8 years ago I accidentally started a business that has kept me self employed steadily.
When I started, I didn’t know dick about business. I wasn’t trying to get rich. I just wanted to do something every day that didn’t make me hate myself and my life. I accomplished that fairly quickly and it was the first in a series of events that would help me realize what a powerful force I am in creating the life I want.
The best part? Most of it came naturally.
If you read anything about business and marketing, it will tell you that personal relationships are key. Being innovative, creative and on top of your market are so important. And we must not forget to be likeable, relateable and memorable to help ourselves stand out from all the others trying to do the same thing that we are.
Personal relationships came effortlessly because once I found my purpose I wanted to be around other people who were passionate about the same things so that we could bond, share ideas and continue to inspire each other.
Being creative came easy because I was constantly inspired by the work I was doing and the people I was meeting. Staying on top of my market is a given because birth work is a very social field. I am what I do, there’s no separation so reading studies, articles, books and blogs about anything related to my field is not a chore.
I think it’s safe to assume that I’m memorable, relateable and likeable, though I’m sure I’ve triggered and pissed off more than a few people along the way. If you are vulnerable and authentic – people will usually relate to you. Our thoughts, problems and human experience in general can seem so unique until we share them and realize that lots of other people know exactly what we’re talking about. If you can keep a sense of humor while speaking your truth, you will surely be likeable and memorable. I don’t put up a front or wear a different hat when I’m meeting a client or networking with other professionals. Who I am in life is who I am in my business. I don’t assume what others want or need. I am just me.
The point of this post, and what inspired me to write are two separate instances where my joy was what made me stand out. If you’re reading this you probably already know: I love placentas. Some of them bring me to me knees in tears for the sheer power that they hold. Some of them I spend hours posing and photographing. All of them bring me joy.
I picked up a placenta shortly after a birth and one of the birth attendants I happened to know, though not very well. We stood around chatting for a few minutes and she said, “I just have to tell you that people are talking about you and your joy for placentas. You are becoming known as someone who really honors and loves them.”
Recently I received a call from a colleague who had just finished at a birth and had a mom who, at the last minute, saved her placenta and wanted it encapsulated. This colleague of mine was on the opposite side of town and dropped the placenta off to me. I asked her, “Why me?”. I asked this out of sheer curiosity because I know there are were other people she knows that do this work, and those people were a lot closer. I wondered if she just couldn’t get a hold of anybody else, or if maybe she thought I needed the money or something. Her answer surprised me. She said, “Because I know how much joy they bring you. And the thought of this placenta being infused with such love made it a no brainer.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have a website and business cards. Occasionally I’ll donate a gift certificate or contribute materials for marketing grab bags. But the biggest avenue for receiving business has been my personal relationships and involvement in the community, both in person and across the interwebs. And it turns out: being unapologetic and joyful has turned out to be the best marketing ever.