Kelford Labs Weekly: Stopping Confidently

How to know when you've done enough marketing.

Kelford Labs Weekly: Stopping Confidently

I talk a lot about consistency, pace, and sticking with things.

But how do you know when to stop? Like, at the end of the day. The end of the week. The end of a project.

What’s enough?

A lot of entrepreneurs I work with talk about the sensation of guilt. You can always work, when you work for yourself, which means it can feel like you should always work.

So when it comes to your marketing, how do you let yourself off the hook? How do you know when enough is truly enough and you can take a break, take a step back, and take some time to do something else?

Here’s the rubric I use. I ask myself:

1) Have I helped?

2) If not, will this help?

3) If yes, what will get hurt?

Let’s take these one at a time. 

Have I Helped?

First, if it’s the end of the day and I’m wondering if I can stop, or if I should write another newsletter, post something on LinkedIn, or do some client outreach, I ask myself: “Have I already helped?”

As in, have I done something today that has demonstrated my value at a distance to my very best customers?

It doesn’t have to be much, but it must be something. A LinkedIn post counts. Writing a blog counts. Sending an outreach note counts.

Notably, merely thinking about doing any of these things doesn’t count. Adding some numbers to a tracking spreadsheet, reading someone else’s marketing advice online, or jotting down some ideas I’ll get to later—those don’t count. They might be necessary, but they’re insufficient.

So I make sure I do something that actually helps. Something that demonstrates, doesn't just meditate, on my value.

But let’s say I haven’t helped yet, how do I decide what to do next?

Will This Help?

There are a million things we could do, at any given time, for our marketing. And that’s not a feature, it’s a bug. It’s a problem, because how do you decide what to do in the moment?

Well, you take a look at your options and you ask: Will this help?

For instance, if it’s the end of the day and I’m wondering if I should write an outreach email or post on social, I ask myself which one is more likely to actually help, versus merely make me feel like I’ve done something.

Which opportunity in front of me will best demonstrate my value to the people who matter to me most?

Churning out some jargon to thoughtlessly shove onto LinkedIn ain’t it. But thoughtfully crafting a message that demonstrates my value, by delivering a little bit of it, might.

And it doesn’t have to be much, but it must be something real. Something valuable. Something truly useful to the people I hope will see it.

And once I know what I want to do and what will help, there’s one more question to ask.

What Will This Hurt?

Nothing is costless, everything involves a trade. Social media, for example, is in no way free. It costs time, energy, enthusiasm, and mental resources.

So, will writing a long, thoughtful post add to your end-of-day sensation of burnout?

Will writing and sending an outreach email take more out of you than you’re likely to get back?

Will spending money on ads break the bank?

Because, to stop confidently, we need to feel like we’ve made progress, not set ourselves even further back.

I’ll be painfully honest for a second: I’m writing this newsletter a lot closer to publishing than I normally would. I’m pretty tired and I don’t want to make myself even more tired when there’s still so much work left to do.

So you know what? I asked myself: What could I do that might help my readers without hurting me?

And telling you the truth, telling you the process I go through when I’m in this very situation fit that bill perfectly.

Telling you how I deal with guilt and anxiety about marketing helps without hurting, demonstrates value without diminishing my mental resources.

Let’s face it: To keep the demon dogs of marketing guilt at bay, sometimes you’ve just got to throw them a bone.

You’ve got to demonstrate to yourself that you’ve done good, that you’ve done enough, and that you’re done for the day or the week.

So if you’re struggling to get your marketing done, and if you’re wondering if you can just stop, ask yourself:

Have I helped? And if not, what will help? And once you’ve decided, make sure you don’t hurt yourself when you do it.

So, do enough, and then stop.

So you can do enough tomorrow, and the day after that.

For as long as you want to.

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