Once upon a time, before social media, there was a world outside of constant marketing messages.
It was a magical time where we weren’t spied on by big corporations so they could sell us to advertisers so they could sell to us. And look, social media is great. I love it, I really do.
But as digital entrepreneurship is on the rise, so are these constant marketing messages, and when we dip our toe into small business, into freelancing or coaching (whatever it is you do), we’re exposed to them even more.
It can erode our confidence; tell us we’re doing it wrong right now, but don’t worry! I have the secret sauce that’s going to solve all your problems!
Worse still, the message that you have to spend money to make money, or that if you don’t invest all you have then you simply aren’t committed enough.
This reminds me of an entrepreneur’s conference I went to a while back where the speaker literally encouraged people to mortgage their house if they were serious about building their empire. Amongst the fat-shaming and poverty-shaming (“fat and poor people are just lazy”), the speaker said, “if your kids were sick, you’d find the money to make them better… so why can’t you find the money to launch your business?”
Doesn’t that just make you gag? The emotional blackmail is staggering.
(Also very bold of you to assume I even have a house to mortgage!)
I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in your business. You absolutely should, if for no other reason then growing and scaling a business on your own is exhausting. No man is an island, and if you ever want to have a good night’s sleep again, you’ll have to outsource some things eventually.
But I’ve personally found investing to be a slippery slope. For a while I didn’t do it at all; all I spent my business money on was insurance and internet. Thankfully I got out of that and found the confidence to ask for help. And then I kinda over-corrected.
Everywhere I looked there was some new course or intensive or mastermind or service or product I could spend my money on. And because of the aforementioned messaging, I ended up in a cycle of spending or feeling guilty for not spending.
Some of those investments were life-changing. Some of them absolutely were not.
But how do we, as someone’s ideal client or customer, avoid Investment Fatigue?
Speaking from experience, a lot of my investments came from fear. And coincidentally, traditional marketing techniques are built to trigger fear and digital entrepreneurship is absolutely rife with it.
So here’s some questions I ask myself now, before I get out my credit card:
- What do I actually know about this person? Have they helped me before through their content? Do they have a detailed About page, so I know where their authority comes from and is that authority more than just how much money they earn?
- Am I just reacting to a triggering sales page? Is there a countdown timer on the page telling me I’m about to miss out on something? Or some kind of bonus I get for signing up before Friday?
- Is this something I already know about extensively, but I’m scared I don’t know enough or the right thing? (I.e. is my Imposter Syndrome acting for me!)
- Does this actually align with my goals for this month / quarter / year? (E.g. buying a PR course to help my goal of having more visibility this year)
- Do I actually need this? Do I actually believe I’m missing something and need help? Do I even care about this thing? Is this actually going to move the needle forward for my business?
You know better than anyone what you and your business actually needs. Make your investments wisely, and from a place of strategy and power... and you'll be just fine!
Until next time, be kind to yourself and create something remarkable!