So What Does This Have To Do With Marketing?
I think one of the hardest things to learn in marketing is empathy. Once you learn to walk in the shoes of your client and know their needs, fears, wants and desires, your heart starts to understand how to communicate with them and their audiences.
Yes, I was homeless. I pretty much lost everything including a half million-dollar business. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to sleep on my sister’s couch. I didn’t have to do the homeless shelter or soup kitchen kind of thing, but if you think that makes me any less humble, then think again. It took being beaten down to the lowest common denominator to make me understand how truly blessed and lucky I was.
Being homeless was actually one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given. Before that, I was pretty full of myself, and felt like I excreted perfume. In reality, I was crushing toes and hurting people along the way, when all I wanted to do was make a difference in peoples’ lives! It took being beaten-down, to learn how to bring people up.
Making An Impact
The best thing I learned from being homeless was that it is not really all about us. It’s all about the people that we serve and about how to make them more successful. I hope you hear this message and take it to heart. It’s about how you can benefit, grow and succeed by making other people successful. It’s called making an impact.
You can think of impact in its most basic form of a ball hitting a glove or a bat hitting a ball. There is some kind of kinetic energy that transforms a motion into emotion. Maybe you have heard about the butterfly effect? It is believed that when a butterfly flaps its wings, the wind that it moves changes the world. I truly believe that is in all of us. So, what does this have to do with business?
Focusing On The Right Thing!
Sometimes, we are so focused on our own bottom line, that we forget other people have the same problem. We all need to make a living, but the most successful people are making a living through making an impact. You may love or you may hate Apple, but they have simplified the way we communicate through music, messaging and relationships. So have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. I’ve learned to make an impact through four basic ways…
- Teaching – By teaching other people, you actually learn twice as much. You not only have the opportunity to educate others, but it forces you to really formulate your knowledge in a way that can be communicated to other people so they can understand it. I was at a speed-coaching event the other night, and half the time I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. I was imparting wisdom to people, at no charge, that could revolutionize their businesses. I was blown away at how many other people were giving of their time and not focusing on being the center of the universe.
- Mentoring Or Masterminds – By collaborating with other business people who have business issues, it gives you the opportunity to share wisdom and knowledge of things that have happened to you so that you can help other people avoid conflict or confusion. It may sound counterproductive to give away your knowledge to people, but they, in return, they have the exact same thing to offer you. Don’t discount the fact that somebody who has not been in business for very long can’t help you see the forest for the trees.
- Business – Have you ever been hosed by client? Have you ever made a huge mistake? Is there something that you do that your clients could benefit from? That’s what business is all about … it’s about learning, growing and sharing. You learn from problems, you learn from mistakes, and you learn to put all that together into solutions, to not only solve your prior problems but your client’s problems too. Experience has to be earned and it is definitely something that needs to be shared.
- Giving Back – I truly believe that empathy is not an innate human feeling, but a process of learning. If you’ve ever struggled at anything, then you can find a way to teach other people to not have to go through the same thing. It could be grief, homelessness or addiction, anything that you’ve gone through in your life or have experienced through friends or family members. By volunteering in the community and working with nonprofits, I’ve learned to teach and to help other people avoid the pitfalls that I have experienced. It’s easy to pull out the checkbook and say here you go…but giving of your time is the most valuable resource that anybody can offer. Trust me, people appreciate it.
There are many ways that we can make an impact on people’s businesses, and in their lives. I am NOT saying that you have to turn all Mother Theresa and give 100% of yourself, 100% percent of the time? Well, that depends on you! Based on my interview with Ken MacArthur, who is working on a movie called the “Impact Factor” and is an incredible impact marketer, we can all choose to step back and look at what we do and why we do it. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – if you change peoples’ lives and their businesses, you’ll never have to market again! Those people will refer you to others, because of the impact that you’ve had on their lives as well as their businesses.
I’d love to hear the stories of how you have had an impact on other businesses, what differences you’ve made and how you feel about this topic. Comment away!