How many times have you heard someone talk about thinking outside the box? It makes me think of my daughter, Emma, learning to color inside the lines. I mean literally. Watching her take a coloring book, and go from scribbling all over it with a crayon or marker, to carefully staying inside the design. Now there is a skill in that which is pretty cool, that eye-hand coordination, the ability to control where your hand goes. But what happens when it doesn’t stop there, when your aesthetic becomes that “beautiful” means only the kind of lines you see in “perfect” pictures? Your whole sensibility becomes attuned to a relatively narrow range of possibilities, right?
The same thing happens in so many places in life—with your friends, where you live, what you eat, what kind of work you do, and if you are an entrepreneur, with your marketing. You get used to thinking of yourself in a certain way, and then you think inside that box. You give yourself a title (of course you do, everyone expects one, right?), and then that’s what you are, and it says a lot about who your people are.
I have a client who calls himself a personal trainer. Now the thing is, what this guy does is SOOO much more and so much more cool and important than whatever I think of when I hear the words “personal trainer.” Okay, yeah, so that’s what he was officially trained in—that’s the box he was given by the people who certified him. But get this—he does not like the gym! In fact, he is against people going to the gym. He thinks people hurt themselves at the gym. But when people call him, because he’s a personal trainer, they ask him where his gym is. Get the contradiction? Do you see how that label, that box, does not suit him, and in fact is probably hurting his sales and marketing?
Not only this, but if he markets to people who are looking for fitness, he’s got an upstream flow to work against. What I mean is that people who are looking for fitness are expecting certain things. They expect a gym. They expect to work out, to lose weight, to get stronger. There’s nothing wrong with all that. Except that the mainstream ways of doing those things can actually hurt your body quite a bit.
So my client helps people relate to their bodies, and learn to move, in entirely new ways that build flexibility, mobility, inner strength and stability. And as a consequence, they gain confidence, they look better, they have more vitality, stamina, a broader perspective, and more drive.
Can you see how what he’s offering, positioned differently, outside the box, could make his business entirely different?
See, I know all of you out there spend too much time at your computers and on the phone, sitting. Sitting, sitting, sitting. You and everyone else these days. And as busy entrepreneurs, could you use a simple practice that would help you look better, feel more vitality, give you more confidence, ease your body aches and bring you more stamina? Well hell yeah, as my coach would say.
What if my client were to get more in touch with what you are really looking for—you want to look good when you’re on stage or for your photos and network meetings (or those snapshots that keep showing up on Facebook), right? You want to feel good without having to go to the gym. I know I do—I hate the gym. I would never go look for a personal trainer—yuck. But what this guy does, yes I want that.
But in his box, if he weren’t my client, I would never find him, and he wouldn’t find me because he’s not marketing to me. He’s in the box he was certified into. Can you see that? As soon as he steps outside that box, and starts really looking at all of the people who need what he offers, and gets in touch with what they want, wow a whole new world opens up to him.
Where are you in a box in your marketing? Are you just thinking of people to market to who are like you? I see healers only market to each other—it’s crazy! Do you know how many people out there need the services of healers, coaches, and yes, leading edge personal trainers? Millions and I am not kidding. But if all you ever do is to talk to other healers, coaches and personal trainers you are living inside a box.
This is a comfort zone issue, isn’t it? Because you know people who are in the box with you. You speak the same language. You have agreements about what is important. But let me ask you, how big a contribution are you really making if you are just talking with people like yourself, if you just use your specialized language. Do you want your village to be monolingual or multi-lingual? I may only know English, baby, but I am multi-lingual English! And it’s more fun that way. Reach out, find out what people outside your box want and need? Listen. Communicate.
And you know what, when you do that, you can make WAY more money, too. Way more. Because you create specialized solutions for people in a different industry where they need and want what you’ve got but they don’t entirely know it yet—and you can show them how you are the solution to the problem that is making them miserable, or stressed, or sick, or broke—you have got an out-of-the-box breakthrough happening. And that means more money for you. Give it a try—and make sure you hit reply and tell me how it goes!