I started my first business online with faith being as much a part of my success as a keyboard and Netscape. It was in the '90s, when Overture was the biggest pay per click platform and AOL reminded me hourly, "You've got mail!"
With no clue how to get back into Windows once I accidentally logged out to DOS, asking for help was my normal mode of operation. It still is today. It is my personal belief that faith stretches me to be more, do more, and live more than I ever could alone.
Writing PPC ads in Overture was a blast in the '90s. The rush of not knowing who was competing with me was nearly addicting. OK, fine. It was addicting and it was the way I built my first business online. A newsletter and PPC ads...and faith. I had believed that I could do this and God would tell me how.
Many, many years later, millions in profits earned, I am still bowing my head at my desk asking for help.
"What makes social media sing, God?"
"Show me how to write a headline that will grab their attention."
"Is there a target market I'm missing? Who am I not seeing?"
These are common questions running through my head as I simultaneously manage the Facebook Ad Manager, the Twitter Ad Platform, and a few other link exchanges for some of the large brands I write for, as well as the ads I do for my own company.
You would think the business world would think I was crazy when I began to teach small and large business owners to do the same. Reminding them of good, old-fashioned direct response marketing and psychographics, we would find target markets no one had ever even considered before and it would convert—sometimes to percentages they had no clue could be their typical ROI. Then I would pull out the "big guns." The "golden ticket" if you will.
No matter who they were I would encourage them to just have faith that they would reach the right people if serving became their focus more than selling, if loving their customer became the path to profits rather than obsessing about ROI. The highest ROI in this generation is relationship, so I would encourage them to dig deep. Then I would tell them to have faith.
"Have faith?" Corporate heads and bigwig executives ask me.
"Yes. Just ask for some help. What do you have to lose? Call me a crackpot later if you think I'm a dork but just give it a try," I would reply.
And they would.
Okay, just think that one through.
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Come on now, let me pull you out of shock, but let us go there. If you were in dire situations and you needed medical help for a child, loved one, relative or what have you, and all paths to solutions were dead ends, what would you do? Yup. Some of you just said it out loud. You would do what you rarely do at work but what would seem very commonplace in an ICU at a hospital or on a crashing plane as the front of the jet went down. You would pray. You would have faith.
So I ask my clients to do that. And the results have been amazing. Large companies are now making connection with their clients. Company leaders are actually having fun talking back on Facebook and Twitter. "How did you find people who were so perfect for our company?" I'm asked. Reminding them of the basics and then the "secret sauce" big guns of faith, they laugh and smile, realizing it worked.
I recently got a Christmas card from a woman who told me her story. She was a new widow. "Why did not God take me?" she said she would often cry out. "I do not want to go on without him" was her hourly struggle. Then, something happened. It was not a white light streaming down from heaven crashing through her house with a host of angels and a choir singing, "You're going to make it!" and she lived happily ever after. No, she saw my pink hair in a Facebook ad. Can you believe it? The ones I was praying over.
The card went on to say, "You have been a light to me in a very dark place in my life. I wanted to join my husband after he died. I wanted to know why I was left here alone. Then one day when I was on Facebook, I saw your ad. I was drawn to you and I went to your business page. I started reading your posts. I thank you for your very uplifting messages. You have made a positive impact on my life. I now look forward to each day no matter what it brings. Thank you Sandi. You're truly a blessing to me."
We have quadrupled our company profits in the last year. This one thing I know—prayer changes things and faith belongs in business.
Faith is not beating someone over the head with your beliefs and trying to get them to convert to your way of thinking. Faith is believing in the unseen and calling those things that are not, as though they are.
I believe that faith works in the workplace. Taking the uncommon path to profits and changing people's lives simultaneously has been my business plan for many years. Faith works.
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Photo from Women of Faith website