It’s sad to see many of the peers I started with in business a decade ago are no longer updating their public presences (social media and website).
Back then, we all talked a big game about being mission-driven, out to change the world or at least, our industry. Most of them are no longer around. Most of them are still alive, but not in terms of the relationship to their audience...
Some of them probably made enough money for an early modest retirement.
Others might have gone back to work for an organization.
Some might be consulting quietly with a few larger clients.
The point is: their commitment to their publicly-proclaimed world-changing mission didn't last a decade.
I might have been one of them. I too promoted my mission. And I, too, felt the need to pivot many times. But I'm still here, 13 years after starting my business, and as energized as ever to serve my audience well.
As I look back to those early peers (and myself at that stage), we wanted to appear mission-driven, but most of us (myself included) were probably in it for the money and lifestyle.
Our ways of doing business weren’t sustainable – our launches were exhausting. We barely posted free content because we were all so focused on launching the next program to enroll more people. In our private meetings we often boasted about how much money our launches made. Again, it was really money and prestige that drove many of us back then.
I’m thankful for the spiritual breakdown and breakthrough I had since then, that has made me deeply change how I approach business.
Given how many of my previous peers have stopped their public presence, I see that being motivated by money or prestige doesn't carry longevity compared to a true dedication of service to one's audience.
Beware of thought leaders you hear from only when they're launching a product or program. You know what I’m talking about. You never get email newsletters from them, or see them on social media, except when they are promoting something.
It means they're not dedicated to serving their audience with content the rest of the time.
These days, providing content consistently is a basic litmus test of genuine service-orientation to one’s audience.
Some have even gone so far as completely let go of the customer service of their products. There’s a public example of a previously well-known coach whose FB Page is filled with comments from customers trying to access the courses that they had bought.
A colleague of mine recently observed: “All businesses care less over time.” That’s probably true for most, because people get complacent, bored, and start taking shortcuts to material wealth.
My commitment to authentic content marketing keeps me going. It's a lifelong process of inner exploration and outer service – of public journaling. I won't ever be done with that. There will always be more depth to explore, and more skillful ways to serve.
The more I understand my deeper purpose, the more I'm moved by the path of mastery of self at work, and the path of continually increasing the value I can deliver to my customers. Those “projects” have no end points. I won’t ever retire, as long as I can see the potential of growing myself to serve my audience more effectively.
I don’t care primarily about the money nor the lifestyle. And yet, the dedication I have to my authentic business, showing up day after day, year after year, practicing joyful productivity, has produced – as a natural byproduct – a financially sustainable business as well.
I wish for you the longevity of business that brings you ever greater mastery of self and service to your community.
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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