In August 1881 near the Swiss village of Sils-Maria, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche paused by the following rock, struck by a thought.
Nietzsche was a troubled man. Brought up a Protestant, he had renounced religion in his early twenties. Nietzsche was convinced that the wave of atheism spreading across Europe would lead to a disastrous vacuum in human morals.
The idea that struck Nietzsche was to imagine a small demon whispering over your should. The demon reveals you must re-live your life to-date, for the rest of eternity.
Would you be happy at the prospect of that? Or would you have… regrets?
Not your life in total. Your life to-date.
The idea later became known as the eternal recurrence of the same, and I think it gets to the core of things.
We spend a decent proportion of our lives working in businesses or starting businesses. You’ll only want to re-live your work forever if whatever you do is extraordinarily meaningful to you. If you’re ‘waiting for retirement’, then the answer to the demon would be ‘no’.
If your work is meaningful you’ll have an important message you need to communicate to a group of people over a long period of time. The things you sell probably won’t be commodity products, easy to buy in many other places.
You may be the only place in the world to buy your particular solution, which makes communicating what you do to interested prospects more of a challenge.
Somebody asked me last night at a networking meeting who I work with. The answer, looking back across all of my ‘ideal’ clients is ‘people who are doing or attempting something worthwhile that brings value to a specific group of people’.
Your work doesn’t have to be worthwhile to me, only to you and the people who pay you.
Is what you do worthwhile? If not it’s probably the true source of your marketing problems.