Are You Selling? Or Falling Victim to the 5 Biggest Excuses

In addition to her wildly successful career as a freelance writer for publications like Entrepreneur and Forbes, Carol Tice has created an enviable income for herself telling other writers exactly how to follow in her footsteps.

As she’s talked to countless struggling freelancers over the years, she’s found one common thread:

When she asks people who don’t have enough clients what their marketing plan is, they usually don’t have one. They’re usually not marketing regularly at all.

Advice can only take you so far if you’re not putting in the work.

If you feel like you aren’t bringing in new clients, check and see if you are falling victim to one of these classic five excuses for not getting out there and selling your products and services.

#1 I Don’t Know Enough to Market

This is a double-edged sword.

If you really, actually don’t know enough about your new field or your own business—or what you want it to be—to start putting it out there, you can hurt yourself by rushing it.

That said, there are tons of ways to safely put yourself and your new business out there even when you don’t have a lot of experience.

The important thing is to ask yourself:

Do I actually not know enough? Or am I afraid?

#2 I Don’t Have My Branding Ready for a Sales Push

Feeling like you can’t start selling because your logo, your website, your email newsletter, and your invoicing software aren’t ready yet is a common way to keep your business grounded.

For years.

Unlike feeling like you can’t sell because you don’t know enough, thinking you can’t sell because [insert branding area or marketing tool here] isn’t ready yet is just classic procrastination.

If your website (or whatever) isn’t what you’d like because you don’t have the money to hire a designer yet, get out there and earn some money to pay for it!

If you don’t have the perfect business name, just use your own name for now. Incorporating or setting up an LLC can come later.

#3 I Don’t Have Time to Market

We’ve tackled the Freelance-Mom no-time fallacy several times here:

But the reality is that we are incredibly busy as moms, and launching a new business at the same time, especially in today’s world of ever-changing online marketing, takes time that shouldn’t be underestimated.

It is okay to build your business slowly. But you have to take steps to make sure it grows.

If your business isn’t growing at all or as you’d like, get another hour of babysitting, hire a cleaner, or, if you don’t have any non-work work left to optimize, change some of your working hours over to (better) marketing.

#4: I Already Spend Tons of Time Marketing

Notice that though the title of this post is “Are You Selling?,” I’ve spent a lot of time talking about marketing. That’s because they should be linked.

However, the problem for a lot of struggling FreelanceMoms is that they aren’t. People feel like they are marketing, but they aren’t getting business.

We’ve already talked about a few of the reasons for that:

  • Endlessly tweaking your website is not marketing
  • Endlessly researching how to market is not marketing
  • Endlessly thinking about marketing without actually reaching out to prospects is not marketing

But we haven’t talked about how continuing to do the same types of marketing that don’t actually bring in any sales is also not marketing.

As the maxim commonly attributed to Albert Einstein goes:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Do you spend a lot of time applying to job ads on Craig’s List, for example? Use BloggingPro, Problogger, or Journalism Job instead. Or, better yet, find your own clients from scratch.

Have you exhausted your network asking them to tell people about your new graphic design business? Check out the websites of local businesses, see who could use an overhaul, and give them a call.

Has the well of coaching clients from your webinar series with some big name coach dried up? Start guest blogging on PsychologyToday.com or a large site that’s related to your type of coaching but not about coaching—so you don’t have competition.

#5: I’m Too Busy with the Work I Have

Related to excuse number one, this one is a doozy. If you aren’t marketing because you’re so busy with work, ask yourself:

Are you making as much money as you want to make?

Because if you are working a lot and not hitting your income goals, something is wrong.  Maybe it is time to look at your business model.

We talked recently how charging low prices when you first start your business has a host of downsides, but the worst is getting stuck working too many hours for too little money.

You should always be doing some marketing for your business to make sure you have options in case you lose a client or all your projects wrap up at once—but also because you should always be raising your prices.

You current clients are used to paying a certain price and it can be hard to get huge raises from them, so the best way to charge more is by bringing in new business.

Don’t you want to earn more for the work you already do? Then get out there!

What holds you back from marketing and selling?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.

  • This is a wonderful article. I used to fall victim of #2 (I Don’t Have My Branding Ready for a Sales Push). But, thankfully I pushed myself out of that. I find that at the beginning we make a lot of excuses due to fear. Thanks for the great post! I’m sure it will be helpful to many.

  • Courtney Barry

    I’m awful with excuses but I have two beautiful children who need everything I can give them. With that being said, I’m not sure exactly when to start. I’ve been reading everything I can to get an idea of what I want to brand myself as.