“A barn raising is a collective community action in which a barn for one of the members is built collectively by the community.” -- wikipedia entry for barn raising
...in other words, public goal-setting and recruiting your network to help you reach a specific goal.
Of course, this is frequently done with fundraising, but why not also use it to get your next batch of clients?
I’m not sure, but I may have heard this idea from Tad Hargrave and/or Mark Silver, both of whom I highly respect and recommend for their work. I’m not saying they would endorse this idea, but they are certainly more community-minded than most business experts.
Let's say you have a goal to raise an additional $1,000 per month income in your business.
This might mean:
Make a post on your social media (wherever you get the most response) and say something like the following…
(I'd actually love to see what your language would be... make a public post if you feel inspired and put the link below, and I might include it in my blog post example!)
If you are willing to help support my business, read on…
I am setting a goal of raising $1,000 of additional monthly income -- by serving more clients with the work that I love to do.
Are you -- someone you know -- seeking help getting through the following challenges (or you could instead talk about reaching goals, or experience certain states of being) --
[If you already know what type of clients are best for you (and which ones are not a good fit for you) you can also clarify that here.]
To reach the goal of $1,000 additional income means having the following:
For those interested in exploring whether it's a good fit to work with me, I would be happy to offer a free exploratory session -- 1 hour to get to know your needs better and for you to better understand whether (and how) I can help. No strings attached other than my gratitude for at least trying.
The exploration will help you better understand my service and even if you don't sign up, it will equip you to be a better advocate for my services, for which I am so grateful ??
Alternate goal -- I would love to schedule 15 exploratory calls between these dates [1 weeks to 5 weeks from now], with anyone who resonates with what I wrote above. Would you like to take one of these sessions, or possibly refer someone to it? If so, comment YES below and I'll be in touch to schedule it.”
How do you feel about this strategy?
How would you feel if a friend posted this? Think of someone that you like and respect who has a business. If they made this kind of request, would you feel willing to help?
Some people feel like this might lower their professional credibility. However, unless you are a business/marketing expert, you can always tell your network -- honestly -- that you aren’t good at marketing and are open to their help doing so. It means you are focused on your own talents/skills rather than having spent so much time focused on marketing.
If you’re shy about making such a public request, consider privately messaging 10 supportive friends or clients, and asking if they would be willing to help. And those who are willing, you could add to a secret FB group, or simply update them on how it’s going, as you make progress toward the goal.
Again, I’d love to see what your authentic language would be to make such a post. If you are inspired, go ahead and make a post on whatever social media platform where you usually get the most responses, such as your Facebook personal profile. If you want me to consider sharing it as an example in this blog post, make sure it’s a public post that can be seen by anyone.
The idea is simple: inspire (and recruit) your supportive friends to come to your aid in helping your business be sustainable, just like you would also come to their aid if they request it.
Once you make your post, get the link to your post (on Facebook, you can click on the timestamp of your post, and then copy the URL) and send that link manually, in an email or direct message, to at least 5 supportive friends who are likely going to help you spread the word, if only they knew about your request. If they comment on your post, it’ll spread the post farther.
You might wonder how “barn raising” is different from simply reaching out to your network asking for referrals. In this strategy:
This barn-raising strategy is one that I will be facilitating with willing members of my MasterHeart Business Mentoring program, a close-knit network, in small teams of 5. Since there's a maximum number of people for our group, we can't accommodate the vast majority of those reading this blog post, but not to worry -- as we make our way through the process and learn lessons, I will report back in a future blog post. You may want to set a calendar reminder, for a year from now (!), to check back on these blog categories: Authentic Client Enrollment and Authentic Business Networking.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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