Business of Life: The Beautiful World of Word of Mouth
This has been a roller coaster week. Sorry for the cliche, but is there any other description for raging and ranging emotions?
I am still recovering from being extremely thrilled and extremely broken at the exact same time.
On Thursday night, I sat in a room of the most inspiring, delightful, eager small business women a connector like me could dream of.
I brought together these women with the bright, well-spoken, sharing marketing expert Karen Richards as she discussed the imperative ins and outs of word of mouth marketing in the social media age.
As we discussed the delight of Foursquare (I had NO idea it was something I’d love so much), I went to my iPhone to check in on Facebook to announce my presence at Visual Hues Studio. And what did I find? A private announcement that one of my BFFs (since the age of 13) has an aggressive recurrence of non-hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 41 (12 years after she survived stage IV cancer miraculously – read her blog & story here).
…..Thrilled at the event I was in the middle of.
…..Devastated by the news I just read.
…..But totally okay with both… strangely… in spite of the MindBender loop de loop that was created in my heart.
The beauty if being an authentic person (forgive the overdone buzzword) is that I didn’t have to fake my smile as the event continued. I could be both incredibly happy and celebratory at my event and terribly shocked/saddened for my friend’s news at the same time.
Bear with me as I try to parallel this experience to running a small business as a solo-preneur! I’m feeling it deeply, living it literally, but not sure I can write it!
Life Goes On. So Does Business
The first lesson in this is that if you are truly doing what you love, surrounded by people you really like – clients and friends (which eventually overlap by the way), you are at peace with your feelings. You can feel whatever you need to feel. And it is okay to say so in person, on a blog, out loud and to those you need to say it to. You can trust that you don’t have to be perfect or “always positive” when you have something to say.
I’ve already learned from my friend’s roller coaster 3 days of life with recurrent cancer that there is no point stuffing down the feelings for her benefit. Well, I just learned that today from her blog and from a four-way dialogue with her and two other friends where feelings were safe to lay on the line.
Feelings have a place in life and business. Solopreneuring isn’t a corporate job where there are politics and tiptoeing. This is your life. This is your business. You get to feel and share whatever the hell you want. And when you do, the real you shows up. The real you is attractive. The real you is desirable. The real you creates comfort and normalcy.
This comfort and normalcy in you is surely the foundation of word of mouth marketing (or wildfire word of mouth that a friend has cancer). Like attracts like. Being the real you attracts those you want to hang out, do business with, be friends with, support. Why would you be anything but you?
Be unique. Be YOU-nique. Life and business growth for small businesses relies on this. Word of mouth marketing thrives on this.
Parallels of Life to Solopreneur Business
My delightful friend is facing cancer fearlessly — dare I say almost competitively (if one can have grace and a competitive spirit at the same time). She is more prepared for this journey than most I would say. As a physiotherapist originally, with a masters in counselling, went on a journey as a healer to expand into energy work following her first bout of cancer. Since then she has studied A Course in Miracles, the works of Byron Katie, other inspirational authors and healers and even written her own book “A Cancer Companion”. Through her WORK as a healer she has amassed nearly 800 (and counting) Facebook champions, and I’m certain this is a small fraction of her fans, family and friends.
Yes, I said she amassed champions through her work. This is the second lesson of word of mouth marketing. These champions of her work have now turned into powerful champions for her life.
Here is where I admit that while I believe in a God, I am not deeply spiritual. I must also admit I’m SURROUNDED by healers and energy workers and accept that there are those who study angels and live their life by the divine, but I’m logical, pragmatic and firmly rooted in the practice of believing what I see.
How is this relevant? My dear friend and I are friends for whatever has anchored us together as tweens. But I’m struggling to understand the spiritual acceptance she has of her cancer. Because I can’t accept it.
But what I can accept is that life and business parallel. And that like attracts like. And that she has amassed nearly 800 champions who are healers and miracle workers LIKE HER through her work. And now they are using their beliefs, energy and word of mouth connections to create a second miracle for my friend.
I don’t understand the spiritual universe in which they live. But I understand the power of champions in creating a successful outcome. And no matter the future for my friend, she is in the midst of a miracle already. Even I can feel that!
Being You Creates Champions in Life & Business
In business and in life, our champions do the work for us. And that is the point. By being unique, YOU-nique, and letting those who like you also really know you – they become the positive consciousness for your life and your work.
These champions must be nurtured. And importantly, given the information to do the work for you. My friend has promised to be more open in what she needs this time around, and so she should. With the universe of champions on her side, all she need do is “put it out there” and they will do the work for her, so all she has to do is let the healer heal herself.
As for me, I feel the champions in my corner too. My work for the past five years has been based on transparency in how I grow my small business. And while there is so much more I wish to do to, my champions are also doing the work for me. I am so grateful to those who speak on my behalf and truly get my purpose as a solopreneur (even more than I do at times). It is working! Your voice on my behalf has allowed me to settle into a comfort in my business and be presented opportunities without effort. The right things are happening at the right time with the right people.
I wrote about how this word of mouth is working for me in my last “real life as a solopreneur” blog story: How a Strong Business Rolls When Life Rolls Over You.
Like attracts like. Be YOU-nique. Let your champions love you and they will work for you. Word of mouth marketing is magic. And it is yours to create. It is not mystical or magical, it is part of real life. It is part of marketing. It is both.