This blog post is going to be a little different than most. You see, I had an epiphany recently, while on vacation. And, while I am going to share some actual tactic type stuff in this post, I’m not writing it for sharing purposes. I’m not writing it for SEO. I’m not writing it for publicity.
I’m writing it for you. My readers and audience. Who have been there on my journey, who understand what it means to be a working parent, who struggle to get through the day sometimes.
Let’s face it, if you know much about me, you know I’m a *slightly* busy person 😉 With a full time job, a blog and side business, and a now 10 month old baby, I can get pulled in a lot of directions. But what you don’t know, and what I haven’t shared publicly is a lot of other stuff going on in my personal life. We all have “stuff”. Some of us more than others. And this stuff can be downright exhausting.
I’ve felt stretched too thin for a while now. Trying to hold it all together and keep everything flowing. Staying on top of blog posts, sharing content to social media, appearing on webinars and podcasts, maintaining my membership community, taking care of clients…
And I’ve felt like I’ve been failing. Maybe not publicly, fall flat on your face failing. But failing nonetheless. I haven’t produced the amount or quality of content I strive to. I haven’t posted as much content as I like to. I haven’t felt like I’ve given my community enough of my time. And I’ve diminished my marketing to attract new clients because I don’t feel like I can give them the quality they deserve.
And the more I worry about not performing to my standards or expectations, the more it stresses me out. It’s counter-effective and adds to the negativity mindset.
But then I went on vacation. Nothing crazy or too exotic. Just a simple trip to visit my parents on Vancouver Island. I took Brini for her first time to Canada, her first airplane ride, and a chance to explore new things. OMG, we had SO much fun! It was amazing and wonderful. And, thanks to my not-so-awesome international travel plan, I could only get internet on my phone when I was connected to wifi. So it forced me to get off my phone and unplug for most of the trip. Well, that and my parents snapping at me to get off the phone when we were at home 😉
So, I got a real vacation!
But that honestly wasn’t what generated the epiphany.
The epiphany came with a conversation I had with my mom. Although I doubt she realized it at the time. In fact, I didn’t either. It took me some quiet time and reflection to really grasp her casual comment.
My mom has been gardening since I can remember. She loves it! More flowers, the better. Every spring she stocks up on new plants and blooms and replants her entire yard. Every. Single. Day she tends to that garden. Watering, pruning, weeding, turning planters, tilling soil, and whatever else it needs from her. It’s a chore – at least, that’s how I always looked at it. Like work.
But to her, as she told me as we stood there in the backyard as she watered what seemed like the hundredth plant, it’s her passion. She said, others golf, or buy lottery tickets, or cook. She, she gardens.
To her, no matter how much work it takes, she doesn’t think of it like work. It’s her passion.
And, that my friends, was my aha moment.
Yes, Jenn’s Trends is a business. It’s work. It takes a LOT of maintenance. Creating content, marketing, and building a brand are exhausting and time consuming. But you know what? I love it. It’s my passion.
So, if that means I work later nights or longer hours, if that means I take an extra call or schedule another podcast, that’s because I enjoy it. And when I start thinking about it as fun and passion, and less about “work”, all of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so stressful anymore 🙂
Ok. So I had this epiphany and that’s all good and whatnot. But the story doesn’t end here.
As I watched my mom tend to this garden every day we were there, I started to realize that not only is it her passion, but it’s her commitment to the garden too.
This is what (part of) her garden looks like:
You can see why it’s inspiring!
And this is what her garden showed me about marketing:
It is Meticulous Work
As I’ve already said, it’s a lot of freakin’ work! A good marketing strategy, like a gorgeous garden, takes a lot of work, maintenance, and upkeep. But, that work pays off in dividends.
You have to make time for marketing every day. It’s not something you can casually tend to and expect to see big results.
Consistency is Key
I have preached this more times than I can count, but it’s true. When it comes to a garden, you have to be consistent. Consistently watering, feeding, pruning, and more. If you skip days or weeks, those plants dry up and die and you have start all over again with even more work to get it back to where it was before.
Marketing is much the same. You have to be there every day working on it. If you slack off or skip your routines, you lose that momentum and it can take even more work to get back to where you were before.
Weeds are Inevitable
No matter what you do to your garden, the weeds will show up. Left to their own devices, those weeds will take over and choke your garden. Sometimes you have to try a different chemical or different removal tactic, but you can overcome them.
In business and marketing, weeds are… trolls, negative reviews, disgruntled customers. They’re there no matter what you do. And if you don’t take care of them and resolve the issues causing those comments or reactions, that negativity can take over your brand.
Passion Drives Results
Have you ever seen a gardener, horticulturist, or florist talk about what they do? They light up, right? They love it and can spend hours on the subject.
Now think about the best marketers, sales people, or business owners you know. What do they have in common? They’re passionate about what they do! It’s less “work” and more excitement for what they do. They build their business, close sales, and generate leads because they are genuinely enthusiastic about what they’re marketing. They know that the “marketing” is part of the “job” but they do it so effortlessly because they don’t treat it like work.
To be honest, when people ask how I built my brand so successfully so quickly, I often tell them it was two things. One, I was genuinely me. I love social media and I let that exude from me in conversations, podcasts, blog posts, and more. Two, I work my ass off. I put in the time, with passionate commitment, to build this brand to what I know it can be (I’m not there yet, but I will be!).
But, you know what happened? Life. Chaos. Busyness. Expectations. It stopped being about “fun” and became about driving clients and sales and proving myself.
And it’s time to stop that.
Life will always happen. We’re all busy. I set unusually high standards for myself. But I need to find my fun factor again. I need to get back to the “gardening” factor.