Powering Through the Bottom Third

Let’s divide homemade bread into the job rule of thirds: 1) baking the bread: my passion, 2) shopping for the ingredients: so-so, 3) doing the dishes: blech. 

The job rule of thirds says that all jobs, even those that fulfill our passions and get us up in the morning, are subject to three levels of must do’s. One third of our tasks are those we absolutely love. Another third are tasks that are so-so, but not too bad. The last third, unfortunately, are tasks we dislike, maybe even hate. 

For many small business owners, marketing is like doing the dishes. It’s the bottom third of the job and we’d rather not do it. Yet, the reality is, if we don’t market our business, we won’t have a business.

How can we power through that bottom third and get this difficult task done?

Make It Fit, Set Goals, Follow a Routine

Sounds like an exercise program, yes? Actually, it is. It’s an exercise in growing your business. Here are three ways to help:

  1. Decide what kind of marketing fits you and your customers. If social media is your go-to, determine which platforms your customers use and how many of those you can handle. Whatever form of marketing you do, make it your own.
  2. Set quantitative goals. Maybe you’re going to spend one hour a day on marketing. Or maybe do three social media posts a week. Whatever goal you set, make it achievable.
  3. Follow a routine. Many people find getting the difficult task out of the way first makes the rest of the day more productive and fun. Whatever routine you choose, stick to it.

What I’m Working On This Month

My annual project—an annual report for Forward Mutual Insurance Company. Lots of fun stuff here; content, photos, financial graphs, reports and, yes, most importantly, a cover reflecting the unprecedented year of 2020.

What I’m Tuned In To This Month

  1. Roadside Culture Stands: Jay Salinas, from my client Wormfarm Institute, talks about the artist-built mobile farm stands popping up around Wisconsin.
  2. The Case for Reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps: Successful during the Depression, maybe it’s what we need now.
  3. Back on Track: Feel like you’re drifting after a year of COVID? Listen to this.
  4. A Nearly True Story: The Tale of the Hamlet, by Tim Rinne. A great article on neighbors coming together and growing food during COVID.

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