As people go through life and learn more, they often say, “I wish I knew then, what I know now.” This was true for myself when I started to really dive into marketing. When I started out in my legal career, I didn’t know anything about marketing and I didn’t think it was worth my time to worry about it when I could be doing excellent legal work. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Knowing what I know now about marketing and how effective and necessary it is for a thriving career, I kick myself thinking about all the years I wasted not marketing. I think of all the contacts I lost touch with, all the opportunities I let slide away, and all the things I have could have learned earlier.
So, I am writing this note to urge you to avoid making the mistakes I did earlier in my career. If you are working crazy hours and can’t find time to market, consider weaving in even 10 minutes a day for career building. Or, if you are like a younger Bruce, and you are too pigheaded to listen about marketing and the importance of it, poke your head up for just a minute and consider maybe you might be missing something.
Ultimately, there is nothing that will be more important to your building a successful career than marketing yourself within the industry that you are practicing.
So consider taking the time to not make my regrets yours. Here are some of my biggest regrets.
I loathed marketing and avoided it as much as I could. Instead, get excited about it. Read about it. Have fun with it. It really is about as exciting as anything anywhere.
I let a zillion people I met over the years slip away through the sands of time. Instead, don’t let a contact get away. When a prospect tells you, “Toby we simply cannot hire you, as the boss’s brother is our lawyer.” Most people then give up, but don’t. The prospect may not stay there — the boss may change — the boss’s lawyer could retire or go in-house. All sorts of things can happen. Letting a contact in your industry wither on the vine is a “Marketing Felony” (my phrase).
I sat in my office and cranked out work. I never left my office. It was foolish of me. Instead, get out and about and hang around with people. Nothing will happen if you don’t do that. But of course you already know this from my prior writings.
I never read the real estate industry publications. Why should I? I was getting paid to work hours and reading the newspaper isn’t that. Big mistake! How could I be useful — really useful — to clients if I am not up on every industry trend so I can be a true business advisor? Answer is I cannot, and therefore I was useless. Don’t do this. Instead, read every single thing you can ever single day so you know a ton about the industry that your clients work in.
And I was so afraid. So afraid of making a fool of myself. That I never did anything at all. Of course I understand this natural emotion. The way it changed for me was 10 years ago when I saw my career flash before my eyes and concluded that conquering fear of failure was easier than simply flushing my career down the toilet. So don’t be what I was. Just go out and try things. Worst case is you will fail and the sun will still rise on you and your career the next day.
So these are my biggest regrets. I don’t want to live in the past and beat myself up too much and things are just fine right now; however, I know if I had done the opposite of what I did years ago I would be a notch more successful today.