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It don’t mean a thing…

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I spent a lot of time swing dancing when I was single. It got me away from the computer but I was frustrated because I wasn’t meeting people I wanted to date. To mix things up I tried salsa dancing for a while, but I soon knew my heart wasn’t in it. I was spending a lot of time getting to know people who enjoyed a lifestyle that wasn’t right for me (no offense, salsa dancers). So I went back to what I loved and trusted that opportunities would follow. Today I’m happily married to a great swing dancer.

The same principles apply when you’re marketing your own business. If you try to portray yourself as something that you’re not, two things will happen:

  1. You’ll end up with cookie-cutter marketing that doesn’t differentiate your business (beware the phrase “for all your ________________ needs”), and worse,
  2. You’ll attract clients you don’t want to work for. 

I recently applied this lesson to my own company, throwing out the pseudo-corporate business model I’ve been using for seven years and embracing my authentic personality. The new approach spooks a few of my corporate buddies but it’s the real me talking. What’s more, it’s designed to resonate with the type of people I enjoy doing business with the most. (I even mention my Philosophy degree on the new website.)

At the same time, I’ve dramatically narrowed the mix of prospects I’m going after. I’ll still write for a wide range of clients, but I’m focusing my marketing efforts on sustainable companies and the creative agencies that support them. That’s the stuff I really love doing, so why not concentrate my prospecting efforts there?

I have no doubt that this new approach will discourage some prospects who might have called in the past. That’s okay, because I’ve reached the point where anyone who will be turned off by my bona fide voice isn’t someone I want to work with. At the same time I know I’m opening myself up to new opportunities that I’ll find far more exciting and fulfilling. Doesn’t your freelance business deserve the same approach?

Tom Tumbusch is a freelance copywriter specializing in Green businesses and the creative agencies that serve them. Check out his new, more authentic identity at

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