“You talking to me? You talking to ME?”
-Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, 1976

As passionate and purposeful business owners who are constantly engaged in marketing our services and ourselves, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the should-do’s and must-do’s. Every week it seems there’s a new social media application or new product launch, a new Facebook strategy, a new book to read or another conference that just can’t be missed. In the midst of trying to keep up with all of this, there is a great lesson we can learn from actor Robert De Niro, and it’s probably not what you think.

In today’s business world, we have more opportunities than ever before to reach consumers who are interested in our services. The explosion of the Internet and of social media has placed us at a confluence of events that’s never been seen before. Niches and micro-niches can now be very profitable due to our ability to reach out and/or be found by consumers interested in what we have to offer.

And with so many marketing tools at our disposal and so many gurus offering advice, all of the available information can quickly become overwhelming. And being overwhelmed leads to indecision and a lack of action. In fact, many of my clients have come to me because of that very issue – their progress has stalled. Most of us know what to do, we just tend to lose focus and our days get very muddled with everything we have on our plates.

So how can good ol’ Bobby De Niro be an example to us? Sure, he’s famous, stars in blockbuster films, wins awards, etc., but what in the world can he teach us about effective marketing? Read on my friend.

A number of years ago I was studying acting in New York City when I heard a quote by Mr. De Niro that I’ve never forgotten. It referred directly to the process of acting, but it also applies to your marketing. And it certainly applies to creating and living a passionate life. I'm paraphrasing what he said, but it went something like this: "At some point you just have to get in there and act, you just have to do it."

And there's the lesson. Yes you need a target market, you need to prepare, do your research, learn how to use social media, etc., but at some point you just have to jump in with both feet and simply do it. And that point should be sooner rather than later. Waiting until you have the perfect website or you’re a master of email marketing is just another form of procrastination that keeps you from reaching your goals. Prioritize the best you can and go for it.

Marketing guru Seth Godin always talks of the importance of “shipping”. Whatever it is, give it your best shot and get it out the door and into the hands of the consumer. Prepare properly but don’t overdo it. If a current project is 75-80% perfect, then launch it to the public. Get it out there and learn from what happens.
It’s critical for marketing (and acting) to be distinct, different, and uniquely yourself, not merely a copy of what's already out there. That's your advantage. But there really is no risk if you don't do it - if you don’t put yourself in front of your audience. And when there is no risk, there is no reward.

So put yourself out there – that’s how clients are attracted to you; that’s how you prosper. That’s how you live the life you’ve always imagined.

And yes, I'm talking to you.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Van Osch, MBA, is a certified personal and business coach for men and founder of www.thinktankmen.com. His purpose is to assist men to ever greater success through one-on-one and group coaching. He is also a founder of the men’s group, The Last Six, whose mission is for men to become the man they always wanted to be. Author of the book, One Man’s Life, Michael is a keynote speaker and seminar leader with a focus on how to find your purpose, how to start and grow your ultimate business, and cutting through excuses and B.S. to live the life you imagined.