My first real paying job was babysitting.
I raked in a cool buck-fifty an hour and was far too young to be in charge of people as young as babies. Sometimes I made two bucks an hour if the parents were really drunk when they got home and were a little loose with their checkbook.
This was in the early 80s, so late night TV was nowhere close to what it is now. Sure, I could watch Saturday Night Live, Midnight Special or Don Kershner’s Rock Concert.
But after that, it was very slim pickings.
The only decent option was an infomercial with this young guy named Tony Robbins (yes, that Tony Robbins) who would teach people how to get a Visa card. His offer? Cassette tapes. (I told you it was the 80s!)
This is long before his Date with Destiny events that attract thousands of people from around the world, or his other products that have made him multi-multi-multi-millionaire several times over.
Also in the early 80s, a band from Ireland came to America for their first tour, debuting at The Ritz in New York City. They didn’t have a deep catalog, so they played some songs three times. Their name? U2.
That was long before they became one of the most iconic rock bands in the world, selling out stadiums and bringing the house down at Live Aid (still the best version of their song “Bad” in the world) and starting RED.
If you were at the Off-Ramp Cafe in Seattle In 1990, you may have caught Pearl Jam playing their first show. Eight songs. This was a few years before selling out huge venues like Soldier’s Field in Chicago and becoming my favorite band of all time, a neck and neck tie with The Who. And well before their 40-song sets that leave me in a lather.
When I started my first job in advertising, I was an account coordinator at an ad agency in Chicago making about the same amount of money I made when I was babysitting. That was long before I ran branding and marketing at huge national companies, which was long before I started my own agency.
Meaning, we all have to start somewhere. And usually, that somewhere is nowhere close to where we end up.
Marketing your business works the exact same way.
You need to start at the beginning - setting your brand foundation, knowing your customers, creating a winning offer and solid content strategy, and then a plan for promotion. From there you tweak and evolve and grow.
It just doesn’t work the other way.
When you’re feeling angsty about not being further along, remember that everyone you admire – and I mean everyone – started at the beginning.
And remind yourself that you’re in great company.
I’m rooting for you!