By: Livy Lynn
As an entrepreneur and business owner, it’s so important to make sure that everything I do within my business, marketing, and promotion, all honors the King!
A few weeks ago, I was praying and asking the Lord for some marketing advice. (Yes, the Lord cares about your business, be it your adorable little Etsy shop, the blog you’re wishing to share, or the brand new book you’re about to publish!)
I believe the Word of God is loaded with so much wisdom that we, as Proverbs 31 women, can apply to our lives and business strategies!
As I read 2 Corinthians 10, 11, and 12, the pages came alive to me! I was amazed by the amount of marketing advice flying out of these passages!
I would encourage you to grab your Bible and read all three of those chapters so you have the full context of what Paul was actually talking about.
As you may very well know, 2 Corinthians is not “How to Start a Business 101”, but I believe that God speaks to us through His word in such a way that it applies to a variety of things in our lives…including business building!
Are you up for exploring these scriptures and seeing what nuggets of wisdom the Lord might desire to deposit into your heart?
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves
with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves, by
themselves, are not wise.” (2
God desires to do something so unique with your life, business, and brand, so if you’re in the process of building something new, or desire to grow what’s already established, the WORST place to begin is with comparison!
As you continue to explore the lives and teachings of those who are experts in your field, you may find it tempting to compare. To wish you were further along than you already are. To fast-forward a few steps. To have more followers, a tighter writing style, a bigger mailing list…whatever it might be, we must be so careful to learn and appreciate what God is doing in the lives of the leaders we look up to, without falling into the comparison trap!
If this is something you’ve been struggling with, I’d encourage you to write down 5 things that you love about your unique brand! What is it that makes you, you? What are some things that you’re good at? What are some areas that you’ve seen personal growth in? What are your strengths?
Write them down, and spend a few moments in prayer, just thanking the Lord for your uniqueness!
“We however will not boast beyond measure, but within the
limits of the sphere which God has appointed us – a sphere which especially
includes you.” (2 Corinthians 10:13)
We’ve all been given a realm of influence, a sphere of people that our lives have the potential to impact.
Do you know your sphere?
Sometimes a sphere of influence can be referred to as your “target demographic”.
Who are you passionate about? Who are your products and services for, specifically? At the end of the day, who are the people that you truly hope to make an impact on?
Are they teen girls? Stay-at-home-moms? Young entrepreneurs who are juggling collage and a side hustle?
Ask the Lord, “Who is in my sphere? Who are the people that You want me to be focused on loving in this season?”
Sometimes in my coaching sessions, when I ask authors who their book is for, a common answer that I hear quite frequently is, “Everyone.”
Everyone is a pretty broad scope! The truth is, it’s going to be really hard to reach everyone.
I know that sometimes we don’t like labels, we don’t want to “limit” our content to age, gender, or where they live on the map…but there’s actually a lot of wisdom in doing this!
When we know who our target demographic is, who it is that absolutely loves our content, we know how to better serve them, and only them, without trying to reach the whole world.
It gives us a targeted, specific bullseye to go for.
Your message and brand isn’t going to resonate with
everyone, and that is totally okay!
Focusing on your unique sphere of influence and the people God has called you to reach is SO powerful, because it helps set priorities and keep you from over-extending yourself!
“Having hope that as your FAITH is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you…” (2 Corinthians 10:15)
Did you know that one of the most powerful ways to grow your business, brand, and online presence, is by having other people share your content?
When you focus on faithfully pouring out your absolute best to serve your target demographic (AKA, that one girl who adores your stuff!) and you find genuine, heartfelt ways to connect with her, she is going to be more than happy to share and let others know about what you’re doing!
This, my friends, is called the power of multiplication.
When you focus on faithfully loving the one, her life is impacted in such a way, that she can’t help but talk about it! She might only have one or two close friends that she shares your book with…but those are two people that you didn’t have a way to reach before that!
And if those two friends, share with two more of their friends, and then they share with others, who share with others…soon you have an army of brand-supporters and fans who are like walking, talking, billboards!
I’ll never forget the day I got an Instagram DM from a young girl who said she heard her friends at school talking about Crown of Beauty Magazine. She was so surprised they knew what it was, because she hadn’t even told them about it.
I was even more shocked because…I’ve never been to that school before! I didn’t have to go and tell them about it…someone else already did!
My books have traveled to countries I’ve never been before! How does that even happen?
By focusing on your sphere, giving them the absolute best you can, and letting them share in the “regions beyond”!
You might be thinking, “Well that’s great Livy, but how do I do that? Nobody ever shares anything I post!”
Two things I would say to that.
How do you know for sure that they’re not
I personally have been amazed at the number of people I run into, who read Crown of Beauty, but don’t have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. They might not be sharing or commenting online, but they share the link with a few friends in real life, pass my books on to others, etc.
You never know what God is doing behind the scenes! It’s very likely that you have silent brand-fans. People who never reach out to you, but absolutely adore what you do and deeply appreciate all you have to share.
If you’re still shaking your head thinking, “Nope, that’s
not the case for me, shares it, I’m absolutely certain.”
Then, it might be time to…
B. Re-evaluate Your Content
Are you doing everything you can to truly connect with your target audience? Do you know what your readers love to do in their free time?
Do you know what their problems and pain points are? What kind of music do they listen to? Where do they like to shop?
These might seem like seemingly "insignificant" things to you, but these are all really important things to know about your audience, because this is a huge part of connecting with them!
If your content isn't connecting with them on such a deep level where they feel compelled to share it...these are some great questions to ask yourself!
Don’t wait until you reach a certain “goal” to start pouring
out your best…start today!
“Did I commit sin in humbling myself, that YOU might be exalted? I preached the Gospel to you free of charge…” (1 Corinthians 11:7)
When building an online presence, it requires far more GIVING on the front end, then one might imagine!
Building and growing our businesses and brands require a
heart posture of humility and giving, while we pour freely into those we’re
called to serve.
As you write, post videos, create social media content, etc. …sometimes it can feel discouraging when you’re not getting much response.
But this is where everyone begins!
God wants to see if we’re going to be faithful with the little, so He can trust us with the much!
If we’re not willing to pour out and create content for our followers without being compensated financially, are we really in it for the right reasons?
I like to think of building a blog, brand, or online presence, as planting a garden. The first few months, there’s going to be a lot of front-end work, in which you might not see a lot of immediate results.
Harvests don’t come overnight. But they will come, if you stay consistent, diligent, and faithful!
Free content such as a lead magnet for your email list, an online webinar, or fabulous blog posts, are all ways to pour into your following, to place their needs before your own, and show your audience that you truly care!
You’re giving of your TIME for them to be built up and successful…God will reward that!
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved…” (2 Corinthians 12:15)
The more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved…ouch.
Do you feel like Paul did? Almost as if, the more you pour out and freely give of yourself, the less people appreciate?
If I’m being completely honest, I definitely felt that way around this time last year.
As a self-published author, I had a few titles until my belt, and had poured so much of my heart, time, energy, and effort, into getting my stories out into the world.
But I was receiving a handful of messages that made me feel as if I wasn’t doing enough. That I wasn’t good enough. That I needed to change my style. That I should give all my books away for free, all the time, etc.
And that was painful. I felt as if I was overworked, underpaid, and un-appreciated.
In this process of giving and building, you’ll come across several types of people.
There are some who are critical and overly knit-picky.
Some who feel as if you owe them everything for free.
Some who want you to work faster and pump out more content faster than you can keep up.
But then there are some who truly value and treasure what you do! They understand the time, commitment, and sacrifice you’ve made to serve them the ways you do, and they treasure the immense value you’ve brought to their lives!
Over time, those who see the value of what you daily share and pour into them, will be willing to participate in what is commonly called “a value ladder.”
A “value ladder” is a marketing phrase to explain a business
plan that begins with free content, where people learn to know and trust your
If followers and customers desire to “climb the ladder”, they will eventually be willing to pay you for your products, services, and time. Does that make sense?
All of that just to say, if you’re faithful and continue pouring into others, eventually, down the road, there will be people who are willing to compensate you for what you have to share.
Building a business or online brand with the “value ladder” approach, is a strategic way to build trust and value within your community, and cultivate a strong tribe of excited brand-fans who will be willing and eager to support you, financially!
As the value ladder continues, it’s going to look a lot like a funnel. Meaning, there will be a ton of people at the bottom, gobbling up all your free content, which is awesome! But as the funnel goes deeper, the stream of people become less and less.
There will only be a small, yet fiercely passionate group, who are willing to compensate you for your time and wisdom.
The vast majority will never climb that ladder, therefore our hearts must always be in the place of giving without expecting reward from man…our reward will come from God!
While reading these passages, I had to ask myself, why was
Paul so willing to give his all for those who didn’t give him anything in
He endured so much, faced so much heartbreak, and persevered in the midst of adversity…
Where did he find the strength to walk in such selfless love?
Then I remembered his encounter with Jesus.
When Jesus interrupted Paul’s journey, He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
I believe that Paul got a life-changing revelation.
He realized that everything we do to and for the people around us, isn’t for them…it’s all for the King.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, you did for me.”
Paul’s revelation taught him this:
The measure to which we show love to the people we encounter each day, is a direct reflection of how we’re treating and honoring Jesus.
1 John 4:20 says, “Whoever claims to love God, yet hates a brother or sister, is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they haven’t seen.”
This means, if we say we love God, yet we’re not using our unique giftings and talents to love and serve the people around us…it’s time for a heart check.
If we’re getting easily frustrated with the people we’re called to love…it’s time for a heart check.
If we find ourselves pouring out, with the expectation of gaining something from man, in return…it’s time for a heart check.
Paul understood the power of having your eyes locked on Jesus. He knew that even though man wasn’t always treating him the way he wished they would, everything he did, was all unto Jesus!
He had the passion to preserve and keep pressing forward, even in the midst of hardship, because he knew Jesus was pleased with him! And when the Father is smiling down on us, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, what more could we possibly ask for?! :)
Let’s learn from Paul.
So as long as we’re serving and loving those around us today, pouring out to the sphere God has entrusted us with, let us not forget that it’s all from Him, through Him, and for Him!
I believe He will grace us with all the strength needed to run the race to which we have been called.
Let’s keep our eyes locked on the King…and we don’t ever have to worry about getting burned out.
Keep running, friend! <3