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Designing Your Future

What do you want?

When was the last time you asked yourself that?

Did you allow yourself to hear the answer, or did you hide from the question before your mind was even done asking it?

At Newfangled, we work with marketing agencies of all sizes, and I interact with many agency owners who, like me, are entrepreneurs. I’ve come to believe that, as entrepreneurs, asking ourselves what we want, professionally speaking, is not only not a selfish act, but perhaps the single most necessary question we can ask ourselves.

Typically, though, it goes unasked and unanswered.

Remember Your Purpose

We entrepreneurs got into business for a reason. We had a vision, a dream. Then we started doing things, business things…acquiring employees, clients, stuff, expenses, habits, and assumptions.

A great deal of creative energy goes into initially building a business, but once we get to a certain level of success, most of us become complacent. We don’t want to go back to the scary space of not knowing exactly what tomorrow looks like. What we tend to forget, though, is that that space wasn’t just scary; it was fun. It was also necessary.

Once we find success, the tendency is to cling to it. We don’t own it; it owns us. It tells us what is possible and what is not. It tells us what is OK to want, to dream about, and not. It becomes our fence.

But we’re entrepreneurs. That’s why we did this in the first place. For us, there are no fences, or at least there weren’t, once, maybe quite a while ago.

We help our clients market their firms in the most efficient way possible. That’s our mission. Even though we’ve changed drastically over the past 21 years, that thread has always been there. It’s taken a lot of work, fear-facing, and risk-taking to see what that really means, and to redefine our business to get as close to that as possible. I’m under no illusion that we’re done. It’s my hope that we never get anywhere close to ‘done.’ Done is a fallacy. ‘Done’ is a lie we tell ourselves as we watch our creativity, ambition, and vision die so slowly we don’t even notice.

Because we focus on helping marketers better market themselves, we’ve had a lot of time to become deeply acquainted with the fundamental nature of marketing. Here it is:

Marketing is the endless belief in and the pursuit of a better future.

In order for marketing to work for you, though, you have to think about the future. You have to think about what you want.

 

Marketing is the endless belief in and the pursuit of a better future.

Forget About the Fence

One of the most undervalued necessary components of growth is forgetfulness. To properly envision your firm’s best future, you need to forget your present. All those things I mentioned that we start collecting when we start (or buy) our businesses, they’re each slats in the fence we build around ourselves. We need to forget about the fence.

So many entrepreneurs end up selling, shutting down, or slowly dying inside their businesses because of the fence. They let the fence of the present dictate their future, and therefore the future is dead. It’s the same as the present.

Consider trying this on. Try forgetting about your fence. Give your mind an experimental, commitment-free, playful momentary holiday and ask yourself: ‘A year from now, what kind of work should my firm be doing? Who should we really be working with? Doing what, exactly?’

Asking those questions, unencumbered by fear (this will take practice), is the first step to recommitting to a vibrant entrepreneurial life. It’s also the first step to becoming an incredibly effective marketing organization.

Why not consider becoming the entrepreneur you once were, this time for good? Why not put yourself in the position of permanently envisioning a better future for your firm? Forget about the fence. Reestablish your relationship to your own marketing so that it can be the only thing it was ever meant to be: a means to making the better future you’re constantly envisioning a constant reality.

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