Jan 2005: Our swimming pool business is in shambles. My two business partners and I have just found out that we’ve suffered a major embezzlement of about $200,000. Not only that, but the IRS is after us and has put liens on our homes. I’ve never worked so hard to experience so much stress and hardship. Frankly, it’s depressing, and I wish it would just all go away.
Nov 2008: For 3 years we have fought tooth and nail to bring our business out of this hole. And just when we see the light, the economy has tanked. Banks are failing everywhere. Consumer confidence, especially for luxury items like swimming pools, is in shambles. I can’t believe this is happening again. Many swimming pool companies are already closing shop. We’ve worked too hard and come too close to fail now.
March 2009: I just stumbled across a company called Hubspot and learned about inbound marketing. This makes complete sense to me. Finally, I can take control of our website despite my tech deficiencies and also do what I do best—teach. But now I’m going to do this thing they call ‘blogging’. Dumb name, but hey, the concept makes sense. If I just answer consumer questions Google will reward me with more visits, which should ultimately turn to leads and then sales. Despite the ‘recession’ our country is in, I believe this is our answer, and I’m going to make it work. Even better, for the first time in years, I’m excited to be a business owner again.
Nov. 2009: Wow, I’m shocked at these last 7 months. This ‘inbound marketing’ stuff is amazing. We have somehow survived this year, even though so many of our competitors have gone out of business with the economy. Everyone keeps telling me there is no one buying, but I’m glad they’re not looking at my website analytics, because they indicate otherwise.
Also, I’ve decided to start another blog because I sense an insatiable desire to help other businesses experience the success I’m finding through inbound marketing. The site will be called The Sales Lion, and something tells me it just may change my life.
Sept. 2010: What a year it has been. The economy is still in peril, but my swimming pool company continues to thrive. All of the blogging we’ve done over the past 18 months has put us literally on top of the industry. Leads and sales are strong and we’ve never spent less in advertising and marketing. This thing is like a snowball rolling down a mountain, and it’s just amazing to sit back and watch it grow. I think we’re going to actually turn a nice profit this year….simply unbelievable.
As for The Sales Lion, things have grown slowly. It has been a struggle at times, as I honestly thought growth would come quicker. Notwithstanding, my resilience is undeterred, as I’m committed to this for the long haul, and I know a tipping point will eventually come.
March 2011: Wow, my pool company is going great and The Sales Lion is doing even better. About 4 months ago I seriously committed to building my online network and community (as before I’d just been writing) and the results have been profound. The number of active readers has taken off. People are talking and now I’m getting more and more companies asking me for help with inbound marketing. Life is going very fast now, it’s almost hard to keep up, but it appears that the tipping point has finally arrived.
August 2011: Where should I start? It’s only August and my swimming pool company has pools to install practically until the end of the year, something we’ve never come close to experiencing this early before. We’ve gotten more leads this year than in the previous 2 combined. My business partners and I just sit back and watch the pings on our Blackberries come in with one lead after another looking for someone to come out and sell them a swimming pool….very exciting to say it in the least.
In all honesty though, we deserve it. We committed to being the premier teachers in our industry and that’s exactly what we are. When I put my site on Hubspot’s platform in March of 2009 it only had 20 total pages. Today it has about 600 or so. Each and every day we get calls from around the country from folks asking us if we’d be willing to travel out to them and install their swimming pool. Sadly, we have to turn many down, as we’re limited to Va and Md, but the lesson remains the same—consumers trust those persons that are willing to openly and honestly give as much helpful information as possible.
Financially, the company has never been better. At this point and time, we have almost no debt. The embezzlement and IRS are a distant memory. And it feels very, very good.
Time to Run Free
But that’s not the only thing that is changing. For quite some time I have felt like a stallion, caged-up by my pool business commitments, yet wanting so badly to run free so as to pursue my other interests. Up until this point, I have been unable to break free, but the impacts of inbound marketing are now allowing me to do just that.
This week (Aug 8-12) will be my last full time week at River Pools and Spas. It’s almost surreal to say it, but it’s happening. No more will I drive 5-8 hours daily to go on sales appointments. My only duties will be the company’s inbound marketing, which will take 10-15 hours per week, and the rest will be taken care of by commissioned sales persons.
Now that I’m able to run wild, I can’t even start to express my excitement, as The Sales Lion has now entered a new phase as well. Businesses are contacting me on a weekly basis seeking for someone to give them a vision of inbound and content marketing. What’s crazy is that I haven’t even pushed my services hard up to this point. But that’s how inbound marketing works. You gain trust through great information, not silly sales pitches, which is why clients and companies come to you, versus the other way around.
As an example, next month I’ll be speaking at a variety of businesses and events around the country. In fact, here is a small glimpse of my schedule, as I’d love to meet some of you there:
- Sept 7th– Speaking at Junta 42’s Content Marketing World (If you haven’t seen the list of folks speaking here, you really may want to consider checking it out.)
- Sept 15th– Speaking to a company in Michigan about Inbound Marketing
- Sept 16th– Speaking at Hubspot’s annual HUG convention to a whole bunch of rockin inbound marketers.
All Because of One Decision
These are just some of the places I’ll be traveling to, as others are currently in the mix, but my point in saying these things is not to brag, but to simply give readers a clear vision as to how this has all happened. When it comes down to it folks, the decision to embrace inbound marketing has changed my life. It has changed the lives of all my employees. It has brought me to a point of being able to experience financial peace and prosperity while doing what I love most—teaching other individuals and businesses how to reach their potential, through speaking and writing. And even better, this is jut the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll clearly see if you hang around over the coming months.
So for those of you that have been dabbling with inbound marketing, I say what’s the hold up? What’s preventing you and your business from reaching the potential that awaits? Enough already, giddy-up cowboy, it’s time for the ride of your life. 😉
Couple of questions here folks—How has inbound and content marketing affected you and your business? Also, if your blog and business are not currently where they need to be, what do you think you’ve been lacking to get there?
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions, and if you’d like to ask me something in private, please just do so here, as personal contact is something I absolutely love and always make the time for.
Oh, and one final note***. My friend Kristi Hines (one of the hardest working bloggers I’ve ever seen) recently entered a blogging contest and wrote an incredible, must read article on social media ROI. Kristi has been giving amazing and useful information to her audience for years, so please take a moment to drop by the article today and like it, share it, and leave an awesome comment!! 🙂
Have an amazing week everyone!!
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