Do what you love, but make sure the money follows

key to dollarOf the 23 million businesses in the U.S., 17 million of them are solo entrepreneurs with no employees. Over 600,000 brave souls are starting their own business as a solo business owner every year. I’m really thrilled that more and more people are stepping away from the large corporations, striking out on their own, and following their bliss as Joseph Campbell puts it. It’s a huge part of the success equation to love what you do. Your passion will shine through and your energy is electric as you help others with your expertise.

But not everyone will make it.

Why do some experts who do what they love succeed wildly while others languish? I believe it’s because of fear and not because of lack of planning or lack of skills like the Small Business Administration reports. Hear me out; I know we hate to talk this stuff, but it’s costing you plenty if you’re not dealing with it.

There’s another skill you really need to succeed in business besides your expertise, and it’s a skill most of us love to hate: marketing. Fifteen years ago, we could get by without it. But not today. And especially not in the last 18 months. In addition to being great at what you do, you have to get the word out about you and your business. You have to be a smart marketer (or you have to hire one), in addition to your core expertise.

So where does fear come in? Because we hate marketing, we don’t do it. We hate putting ourselves out there, exposing ourselves to rejection and vulnerability. We approach marketing emotionally and often with fear and trepidation. This causes us to make poor choices, fail to plan, and spend our marketing money unwisely.

This fear and lack of execution in marketing leaves tens of thousands of dollars on the table each year that could otherwise have boosted our revenues. What’s worse, that money was probably spent on someone who was not as expert as you but was simply a better marketer. This should make you mad; I know it does me.

The truth is that marketing can be learned, systematized, measured and improved just like anything else in business. But we just don’t approach it rationally because fear gets in our way and clouds our otherwise good business judgment.

Do what you love, but make sure the money follows by being smarter about both your marketing decisions and whatever personal growth issues you need to address around marketing. If you hate marketing, examine why you do, and get the tools you need to adopt a more resilient thinking pattern about it. It’s an important part of the success equation for those of us who want to stay in business for the long haul.

If you have to, get mad. Then get yourself known and get clients. When you embrace marketing, you’re likely to see a huge growth jump in both yourself personally and your business’s bottom line.