I’m here to help you ditch hustle fatigue and start engaging in simple, profitable hustling for your business.
Hustling, which is a fucking terrible term that will steal your soul but I use here for ease of understanding, ultimately boils down to broadening your reach.
When more people know about your business, basic probability dictates that more people are likely to give you dollars.
To broaden your reach in the most effective way possible, let’s make a marketing calendar. That means you grab a sheet of paper and draw a grid containing all twelve upcoming months on it. You can use any sort of paper, so don’t let that be the reason you don’t do this activity! Twelve squares of toilet paper will do the trick if you’ve got nothing else.
First, fill in holidays.
Time off, vacations, those random days your kids have off for teacher training, and that weekend you always spend in Maine, no matter how busy. Those are the very first things to go into your calendar. Christmas can’t move, but your hustle time can.
Now, your job is to fill in each month with promotional ideas and activities.
I need you to stay with me, here. Refuse to panic or to say you don’t have enough time right now. This will take twenty minutes, tops — and unless a kid is literally peeing on your leg right this second, you can ninja your way into having twenty minutes.
Let’s start with some simple questions to get your mind churning out hustling possibilities.
Hustle Muscle Query #1: Which hustling activities have worked in the past?
Paying attention to what has worked in the past means you can repeat what you’ve done to get similar results. If your Fourth of July sale brought down the house this year, let’s plop that onto next year’s calendar and get to promoting it when the time comes! Likewise, if your annual headshot day brings in a steady paycheck and you know people count on it happening, put it on the calendar.
The same goes for your annual holiday promotions, limited time services or products, and events you host on an annual basis. Add each and every one to the calendar, as well as when you start promoting it.
Before you forget, grab the promotional materials you used this year — e-mails, sales copy, and imaging included — and plop them into a folder labeled ‘Hustling’ so you’ll have quick access to them when next year comes around. (No, really. This will save you so much time in a few months! Do it!)
Hustle Muscle Query #2: Which hustling has ALMOST worked in the past?
Everyone has hustling activities that fall flat. There’s no shame in it, but let’s examine the less-than-ideal hustling effort you expended this year to see if it can’t work for you with some adjustments.
I know it’s tempting to say, “Screw mini sessions (or that limited edition experiment I made up)! They only made me $X last year, and they were a lot of work!”
Consider that you could do them more efficiently in the coming year, making slight changes to ensure more profitability.
You could have fewer/more spots.
You could raise/lower your price point.
You could broaden/narrow your package offerings.
You could offer more/less choices.
You’re tapped into your hustling genius when you’re willing to think this way, because you’re not reinventing the wheel to create a new promotion. You’re optimizing what’s already there, and optimizing is way easier than inventing!
If you scored some press that resulted in web traffic but didn’t have any sort of e-mail opt-in on your site, the people clicking over to see you couldn’t hand over their e-mail addresses. That means they couldn’t really indicate their interest in your business. E-mail opt-ins are one of the easiest ways ever to make sure you can stay in contact with your peeps, fill your calendar when you see fit, and control your income by sending out a few simple e-mails.
If you launched limited edition products or events on a tight schedule, consider adding more lead time to your promotion. (Here’s an ad for an event happening this Saturday! — and you’re launching on Thursday — probably won’t work. Short notice is no bueno, and makes it hard for people that want to support you to show up.)
Hustle Muscle Query #3: Which hustling have you been AFRAID to try in the past?
This is my favorite of all the categories, as generally the thing you’re afraid to do is exactly what needs to happen next. Let me repeat…
The thing you’re afraid to do is exactly what needs to happen next.
Go ahead, write down all the hustling or marketing activities you’ve been afraid to do in the past!
All of them. I’ll give a quick list to get you started: write a book, launch a product, stop selling ______ in order to sell _______, hold a party, plan an event, start a referral program, get more press, build an e-mail list, work charitable contributions into product sales, offer new services, and/or raise prices.
Now, choose one and let’s make it happen by putting it on your marketing calendar.
You don’t have to know how it’s going to happen, you simply have to commit to making it happen. You can even add ‘learn more about writing a book’ to your book launch — I mean, marketing — calendar. 😉
Hustle Muscle Query #4: Aren’t you proud of yourself?
A marketing calendar is as simple as what you’ve just completed. You might want to schedule a time to sit with this shiny new calendar for an hour next week, just to flesh it out and add any details you’ve forgotten — but the bulk of the planning work is d-o-n-e. Congrats!
It’s perfectly normal to drag things around, cross ’em out, and otherwise make adjustments as time goes on. This is meant to be a living document. It is not meant to resemble that stuffy silver sandwich tray you only drag from the back of the closet when your Aunt Jody is visiting to show her how often you use it.
P.S. Not sure of which promotions to add to your calendar? Boom here ya go.