I’ve just started a new business. It’s a side thing for now, as I’m only able to spend 2 hours a week on it. (The rest of my time I spend on my main business which pays the bills.)
I haven’t revealed what this new business is, because I want to re-experience what it’s like to build an audience from scratch. That’s the situation many of you find yourselves in… so I want to feel what it’s like to be in your shoes again.
In other words, I am purposely going without the support (or knowledge) of my current audience or network. It will truly be a new audience built from zero. I’m also doing this as a case study of what it’s like to apply my own marketing knowledge to a brand new thing.
Of course, I’m also withholding the mention of my own name on the new page, so that I start out there as a nobody.
I will be revealing this new project after I get some traction, so that I can give it a proper test.
This new project is also in a different field for me: personal/spiritual growth (another passion of mine), and not directly related to my current business of marketing consulting.
Here are a couple of lessons I’m learning in this new venture:
Lesson 1: Not easy to start from scratch! But you need to give your audience more options…
My first video on the new Facebook Page was a complete bust. I spent $40 to advertise it to audiences that I thought would be interested, and after reaching more than 2,500 people on Facebook, I got a whopping total of 2 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares, and still 0 page likes as a result.
If I’ve learned anything about content marketing, it’s Quality through Quantity: you’ve got to give your audience enough options so they’ll tell you what they like.
My second video had better results: $40 spent reached 4,500 people (FB noticed that people watched this video for longer, so they shared it more widely, at the same cost), and got 7 likes, 1 comment (my first one ever!), 3 shares, and my first 2 page likes!
The third post I made was a text-only status update, a fairly long one, and for $40 it got 67 likes (!), 6 comments, 9 shares (!), 6 page likes… wow, much better than either of the first two postings. Lesson: a different format can make all the difference, as I mentioned in my post about “What if you’re not getting engagement on your content?”
Lesson 2: Manage the comments on your postings.
The first two comments on one of my videos were kind of weird (no punctuation / poor spelling) or negative.
I made the mistake of just leaving them up for a few days.
Then I decided to delete those weird/negative comments.
Within 24 hours of doing so, there were 4 new comments, this time positive or uplifting!
Lesson: weird/negative comments tend to discourage others from posting something positive or supportive. So, as soon as you see them, feel free to just delete them.
I’m not talking about legitimate, honest critique. Those comments would be good to engage with, saying thanks for their thoughtful feedback and thinking about how you can improve as a result.
But for comments that are only negative, without offering any valuable feedback or additional insights, those should be deleted quickly.
Lesson 3: Focus on my own growth, not what the audience thinks.
Given that I have no audience there yet, and everyone encountering my content is a stranger, it’s reasonable not to expect supportive engagement.
They owe me nothing, and will only judge my content on its merits, without knowing who I am.
Therefore the results are bound to be far less positive, compared to being in front of one’s warm audience or friends.
If I make the results the reason I do this, I will get discouraged quickly and quite soon.
If however I make the process of growth the reason that I keep doing this, then I can find the purpose and energy to keep practicing, to keep seeking my own growth, rather than a fixation on audience results.
What I know for sure: I need to become more skillful in this new field/topic, by creating more content. As I focus on the growth of my skills, then audience results should naturally follow.
In fact, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m really even saying in that new field, and that takes practice and observation as well.
The bottom line:
Pursue one’s inner growth, and external success will tend to follow as well.
UPDATE: Read lessons from Month 2 here.