The process of starting this community, this blog and in writing my book has given me a chance to interface with some of the most amazing people.  There is a huge and thriving homesteading world out there, and so many of us want to branch away from the mainstream, and just immerse ourselves in the homesteading life.  It seems so simple on paper.  I don’t want to work for The Man anymore, so I will just start my own business.  I will sell natural eggs, or plants from my garden.  The widgets change, but the basics stay the same.  Build a great product, mention it  little, and people will beat a path to your door to buy it.  If you are lucky enough for that to happen to your, that’s amazing.  Go for it.  In all likelihood though, that’s not how it will play out.

This is fresh on my mind because it has come up repeatedly in the last few days with some friends of mine, as well as some people I have met by chance.  They either have a product already, or they are thinking of creating one, and they are really doing themselves a disservice.  Whether its a book, or a business plan, or a product, you are all making the same mistake.  I don’t want to be specific with anyone, because I don’t want anyone to get offended, but you shouldn’t  be anyway.  So many of us are making the same mistakes.  I have a little bit of mindset adjustment for you today, then some more concrete tips for you tomorrow.

I have a great desire for any small business person to succeed.  I shop locally whenever I can.  I try to support businesses that give me good service.  I look for positive options when I can.  I have no greater desire than to see the dreams of all of my friends lead them to freedom from “The Man”.

I have been in sales for my entire adult life in one form or another.  Most of that time has been selling consumer electronics, but I have had stints in moving other large ticket items, including a brief failed experiment in selling insurance.  I have made a living for my wife and I, through my ability to sell a product.  I have acknowledged that I am in sales, and they pay me to be good at it.  More importantly, I AM good at it.  In a small moment of self adulation here, I recently crossed the $1 Million mark in sales at my current employer, which is pretty impressive.  That part isn’t important to the story, but I am damn proud of myself so I threw it in.

You are in sales too.  You just might not think of it.  In fact, you probably don’t.  What do you think of when you think of a sales person?

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Maybe this?

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Maybe if you turned off the 80s channel you are thinking of this?

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Yes, those are all sales people.  You have either been one of you haven’t, but I would say 99% of the people reading this right now have been through this.

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That’s a job interview where the woman sold herself.  If you have ever gotten a job, you sold yourself.  If you didn’t get hired, you sold yourself POORLY.  So yes, you are in sales.  Sales is simply another way of saying you convince somebody to do something you want them to do.  Married?  You are in sales.  Trying to get the kids to do something, but don’t feel like yelling?  You are in sales.  The moment you start thinking of it that way, the moment you will do better with your business.

The conversation that brought this up today happened in the most unlikely place.  I stopped to get some fresh alfalfa for the girls at the feed store today.  I stop at the same place about once a week, so the guys recognize me by now.  I got into a conversation with the loader guy, and I found out that he is an amateur photographer.

Now, he started off great.  I personally don’t give a crap about art.  If you do, awesome.  I just don’t get it.  Other than a mild interest in old propaganda ads, I don’t really care.  This guy though was doing a great job of getting me excited about his work.  He was telling me about his latest piece.  A picture of a cow, just alone and silhouetted against the backdrop of the Tucson mountains.  He described it in such detail, that I was actually intrigued.  He told me how he had this great site setup were it was really easy to order stuff and how he just uploaded it this morning.  He also told me the name of the site, and his username on there, which would probably allow me to look it up.

So why don’t I have a picture preview of his work in here, or a link to the site?  Because he didn’t realize he was in a sales engagement, and he failed at it.  I am not being mean.  I gave him some tips, which I will share with you guys tomorrow.  I straight up told him that I wouldn’t remember the name of the site, or his username.  He didn’t even have a piece of paper to write it down on.  My brain doesn’t hold that stuff, and neither does anyone else’s.

His problem is that he doesn’t realize he hasn’t harnessed his greatest asset.  Himself.  Every time you talk to someone about what you do, you have an opportunity to make a sale.  If you go into that with he intent that you will move some product, you are significantly more likely to succeed.  He doesn’t realize he is in sales selling his art, so he isn’t.  He is relying on a construct to do that for him, and that won’t work.  No tip, no trick, no website, no book will make up for that for you.

Like I said above, I have some tips and suggestions to help you succeed in your business, and I will cover those tomorrow.  What you need to realize today is that you are your greatest asset to making your business succeed.  Whatever you make or produce, I can find someone else who makes it.  What I can’t find, is another you.  No one else will convey your passion like you.  No one will pound the pavement like you.  No one will motivate to close a sale like you.  No one will deliver the same level of service as you.  IF, you realize that YOU need to sell it.  You are the single biggest thing that will make your business succeed, and YOU are the single biggest thing that will make it fail.  Realize that in your mind, an sell yourself to the world.

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