So I decided to follow-up with four more things I wish I knew when I started in offline marketing.
1) Seeking the perfect contact method. From the sheer volume of threads of people seeking the "magic bullet" and the popularity of even the most mediocre WSOs on how to get clients, I'd give anything to go back in time and do this part over.
What I learned: ALL methods work. Eh? It's true. Some work better than others, sure, but to say that ONE method is hands down the best...I'd just be embarrassing myself. We all have a different combination of skills and assets and we all service different areas and different types of business owners. AND we all have fear (at some level) of contacting business owners. The one's that bang their chest and advertise they have no fear are the most scared. You know this.
If I had only read the book "Ready, Fire, Aim " (not an affiliate link to make 23 cents, so no worries) sooner I would have just picked the FIRST method that sounded "good enough" and would have refused to try any other, read about any other, bought numerous WSOs on others, until I had that selected one working well. In hindsight I get most of my business from referrals, so how I came out of the gate is kind of irrelevant at this point.
My advice is to pick any ONE method and work the $#@^% out of it. It WILL work, then try something else. If it isn't the best strategy that's OK...but please message me me if that bothers you when you are cashing checks.
2) Grrrrr, this one is embarrassing. I spent the first 4-6 months targeting prospects SOLELY on SEO, Google Places, social media, and public relations because that was what I knew best. Foolish. Now, I sell mostly web design, offline materials (forms, cards, etc.), and ecommerce sites...all things I barely knew and still am not an expert on. BUT, it took a whole 24 hrs to find someone that did and now it is just money.
I still wonder "how did I get here" with these ancillary services but the reality is by going in and finding out what a business NEEDS/WANTS is a much easier sell than trying to shove down their throat first page of Google and Facebook this or that skin.
Most businesses are still in the dinosaur age and not willing to come hold your hand to see the field of dreams. So, instead, meet them halfway and take care of some of their other marketing needs and once you have that trust ←read that again, you can sell them anything. You've heard it before, but people do business with people they know, like, and trust.
3) Ignore the haterade. There are a lot of haters out there. I was guilty of being interested in many different things (strategies, WSOs, books, industries to target, etc.) and would find myself finally ready to pull the trigger on something...when I would come across a hater or a negative comment and use it as an excuse to prevent from taking action. You've never done that, right? We all have (except the chest beaters in #1...you're awesome).
If I could go back in time, and just follow my gut a little more, I'd be even further along than I am now and would have save MANY, MANY, MANY overanalysis hours. Wouldn't that be nice?
4) The mistake of trying to do everything perfect. WHEW! What a PEBKAC issue. This was especially prominent in my early SEO days. I was outsourcing like crazy, because I thought that was the key to success...but the double checking of all the work being done was a total nightmare and probably took longer than just doing everything myself. Damn you you sexy sounding blogs, podcasts, and forum threads on outsourcing!
I probably jumped into the hiring of people way sooner than I should of and I got REALLY lucky with my people as I've had all great people working for me (from VAs to even ODESK help). Every time I see a frustrated outsourcing thread, I am grateful that I have had nothing but great experiences.
If I could do it over, I'd use more services and less people. It is just much easier to send off orders to companies/websites and not have to worry about someone's electrical issue or other problems.
Finding good vendors and just using them over-and-over again is the key to my success now.
Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary. This isn't a WSO, so there's no refunds. I have no plans of selling a WSO because I have no time. To be 100% transparent I wrote this post 80% because of the great response from the last one and 20% to build up my newsletter...I'm a jerk like that.
Hope this helps someone.