Being a psychologist is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, I just can’t help not seeing how someone’s psyche plays out in their decisions and their actions in everyday life.
There are people who are systemic thinkers, who look around and can see things changing, take notice of the direction of things to come, then take action on that path. Another group of folks, having noticed what is happening, see that things are working out for people and want to do that, too. These people are open-minded and pragmatic – they take action- sometimes sooner or sometimes too late (after the bubble has burst leaving them with 500 beanie babies or a new real estate license after the crash). A third group has certain ideas and beliefs that they formed some time ago and are unwilling or unable to see that their old ways of acting are not effective in the new environment. This group of people sticks dogmatically with their ideas of what worked in the past and surround themselves with others who don’t challenge their opinions.
One of my “Super Powers” that I have used time and again in my life is the ability to look around, see something coming – good or bad – “know” it is important or true, then take action in that direction. This has has been “the secret sauce” to my success as a serial entrepreneur.
Years ago, I said, “Everyone is going to want this”, to my ex-husband when he showed me a software program he wrote for doing psychiatric treatment plans. This one statement set us on a path to developing a cutting-edge, medical records software company. When our start-up grew and we needed larger digs, I went out searching for new space and saw historic warehouses and other abandoned buildings being given new life, thereby revitalizing rundown, industrial sections of town.
Over the next few years, after selling the company, I bought a series of still-affordable, historic buildings and converted them to cool urban spaces like live-work lofts, art studios and restaurants. Later, when I saw overbuilding, inflated prices and crazy mortgages, I knew something was up and decided not to build anything else I would have to sell, which turned out to be a really good thing.
Seven years ago, while selling my remaining inventory, I Googled my business name and, to my complete surprise, what came up number one was my Dog’s blog on Dogster. My business website was number forty -on the fourth page – where no one ever goes. I “knew” this was a marketing game changer.
At the time, I didn’t know it was going to figure so big in my future, but it sent me on a quest to learn everything I could about WordPress and how it worked with Social Media. What I first got into as a hobby turned into a new career.
I believe we are living in a unique and amazing time, perfect for having a small business, a great idea, a book or a passion. We have an unprecedented ability to make a difference in the world with websites, new online tools, apps and social media. And these mostly-free tools are available to everyone who is WILLING to do the work.
Some of my clients see the possibilities and have really embraced online marketing, even in some industries like HVAC, where you would not think there would be big call for social media. One of my clients has made a big name for his company by being the first to jump into doing social media in his industry with a blog on industry news, reviews and training, called Control Trends. Another client, Mermaid Cottages, has pulled out the stops writing blog posts about life on Tybee Island and their darling rental cottages. They also have a strong, consistent presence on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Mermaid Cottages is rocking and rolling with 30,000 hits a day and their cottages are fully rented most of the year.
But, there are others who continue to doggedly believe that they have to go to three networking events a week or go out on sales calls and meet all of their potential customers in person. And there are others who think they are going to get famous by speaking since they believe the people who will hire them aren’t on social media. I am not saying not to do traditional marketing. It is great to meet people in real life. But the combination of online and offline is bigger than either of them alone. So it astounds me that some people would rather wall-to-wall carpet their tunnel in the maze, waiting for the cheese to return, rather than get on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and learn to use them to build a following.
Someone asked me if I thought people could really change and my answer is not so much. But what we can do is learn to recognize our patterns. I know when I am being a hard-headed, know-it-all and when I can catch myself I can get off it and be more open minded. But a hard-headed, know-it-all who is close-minded is not such an good combo.