Earlier this month, I made a big, bold change with my business.
I stopped doing business under my own name and relaunched with an actual, legitimate firm name.
I agonized over what I should do for months. I had name recognition in the industry so I was afraid that making a switch to any other name would mean losing business and confusing clients.
But I also knew a name change was inevitable. I hated answering “uh, my name?” when people asked what my company was called. I loathed filling out forms and conference name badges with “KaliHawlk.com” in the Company field, or writing “founder, KaliHawlk.com” as my title.
Frankly, it felt bush league and I knew my business was better than that. Way better.
Still, despite wanting to make a change and knowing that I needed to for long-term growth, I did what most of us do when it comes to tinkering with our marketing and business development: I avoided it.
Pick an Idea and Run With It
I’ve written about the importance of truly working for yourself as an entrepreneur and what it means to work on your business instead of just in it. But I’ll be the first to tell you it is freakin’ hard to do consistently, and I often find myself hustling away but neglecting the bigger picture.
Which is why I never bothered to do the work of creating an actual business name before I launched, and why it took me nearly a year of putting my head down and churning through work, tasks, and projects for others before I turned my attention to the issue.
It took me a few brainstorming sessions before I generated any ideas for a business name. It took me a few more to get farther than just one idea that I thought was pretty weak.
But finally, I came up with a list of decent options and sent them out for review. Out of the 10 or so I listed, I thought one or two would work well.
The feedback I received pointed to one of those names, too — and that was enough for me.
An hour later, I bought the domain name, pinged my web guy (who you can also use for your website maintenance needs if you’re in the market for a pro), and asked him if it’d be possible to transfer my entire online business life from KaliHawlk.com to something new.
Like the pro he is, he said “no problem” and had it done within a few days.
Just like that, I resolved one of the biggest business issues that was driving me nuts (having a nameless business!) and Creative Advisor Marketing was not only born, but up and running.
Are You Getting Things Done or Just Running in Place?
One of the most important things I’ve learned in the last couple years is that if you want to get something done, you have to do it.
That sounds obvious. Stupidly obvious. But it’s actually something I find most folks struggle to truly understand.
See, here’s what happens most of the time we have an idea or want to do something:
- We spend a lot of time wondering “how?”
- We think about our idea a lot.
- We talk about it even more.
- We actually work on it, but don’t show it to anyone/make it live/put it out into the world until we get it just right.
- We wait to get started because we want every last detail in place.
- We do a lot of planning to make sure we don’t miss or forget anything.
You’ll notice that’s a lot of activity. But not one thing on that list will get you closer to actually getting something done.
That’s not harmless, either. I’d say that list above describes downright dangerous actions. Focusing your attention on any one of those items can easily trick you into thinking you are, in fact, making progress toward doing.
But that’s just it: it’s a trick. At best, you’re just running in place.
There’s motion and energy being spent, but you’re in the same place today as you were yesterday. And the day before that. And you’re probably in the same place that you were last month too.
I know because I’m totally, 100% guilty of falling into the same trap. I’m familiar with feeling like I’m bounding forward, making progress — but what I’m really doing is just talking, thinking, planning… or, more likely, just creating busy work around my idea.
Doing More Comes with Risk and Fear
I think it’s natural to fall into this trap — thinking we’re really going somewhere but we’re actually just spinning our wheels — because it’s safe.
There is massive risk in taking real action. It’s scary to push something we feel is half-finished, not-quite-there, could-be-prettier-and-better-put-together out into the world.
It’s an even worse feeling to decide you’re going to start doing stuff you don’t actually know how to do — whether that’s marketing your financial planning firm or something else.
But it’s also the only way to make progress.
If you’re asking, “how do I market my financial planning firm?” you already know the answer. Just drop the “how do I…?”
Because here’s the answer: just market your financial planning firm!
Anything you say in response as to why you can’t just start marketing your financial planning firm is an excuse. I hate to break it to you, but it is.
I have a full guide on doing more for marketing your financial planning firm that you can download for free, regardless of your most popular excuses. Whether you don’t think you have time, knowledge, money, or even interest in marketing, I have a strategy for you to try.
I run an entire business to do it all for you, for goodness’ sake!
So no. Sorry. No excuses for you.
If you still don’t believe it, let’s go back to how I launched Creative Advisor Marketing. Here’s a summary of what I did to go from my old platform and name to a brand-new one in a few days:
I spent 30 minutes brainstorming a list of 10 names or so. I checked to see what domains were available (because I wanted a .com address) to make sure my top ideas would work.
I sent the list to Eric and asked him to let me know what he thought. He said, “I like the Creative Advisor Marketing one.” I agreed, because I wanted to be clear rather than clever — even obvious.
I bought CreativeAdvisorMarketing.com — and then emailed Grayson to ask about technical web setup stuff, because I have zero clue how to set up redirects, transfer an entire WordPress setup to a new domain, and make sure nothing explodes in the process.
I also emailed my graphic designer to ask about changing my business cards to reflect the new information and emailed my web designer to make the same request of a few web elements. Melody, my graphic designer, leaped on it and already sent me new files for my business cards and an updated 18 Strategies guide (that you can get when you join up with the community here at Creative Advisor Marketing!).
While I was waiting on replies, I updated my social media accounts and headers. I also created a new Facebook page for Creative Advisor Marketing.
Note that at this time, KaliHawlk.com was my only website — it didn’t yet redirect, but I was running around scrubbing the URL from as many marketing materials that I could.
(I also told you about the CAM Facebook page and I have done absolutely nothing to promote it. It might be sitting over there with zero likes. There’s certainly zero content so far. But that is the freakin’ point, people. No way am I going to wait until it’s perfect and suitable to be seen — and therefore judged — by the public. We’ll get there. For now, the win is that it even exists!)
Grayson got my website set up, including the redirect. Then he set up my new email and business account with Google. I furiously tweaked and reworked the website to make sure all the language matched the slight rebrand.
Mind you, this was at noon on a Monday when hundreds of people were sitting on the site. And as of this logo the website might say “Creative Advisor Marketing,” but the logo still says “Kali Hawlk.” That’s okay!
Once my email was up, I sent a message to my clients and a few others in my networking sharing the news: Creative Advisor Marketing is a thing! It’s real and it’s live and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org now! (Go ahead, try it for yourself.)
Next, I drafted an email to my community and scheduled it to go out a few days later, altering them of the change and also mentioning that lonely Facebook page. (You know what? Don’t email me, just go like the page on Facebook instead.)
A week later I wrote a 2,000 word blog post about the whole dang thing and hit publish.
I hope you can see how this was all a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, done-is-better-than-perfect strategy. And that there were about a hundred times when I could of made excuses about what I couldn’t do, or didn’t know how to do, that would have stopped me from moving forward.
In fact, every second was an opportunity to second-guess myself in some way. Every moment begged for thoughts like, “maybe I should think about this more first.. maybe there’s a better idea out there.. maybe this isn’t good enough yet..”
But that’s the secret to doing more with your marketing, with your business, with your projects that really matter to you: stop asking how. Stop thinking. And above all stop talking about it.
No one will ever say it better than Nike. Seriously, just do it.
Yes, Things Will Go Wrong When You’re in the Business of Doing
In this whirlwind couple of days of getting stuff done, did everything go perfectly?
We still managed to break my email in the process (which lead to chatting with a very nice and helpful Google rep for 2 hours on what could have been a productive morning). As I mentioned above, I have no nicely organized plan for the Facebook page and no to-dos for promoting it yet. Parts of the website are still lingering from KaliHawlk.com.
Surely there are random KaliHawlk.com URLs all over the internet and company name fields begging to be updated. Countless logins require my old Gmail address and will need to be updated. I’m still slogging through syncing calendars and storage solutions.
But by and large, things went smoothly and more importantly they got done.
Do More with Marketing Your Financial Planning Firm — and Anything Else You Want to Accomplish — by Just Doing
Making mistakes or dealing with a learning curve should not stop you from doing the work you need to do. If you disagree, then it’s time to get over what’s really holding you back: judgment.
The world is going to judge you no matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you write publish a shiny, professionally-designed and formatted ebook with zero flaws — or cobble together a PDF that leaves a little something to be desired with the visuals but is still packed with value for readers.
There will always be someone who thinks your work is bad. Or stupid. Or ugly. Or unprofessional. Or amateur.
No matter how much good work I produce, no matter how many compliments and happy clients who gush over what I do for them, there is always at least one sourpuss who emails me every week to point out I accidentally left out the comma in “you’re” on my most recent email newsletter.
Guess what? Don’t care.
I don’t care because I was too busy creating and sending that email so I could move on to creating and sending the next thing! There’s always another idea waiting for you to take it and make it real — and there’s always another person out there who knows your value and is eagerly awaiting to see what you’ll do next for them.
Trust me. Your work is not amateur if it actually exists in the world and not just in your head.
Only real professionals take an idea and run with it to create something, to bring forth something totally new into the world that wasn’t there before.
So whatever it is that you want to do — that idea you’ve been thinking and dreaming about for a while, that plan you’ve put together and been talking about — whatever it is, take this as your sign to stop all that talking, dreaming, planning, thinking.
Create something and then throw it out into the world as fast as you freakin’ can. Then do it again and again and again.