How my marketing break nearly killed my business


For most of last year I was booked 6 months in advance. It’s a double edged sword. On one side it was great knowing that I had enough work to keep me going for 6 months and on the other hand it was incredibly overwhelming.  If one single delay occurred it affected my entire schedule and chaos would ensue.

Booking so far in advance is definitely not recommended (a story for another day).

Generally I was spending half a day a week (sometimes a full day) marketing my business, writing blog posts, email marketing and scheduling social media. As you’re probably aware, marketing your business and nurturing your tribe is extremely time consuming!

Why I took a break

After a number of unexpected delays on various projects and a schedule that needed great attention, I figured I should focus my energy on getting the work done and ease off on the marketing. I had plenty of work rolling in so I figured it would be fine. So I gave myself permission to take a little break. At the time it felt good, a little bit of relief.

A smarter person probably wouldn’t have resisted growth like me and hired help, but again, that’s another (long) story for another day. Instead I lightened my load and focused on getting the work done.

The consequences

My marketing break was around 4 months, just enough time to get completely caught up with project work. The trouble was, when my current work finished up, that was it. I’d been referring work away for months as I had closed my books to focus on my current project load. Then I came to the end of the line with nothing. A few warm leads but nothing to bank roll a desperately needed new computer or clear the overdraft debt.

At the end of financial year, normally a busy time and an unexpected last minute contract cancellation, the future of my business was looking pretty dire. I even contemplated looking for a J O B. Yes I know, it was that bad.

Not only was the lack of leads a consequence of easing up in the marketing stakes, I also felt incredibly disconnected from my audience. I had felt like I had forgotten what they needed and wanted. I had stopped listening and completely disconnected.

Getting back on the horse is HARD

Getting the momentum up again seemed like an incredibly daunting task. It was easy once I was on a roll with the marketing before but I have to admit, starting up again was really really hard. I get why people who are first starting out resist it so much. It’s extremely hard to find your voice when you haven’t really used it in a business sense or if you’ve been quiet for a long time. The fear runs through your head – who am I to start connecting again? Can I start selling my stuff after being absent for so long? I feel guilty for not being present for so long.

Not only did I have to reestablish those old habits, but I also had to completely go through the entire process of figuring out who my audience was, who I was speaking to, what were their problems that they need help with me solving. Seriously it was like starting from scratch.

The tip is to just jump back on that horse, take the leap, jump right in. No point waiting for an invitation that is never going to happen.

Keep the momentum

I kind of liken marketing like pushing a really heavy ball up a hill that is really steep at first, as you get higher it’s less steep, but it still never ends. As soon as you step away from that heavy ball it starts to roll down the hill again and then you have to start all over again. As you get higher, you still can’t stop, but you don’t have to push as hard. Seems pretty thankless when you really think about it, but the view from higher up definitely worth the effort.

So the lesson here is don’t stop.

 

Have you ever taken a marketing break? I would love to hear your story, leave a comment below.

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11 thoughts on “How my marketing break nearly killed my business

  1. Seriously great article Nicki, thank you for telling your story. I’ve had a marketing brake since about December last year and while I have stayed in touch and present it’s been forced, very intermittent and I have live you felt so disconnected. It is scary starting again isn’t it. It’s like going to a party where you know you know people, in fact some of them used to be close friends but you haven’t seen them all in so long you don’t know if you’ll be walking into a room full of open arms or turned backs. Thing is if you don’t go in you’re not even giving them the chance to greet you graciously. Like you said you just have to dive in. I am loving getting to know my tribe all over again this time in a more meaningful way than before!

  2. Hey Nicki, yes I took a break for a while a few months back. No blogging, no emails, just focusing on my course and not my copywriting business. Thankfully things kept ticking along with repeat clients. I’m not back into it, and trying desperately to stop marketing so much. I love me some marketing but I really need to do some actual work.

  3. A great reminder Nicki, thank you! Marketing is one of those things that many of us fear, but without it we don’t get to work with the clients we adore. next time I want to take a break I’ll think of this post.

  4. Loved this Nicki, I took a break late last year due to burn out and then health problems meant I had to keep a distance for the first part of this year too, work was dry, nothing on the horizon. I was SO nervous and being 5 months pregnant, I didn’t have the option of searching for a ‘job’ – my only option was to get the business back. While it took a couple of months to get that momentum back, I totally relate to redefining your client, finding your voice and most importantly your confidence that you have this and your business is solid, quality and needed in the world. The experience (while stressful!) taught me that I have a good business, that even if I need to take time away from it, I know I can bring it back.

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