“You! Don’t move! Remain perfectly still! I will tell you how to dance. In this way you will learn salsa. Or do you prefer to shame yourself when clearly you have no rhythm?”
Salsa is what your new instructor has just made of your dreams.
“I came here to learn, Alejandro! And now you want to do it all for me? Not together? I know salsa, and you are not salsa! Goodbye!”
It makes sense you’d be angry. It makes sense you’d walk away.
And yet! So many of us want our own Alejandro to market our businesses.
“Remain perfectly still? Move as little as possible? Tell me more!”
Because people keep telling us how to dance, we keep looking for people to tell us how to dance. Or to dance for us. Dancing in 15 minutes a day? I thought you’d never ask!
Believing a step-by-step marketing process could present itself for every situation—without experimentation or play—we stand stock still. We’re afraid of doing it wrong.
I love giving advice and telling people what to do. Are you kidding? It’s one of my favorite activities.
“Here, let me tell you what the real problem is!”
“The solution is clear! Do this and that and this and that! A little bit, and then a lot!”
“Go here, go there! Read all the things! Wham-o!”
But your dance is your dance.
And when it stops feeling like a dance and starts feeling like a Denise Austin aerobics video from the 80s, it makes sense you’d stop loving it. It makes sense you’d start looking for another workout video.
Maybe you could learn to love dancing if you knew you could dance the way you wanted to—and still get results. Without rigidly adhering to someone else’s template of steps.
How to fall in love with dancing—even if you don’t know how?
Watch yourself in the mirror.
Dance practice begins with noticing what gives you momentum, doing more of those things, and repurposing as much as you can.
A few sample moves to consider:
- Turn your struggles into reasons why people should hire you.
If you don’t feel like dancing right now, then list out all your reasons why this isn’t working. List everything you’ve tried. Everything you’ve thought of trying. Then, turn these objections into reasons why your clients should work with you. They’re likely struggling with the same things. Maybe it’s okay to have these reactions. You might even create a service or product—like Hiro Boga’s class to heal your Internet Hangover. Or like Eileen Corrigan’s time management Sailboat Kit.
- Go home as soon as you feel like it.
Sometimes you feel like dancing in a crowd. Sometimes you don’t. Leave the party as soon as you feel like it. As much as I love Twitter, I prefer phone conversations, in-person meetings, and workshops. I don’t feel guilty having a conversation—just because it’s offline. My business grows when I let myself do more of the things I love. Even if they seem unscalable.
- Speak ‘n blog.
If you don’t like sitting down to write a blog post, don’t sit down to write a blog post. Do something else and bring a tape recorder. Play video games. Play tennis and talk out your ideas between sets. Trade transcription services with a friend. Draw Venn diagrams. Feature drawings—like Sparky Firepants’ botpreneur or Koldo Barroso on Naomi Niles‘ blog. One of my clients hates to write. So, I pretend I’m Terry Gross and ask him questions. After about 30 minutes of this, we’ve got the beginnings of a blog post or two. It’s easier to edit a labor of love.
- Let yourself write about feelings.
Release yourself from the forced outcome of a blog post. It’s amazing how often you accidentally write yourself into Blog Post Land when you start in Feelings Land. Your clients live in Feelings Land, too, even when they’re looking for useful advice. Starting with feelings turns you into an everlasting gobstopper of business insights, releasing all sorts of useful epiphanies.
- Turn talks into products.
Repurpose those talks you love to give as blog posts, worksheets, and checklists. Create private Twitter lists of the people you met at the workshop, so you always have someone to talk to when you do show up at a party unannounced.
You do love to dance. Your mission is to find your own signature dance moves. And to do more of them. And to fill in the gaps as they appear—by getting a dance partner as needed. When you’re dancing the way you want to—rather than observing the experts—that’s when the magic happens. Olé!
Are you sure you haven’t had lessons?