As I’ve mentioned a couple times before in this blog I’m basically a do-it-myself startup. I have quite a few people around me who are very helpful (and I’m very grateful for their help!) but for the most part I’m like the Hedley’s from In Living Color. I am the accountant, travel agent, head coach, director of research, graphic designer, IT trouble shooter, marketer, secretary, janitor, facility serviceman, web designer, salesman, delivery man, and chief executive officer all rolled in to one. Many people who do freelance work find themselves in a similar position in that they wear many hats. Among the things that required the biggest adjustment for me in this setup was marketing. Because we don’t have a 10 million dollar training facility, a reality TV show, or a big time sneaker deal, the company brand is essentially me. My business partner (who is more of sales and marketing guy) stressed this from the very beginning of our relationship – “our brand is your professional expertise. That is what will distinguish us from competitors.” The reason this was difficult for me is because I’m not really self-promotional by nature. In fact, I disdain salesmen and the many posers in the athletic performance industry who are 90% flash and 10% substance. Some call these guys internet gurus because they look like geniuses on the net but have never actually coached anyone. But the reality is, that now that my family and I depend solely on the success of my business, and the business is essentially just me and the services I provide; it means that I NEED to do some marketing to pay the bills and keep food on the table. That’s one of the reasons why I have a very active twitter personna that compliments my business brand, why I have a youtube channel that highlights the athletes I’ve coached and some of the lectures I’ve given, and why I make sure I let the world know when and where I’m doing my next speaking engagement. This type of self-promotion isn’t something I’m totally comfortable with but it’s definitely easier when you look at yourself as the business being sold rather than the person you see in the mirror; and recognize that to get to the point where the brand is bigger than myself will require that I highlight what I have to offer and how my services are superior so that we can continue to grow long enough that we can shift the emphasis to the company.

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