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Can’t-Miss Marketing: Just Ask

Can’t-Miss Marketing: Just Ask
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    In the year since I started blogging, I’ve gotten a bunch of freelance writing gigs and regular jobs writing all over the Web. But, initially, no one offered them to me. I had this blog I was proud of, a super-cool design, and yet the offers didn’t flood in. Crazy, right? Tell me about it.

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    I finally decided that if I wanted something to happen, I had to go and get it. So I did the simplest thing I could think of: I just asked for it. I wrote to a bunch of different sites, and asked if they needed writers. I pitched a few ideas, used my blog as a resume, and offered my services.

    I couldn’t give you an exact number, but the response rate to my emails was extraordinarily low. Let’s just say that if I were a baseball player with that batting average, I wouldn’t be a baseball player much longer. Only a couple of people responded at all, and a few of those turned into the jobs I got initially as a freelance blogger. But my batting average wasn’t high.

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    And it didn’t matter. For the opportunities that didn’t come my way, all it cost me was a few minutes of my time to send an email. The hour it took to write ten emails, even if it only generated one response, was well worth it just for that one response.

    I got my dream job this summer from exactly the same thing: I sent an email. I can’t explain why it worked, or why I got a response instead of the hundred or so other people my boss got applications from. It worked, though, and for one reason: I asked. If I never heard back, so be it; it’s a wasted ten minutes. But I did, and it became a fantastic experience for me.

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    Simply asking is the most useful marketing tool I’ve ever discovered. You can have a spectacular resume, the most polished skill set, and the perfect passions for a job or opportunity, but if you don’t ask for it, who’s going to know you want it? Asking, handled the right way, leads to nothing but positive results.

    If you’re anything like me, you’re afraid of asking for things – especially things you really want. I think the problem is that we so fear getting turned down that we run away, in order to be able to somehow hold out hope that we’re good enough for it. Asking, and getting rejected, would somehow only prove our failure and our ineptness for what we really want.

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    The reality, though, is that there are a ton of reasons why an opportunity didn’t come along, most of which have nothing to do with you being a failure: there’s timing, restrictions, personality issues, and a whole litany of other reasons why the opportunity’s not right for you at the moment. Maybe your email just got lost, or maybe the person doesn’t like people with your name – whatever it is, not winning mean doesn’t mean you’re a loser. That can be hard to understand, but not getting down because your batting average isn’t perfect is key to success.

    The more opportunities you put yourself out for, the more you’ll get. Do you want something, whether it’s a job, a cookie, or something else? Ask for it. Do it in a respectful, productive way, and you’ll get a response in kind – even if it’s no. Don’t let the no’s bog you down, and remember: the second “Yes!” is always easier than the first.

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    Thanks to simply asking, I’m now writing for ten or so websites I never dreamed would care what I had to say, working for the man with the career I want, and loving every minute of it. All because I asked for it.

    What can you ask for? A better job, more responsibility, more fun, more money, something else? What is there to lose?

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
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    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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