GUEST SCRIBE: This morning's Hot Shots was not penned by your relentless scribe. It was fashioned by The Fabulous Honey Parker. I could say that this submission is in honor of our 19th wedding anniversary today. But that would discount the brilliance of the original missive, which was originally written for the blog at CoupleCo: Working With You Spouse For Fun & Profit. Thank you, Honey, for making all of this craziness delightfully possible.
"To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
-- R. Buckminster Fuller
Bucky Fuller. Genius or madman? Both, probably, along with being a master of reinvention.
He tried his hand at reinventing shelter, transportation, geometry, even himself. Look up "iconoclast" in the dictionary. Is there a picture of Bucky breaking something? Ol' Buckminster seems relevant right now. Reinvention is going around these days. It's contagious. We're all reinventing life in COVID normal. People are reinventing the telling of history, which may or may not be a good thing. (It depends on how many facts are being ignored and how many fictions are being invented as fact.) And even here, round the CoupleCondo, reinvention is afoot. Does reinventing a business sound familiar? You may find something useful here. Maybe even profitable.
This tale starts with a business afflicted by neglect.
As you may know, my mother's health had been going downhill for a couple of years. She passed in early April. During her decline, I'd stepped back from our business, Slow Burn Marketing. It was my choice. Mr. Parker supported me. But the business suffered. When I was ready to get back to the business, the business I'd left was not in the same condition as I'd left it. And while that was by design, it wasn't comforting. The irony? One of the things our business does is help people reinvent their business.
The solution? Just build it up like before!
We built Slow Burn from nothing to begin with. One! More! Time!
Oops, it's COVID time.
People's heads are in a different place. Rules have changed. Business as usual has given way to Business Unusual. Now what? Searching. Head scratching. Weighing solutions. Looking at new models. We did this for a couple of weeks. But when you're in the middle of Business Unusual, weeks can seem like years.
However, Business Unusual also looks familiar.
It's a down market. People are losing jobs. It's a time when a lot of people start new businesses. That's what happened in 2008 when we started our business. And when we did that, it was as if the world said, "Perfect! We're in! Sign us up!"
Business Unusual is a time when people get pushed out of jobs and decide to take control.
Sitting on a new idea? Carpe diem! Fed up? Shake it up! Tired of working for The Man? Become The Man! [Insert preferred gender identification here.]
We know these times. We also know that we have an expertise that people need.
We have a keen understanding of how to brand a business. After years in branding small businesses, writing several books, and speaking on stages worldwide, some like to call us experts. (We prefer "specialists." Once you claim expert status, someone wants to knock you off your expertise.) So, we have a tool that the budding entrepreneur can use. Now what?
When we hit on it, we felt like idiots. Why did it take a pandemic for us to think of this?
We decided to create a new model for what we sell. We are a boutique agency. By definition, that means we can serve only a select few. But now, let's offer a new way for the new business owner to brand a business effectively without the heavy cost of coming to us--or any other agency, for that matter. Let's build our system into a DIY course for the self-starting entrepreneur! Genius! Done! Mic drop!
Wait. You mean there's more? Now we have to build it so they can come? Damn. OK.
We put our heads down, dig in, work around the clock, write a book, question ourselves, turn to VAs who don't help as much as we'd hoped, learn new digital platforms, build PowerPoints, create graphics, shoot dozens of videos for sales and lessons, order transcripts, create worksheets, do our own troubleshooting, bang our heads on the desk, write web copy, rewrite web copy, re-rewrite web copy, think we're done, find we're not...
There's more, but you get the gist.
And the entire time, we keep checking in with each other.
Are we being clear enough? As helpful as possible? As USEFUL as we can be for the entrepreneur looking to make her businesses stand out and attract a loyal audience? Is it working? Is it good? Are we second-guessing good guesses? Are we building a new model that makes the existing model obsolete? WWBFD? What would Bucky Fuller do?
So many questions. But the one question that never surfaced?
Our commitment to the worth of a) this project or b) each other. And after two decades of cockeyed optimism and knucklepreneurship (that's where you come out swinging), we know how to work hard if not always smart. But suddenly, it happened. Lightning Branding is live! Two courses. One's a total DIY. The other includes a lot of support from us. Holy wow. That was crazy. And the feedback has been more positive than we could have hoped. People are entertained, they're having fun, and they find it USEFUL. Praise the deity.
We know we're not done. Far from it.
There's still a ton of work ahead. We have plans for that as well, but this does feel like a milestone. And today we're celebrating by knocking off at a sensible hour and taking an afternoon at the lake. And then...back at it tomorrow. Possibly even tonight. (Rust never sleeps and neither do we.)
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Would you like the FREE taste of reinvention?
Get your free copy of our new book, Lightning Branding: How To Generate Revenue Faster With An Electrified New Brand. It's yours FREE by clicking here.
For information about our new Lightning Branding courses, both do-it-yourself and we-do-it-with-you editions, click here. (There's even a video of us!)
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.