Somebody recently asked this question in a LinkedIn group:
“Which way should you go? When it comes to marketing do you promote your business or do you promote you?”
There was a mix of answers, mostly supporting the idea that you should promote your business because that’s where you build your equity.
I understand that, but would also like to present another perspective.
Just before I started my business 14 years ago, I read Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” and was completely sold on the idea of building a business that could eventually stand alone. That was reinforced some years later by Robert Kiyosaki’s “Cash Flow Quadrant”. However, I no longer believe that’s necessarily the best option – nor even necessarily the preferred option.
After all, if you sell your business, what will you do with your days? Or, to put it another way, why wait until retirement to do what you’ve always wanted to do?
Gerber and Kiyosaki warned against creating a business that just becomes a replacement for a job – and hence why you should build a business that can be independent of you. They are right, but there’s a third option as well: Why not create a business that allows you to do what you would be doing anyway even if you weren’t being paid!
This is still rare, I admit, but becoming far more common (this is in fact the basic idea in Tim Ferriss’ book “The Four Hour Workweek”). It won’t necessarily apply to every business equally, and you might not even want to do it that way. But it is an option. And if you choose it, you might find it’s surprisingly easy to do – and doesn’t necessarily mean you burden yourself with “just a job”.
I made a decision a few years ago to go down this path. That meant I immediately stopped worrying about whether I would ever sell my business (I won’t), whether I would ever need to raise capital (I won’t), how I could expand (I can, but in many other ways than by raising capital), and how I can delegate work and create lots of free time for myself (easy peasy).
Some people might say I’ve created a practice, not a business. Fair enough – I don’t dispute that. I just think nowadays it’s possible to do this in a very profitable way.
In any case, marketing should be about finding out what your customers want and then delivering it to them in the most appropriate way possible. If they want you, give yourself permission to sell you.