1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
From my experience, an imperative essential to any undertaking in entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult to practice: patience. In 2009, I started my business with high hopes and outside influences praising me with optimistic promises of grandeur and sales beyond my wildest dreams. I have been working with entrepreneurs long enough (since 1988) to know it takes much more than a great idea and a flock of supporters to merely break even, let alone make “a lot” of money. The biggest financial goal for me was to get in the black. Self publishing is not cheap (with my specialized product) and I would never have been able to do it had I not had my husband and his income financing the endeavor. The dream would have taken five years instead of six months and may not have taken life at all if I had to have a full-time job along with working diligently to “sell” my product.
The Marketing budget for my new startup was about $100.00 (if that) for business cards and things I needed for speaking gigs – nothing more, no postcards, no flyers, nada. Marketing Plan: contact every news entity in every industry that fit into my “category” (funeral home, deathcare, aftercare, Hospice, houses of worship, financial planners, bookstores, many more) as well as any newspapers I thought someone may have an interest, boomer writers, women’s interest, local story; if I could draw a line from them to me or my product, I contacted them. With a “schpeel” that runs anywhere from 600-900 words – I realize this is entirely too many words, but my product is so specialized all are necessary – I tell my story in the shortest way possible to spark interest. I stopped keeping track of all the people and entities I contacted (always individually, never a mass email) due to the lack of reliable data it would give me (how did I even know they got my email? etc.) My hypothesis would be that I have contacted well over 200 and from that, 17 entities that have published a feature story, endorsement, interview, book review (a couple in the works as of this writing) or something similar singing the praises of the book, nothing negative – yet.
Where does patience come in here? Due to the internet and many media outlets falling under one entity, I discovered (what many already know) that if a story gets printed in one newspaper, it is very likely that the story will be printed in another paper, in another town, and possibly another state. This has helped my marketing (sales) tremendously. The first article printed was in my hometown of Galesburg, Illinois. When I googled myself, I found the story was in a dozen other online newspapers in other states! It was very exciting.
The last article written was in early October 2010. I was on the cover of the Lifestyle section of the Star Tribune. Hundreds of sales followed the article. Last week I got an order from an independent bookstore in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was thrilled. The book is in a few bookstores in Minnesota, but none outside my state. I asked them how they found out about the book, he replied, “someone came in asking about it and they said they saw an article about it a month or so ago” and I thanked him for the info.
The best marketing I have had has been free. Believe me, I know it is not easy, but it is worth every email and who knows what could come of something I sent six months ago to someone? Patience is key.