure points.
I don’t want to waste my time and I don’t want to waste anyone else’s, so marketing and I have a very distinct relationship. I hone in on what works, and then I slam the pedal to the floor.
Got this message yesterday from a reader over on one of my other sites. (I have, like 19 now—ha.)
Which is AWESOME, right?! This is my entire MO: building businesses that make all the clients come to the yard—and be super excited to pay for more! Isn’t that such a beautiful idea? That your marketing could make people so excited, they’re happy to pay you?
Most people experience the opposite: they feel like they’re invisible and they’ve got to beg for even the tiniest of scraps. A few stragglers might get on a call with them, but then they never convert into business and become dead weight—with no income generated.
This isn’t what business should feel like. It should feel like a supportive, nurturing, strong & self-assured sidekick—not like a constant struggle and strain and impossible feat. But the difference all comes back to understanding how to get seen without selling your soul.
For example, I haven’t posted on the Costa Rica socials in weeks. I don’t have to. My income doesn’t come from social media. It’s more of a formality than anything else.
For me, it’s all about intelligent leverage. I try to spend my days building systems, not necessarily followings. Those are nice, too, but only when it’s based on authentic connection & not a bunch of artificial nonsense that keeps you broke and spinning your wheels.
Systems multiply your effort.
Systems multiply your money.
Systems are how you make it in business—the rest is just optics.
Are you feeling me?!
GOOD, Because I’ve got a superb announcement!
If you are feeling me on this, and if you’re just like 🙄 at all the things, and if you know you need to market yourself in a way that isn’t asinine, but you aren’t sure how, and you want to build a system that works for you—
B-School 2022 is here (!!!)—and I’m partnering with this program to bring you a series of real deal business trainings that’ll help you find your “not fucking around” lever and PULL.
B-School is one of the few programs I trust, and its founder, Marie, does a killer job at teaching you how to grow a modern online business the right way.
Marie runs the core program on the front end, and then I supplement with tons of fun-filled middle finger support on my end! And it is FABULOUS. It’s an absolute must if you need to learn how to market yourself in 2022 without feeling like a bonehead.
Here’s how it works!
- Sign up for the free seminar happening TODAY, February 24th and tomorrow, Friday, February 25th—all about surprising mistakes even smart people make in biz (like focusing too much on social media). This is a must because there are some killer bonuses being offered during the live seminar today & tomorrow.
- Enroll in B-School 2022, led by Marie & team.
- On Monday, March 21st, 2022. you will also get access to a killer selection of my newest courses as a VIP upgrade—for absolutely no additional charge. Compliments of us in partnership with B-School. This includes my exciting new premium course, all about finding your message and nailing your big idea, then putting it all into juicy, buzzy, sticky words. (It’s not available to purchase right now, but this past fall I offered this at $1500.) Plus, you’ll ALSO get VIP access to my creative writing for the internet course. And to top it off? You’ll also get my freelancing course for writers! (The advice is applicable to any industry, and even comes with contract templates + the whole nine.)
We’re live tracking enrollments into this year’s B-School x The Middle Finger Project, so WE WILL SEE YOUR NAME WHEN YOU SIGN UP!
You will start B-School with Marie & her team on Monday, March 7, 2022. It’s all online, so don’t worry about what shoes you’re going to wear. And then, on March 21st, you will automatically receive all of my VIP upgrade courses, too, with compliments. It’s like getting a giant 3 x 1 burrito of business brains & balls, complete with all of the marketing trainings you’ll need in 2022 to make it happen without the suck.
This offer is only available through the purchase of B-School x The Middle Finger Project, which means you must click this link and purchase through us. This is an affiliate relationship which means that The Middle Finger Project will receive a portion of your enrollment fee, allowing us to, in turn, offer our VIP upgraded courses at no cost. (This also applies if you choose a payment option!) It’s a heck of a deal when you add up what you’d actually spend to buy these separately, which would be double the amount + sprinkles on top. Great package, right?
This special offer is only available through March 3rd (that’s in one week), so check it out now—especially if you, like me, roll your eyes at half the things you see happening on the internet every day. On one hand, you don’t want to be beholden to the nonsense, but on the other hand, you DO want freedom & money & joy & business brains of steel.
This is your solution. It’s the best on the internet, so I’m happy to tell you to, yes, COME ENROLL.
Marie’s team will be welcoming you in (and here’s a bomb FAQ page if you’ve got questions), and I’ll have access to THE LIST, muahahahahaha, where I can see who all the lucky bastards are who are getting all of my courses, too.
Hope this is helpful for you. Let’s make your dream business a reality this year, without the suck!
To not wanting to pierce your ear drum with a cocktail sword this year (or any year, ever again),