For as long as I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve noticed that there are many lessons for business owners to learn about marketing from politicians and visa versa. It’s fascinated me endlessly over the years, and believe it or not, has actually helped me grow my business in ways I would have never imagined. I’ve learned from what politicians do very well, and I’ve also learned a lot from their (many) mistakes.
After all, politicians need to promote themselves just like entrepreneurs do — and they are especially similar to service-preneurs because just like service-preneurs, politicians themselves ARE their product. They need to be branded and to do outreach and communicate their value in order to gain voters and followers.
Of course, there is a ton about politics I dislike and would never recommend for authentic, in-integrity business owners. But there is also some really great stuff.
As I’ve been watching the Democratic Primaries unfold, it has presented a number of tools, tips, Truths and messages for entrepreneurs, and I want to share with you some of the highlights you can learn from some of the candidates:
Hillary Clinton — Don’t be Scared of Haters or Rejection
Whatever your opinion of Hillary, one thing is for sure: she is a woman who has not run away or hidden under a rock or backed down from marketing & outreach simply because there are people out there who don’t like her. Hillary has been called every name in the book. She has been criticized up the wazoo. I even saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Hillary for Prison 2016".
Just 1% of this criticism would be enough to make many entrepreneurs cry and give up. I speak to so many entrepreneurs who are scared to really put themselves out there. They fear the outreach and the marketing and the visibility will leave them vulnerable to haters, to people who don’t like them or believe in what they have to offer. The fear of rejection or criticism can be paralyzing, and lots of times entrepreneurs end up not doing outreach (or effective outreach) because of this.
What entrepreneurs can learn from Hillary is that if you are committed to a goal, and if you are committed to bringing your message to the world, don’t let potential Haters stop you. Perhaps you can even let the criticism make you stronger.
(Inner work question: Where are the places in your business that you’ve been hiding out of fear of rejection?)
Bernie Sanders — Speak Your Truth, Especially when it’s Anti-Establishment
Lots of folks are surprised that Bernie has been able to gain the amount of support and loyalty that he’s received so far: He’s too out-of-the-box. He’s too anti-establishment. He’s too radical.
I’m not surprised one bit that he’s created a huge following.
Here’s why: Bernie’s ideas (whether you believe they are all fully viable or not) poke holes into the current establishment, poke holes into the standard ways that things are being done and have been done for a long time. That, along with his passion about his beliefs and ideas is a convincing combination for any voter that is feeling stuck, fed up, annoyed or disappointed with how things are right now.
This is phenomenally effective as a marketing strategy. I’ve seen it work in radical ways in my own business:
I’ve always quietly spoken out about the parts of the coaching industry that I felt were misaligned, but about two years ago I began allowing myself to be fully seen in my beliefs. I’ve been speaking boldly and loudly about any practices I see as out-of-integrity or misleading in the coaching industry. And guess what? This has brought in so many excited new clients and new community members. It has struck a deep, deep chord, and there has been a magnetism to my fresh ideas & speaking the truth as I see it.
Now, of course, my Truth speaking wasn’t originally developed as a marketing strategy. It was born out of my fundamental desire to help women who were flailing in their business and falling into the traps of the coaching industry. My anti-establishment ideas, coupled with my passion & deep mission for helping women, is what has made it so effective.
(Inner work question: On what ideas and in what ways could you be speaking more of your Truth in your business? In what ways are you different from the established ideas in your industry?)
Joe Biden: Know Your Priorities
For a month or two, political pundits and basically nearly everyone was speculating at whether or not Joe would throw his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. I actually got a little bit teary-eyed last week when he made his announcement that he wouldn’t be running.
The reason I got emotional is because his reasons for not running were so very real and so very valid, and in my opinion so very important: After his son Beau died this past year, Joe made a very conscious decision to make time to grieve. He understood that he and his family need space. Needed to be together. Needed to go through the process of grieving.
Joe could have made the decision to put aside his pain and his family’s need for him to be available so that he could get his campaign together. But instead – and I think this was an act of courage and integrity – Joe was clear on his priorities. He knew he couldn’t jump into a presidential campaign this year and honor his grieving process at the same time.
Too often, I speak to entrepreneurs who put their business before their physical, mental and emotional health. I know I have fallen into that trap, too. And what I’ve come to learn is that your life and ultimately your business always thrive more when you are in integrity with your personal health. Whether you love or hate Joe Biden’s politics, I think that as Vice President he has been an amazing role model in knowing his priorities, being clear on what he does or doesn’t have space for, and acting by it.
(Inner work question: Are there places where you are betraying your physical, emotional or mental health in your business?)
If you would like to learn how to run your business so that you Move past the Fear of Rejection, are fully Speaking Your Truth, and always Act by Your Priorities, get in touch for a complimentary call! Together we’ll get clear on where you’re at in your business, where you’d like to go, where you’re stuck and how I can help. You can apply here.