Why Risk Matters in Your Marketing
Who’s ready for an article about etymology?
Ok, but what if I told you I wanted to do a deep linguistics dive?
No, I promise. Today’s going to be worth it—because today, we’re talking about the importance of fear. (OK, I realize fear also does not sound fun, but hang with me! It gets fun!)
The other day I was talking to a good friend of mine who just got back from a solo trip to Europe. As we were talking about her trip and about what’s next for her business, she told me that she always wants to be doing things that scare her.
In other words, she’s drawn to adventure.
Look up the word adventure in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and you’ll find two entries, both with multiple definitions.
The first entry is for when the word is used as a noun. I’d wager that’s how most people use it today (see Exhibit A below).
Here are the definitions of adventure as a noun:
An undertaking involving danger
The encountering of risks
An exciting or remarkable experience
An enterprise involving financial risk
It’s all pretty basic. Nothing groundbreaking.
But when you look at how to use adventure as a verb, things get interesting.
Here are the definitions on that side of the parts of speech neighborhood:
To expose to danger or loss
To venture upon
To proceed despite risk
To take the risk
At this point we could do deep and delve into the history of the word (its etymology) to explore how it came to acquire its current meanings, but let’s skip all that interesting stuff (you can start to get into it here if you’re a nerd like me).
Instead, I want to focus in on that final definition.
To take the risk.
I love this definition because it marks a decision. You are not merely encountering a risk as if by accident—you are intentionally moving forward into it.
It’s been said many times, but I’ll say it again here. Everything that’s worth doing involves some kind of risk.
If you begin a relationship, you risk the loss of love.
If you take a new job, you risk failing and being out of work.
If you take a step of faith, you risk being wrong.
And when it comes to marketing your business, there’s risk there too.
Write a blog, post a tweet, share a video—you risk your credibility, your reputation, even your livelihood.
You risk being laughed at, either to your face or behind your back (or both).
And even with all the infinite ways failure can happen, it’s all worth it.
Life is nothing without love, existence is lacking when there’s nothing to have faith in, and growth comes slowly or not at all when you always play it safe.
The biggest hurdle I encounter with financial advisors and small business owners who want to start marketing is that the starting itself seems too daunting. There’s too much to do, too many experts’ blogs to read, too many podcasts.
But my advice is always the same. Pick one thing, whatever that one thing is, and go all in.
It may be a weekly blog, being more active on social media, hosting one webinar a month, publishing a video to LinkedIn twice a week, or something else. All that matters is that you choose what you’re most passionate about and that you make a decision.
At first you will be full of fear. But as time goes by and you keep going on, it will get easier. You’ll get more comfortable. As you get comfortable, you’ll get better.
The fear will never go away, but it will evolve. You may no longer feel the fear of “What will happen if I do?” you’ll instead feel the fear of “What will happen if I don’t?”
When used properly, that fear can be motivating. It can push you forward—into the arms of greater risks, and even greater heights.