the one thing you need to do to grow your business

I was nervous wondering what his next question might be.

We were sitting across from each other in one of the many booths in the empty restaurant.

He had a glass of Coke filled with ice on the table in front of him.

Job interviews are always uncomfortable but this one was particularly tough.

The manager had asked me a bunch of questions that aren’t your typical interview questions and I had to think on my feet a lot more than I’d anticipated.

Then he said, “Sell me this glass of Coke.”

Seriously?! Um. Okay.

I don’t remember what my pitch was but I’m pretty sure I focused on how cold and refreshing it was.

I’d worked as a server for more than 5 years at that point and I was pretty damn good at it. But selling a glass of Coke was not a skill I’d ever needed.

The manager told me that being a server was like having your own business within the restaurant. Your section of assigned tables was your territory. You got to know each customer and made their experience as good as you could to optimize your return (a.k.a. tips).

And you could make more tips if the average guest check was higher. You did that by upselling a customer’s order with appetizers, upgraded sides, and desserts.

If someone asked me what was good on the menu, I wholeheartedly recommended the things I loved but I didn’t upsell as a matter of habit.

Then in the following years when I worked in agencies, I was part of many pitch teams for new business but I never had to go out and find the companies to pitch to.

These experiences were as close as I got to selling before I started my own business.

Fast forward to starting my own business.

I now had to reach out to people directly and let them know what I could do for them. In other words, I had to sell.

It sounds obvious but so many entrepreneurs focus on marketing to get sales rather than on selling.

There’s a difference.

Getting sales through marketing is what most coaches and gurus are teaching and talking about.

Things like creating an irresistible offer, content creation, persuasive copywriting, high-converting sales pages, etc.

The kinds of things that are meant to attract people to you so that once they’ve been exposed to your content and your offer, they’ll be more ready to buy from you.

This does happen but marketing is not what you should be focusing on when you’re getting started and working on making enough money to sustain your business.

Yet, nearly every program out there that caters to new entrepreneurs focuses on marketing.

Because marketing is more palatable and feels somehow more doable for most of us.

Selling is more direct. And it makes most people super uncomfortable.

Selling is approaching potential clients, actually making the offer, pitching your service, and getting on sales calls.

Selling is what you should be focusing on when you’re getting started and building your business.

Most marketing activities are keeping you from doing that.
They’re keeping you safe.
And they’re keeping you from making money.

This is where most entrepreneurs have the hardest time.
The one thing I hear most often from them is, “I don’t like selling.”

But there is no way around this.
You need to sell to have a profitable business.
(Your brain might be jumping to point out examples to the contrary – but they are outliers.)

So, if you’ve been trying to grow your business for a while and it’s just not happening, it might be time to pause and think about what you need to do next.

You have two choices:

1. Figure out how to embrace selling.

Determine what you’re willing to do differently.
E.g. Cold outreach, intentional networking, consistent connections, etc.

Ask yourself what is keeping you from selling.

E.g. Do you believe in your offer? If you know you can help people, what’s keeping you from offering your solution?

Create a plan that will focus on selling.
E.g. x hours a day/week to connect meaningfully with people. Keep track of interactions, and follow up.


2. Put your efforts toward finding your dream job.

The kicker here is that you will have to sell yourself to get that job.
But after that, you can focus on doing the work without having to sell ever again.

I don’t think we talk about this enough.
Pursuing a job is always an option.

One choice isn’t better than another.
But choosing is vital to making progress.
To moving forward in your life.


Every Sunday morning I’ll send you an email to help you build a minimalist biz that’s money making, meaningful, memorable, and maintainable. 

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