Sometimes you read something that kicks your ass, it’s so true. It lays bare all your sneaky little ways to avoid doing what you say you want to do. There is no hiding from it now.

That’s how I felt when I came across Naomi Dunford’s post, “Make Them Love You. THEN Ask For Money.” I had been figuratively running around the blogosphere asking advice and making plans — while actually accomplishing very little — with the hope of quickly raising enough cash to cover my car repairs. But Naomi pointed out the logical outcome of such efforts: failure.

That’s not how it works, not when you haven’t laid the groundwork.

Then she patiently explained how to do exactly that.

Spend the first 28 days being totally, ridiculously awesome. Plan to make 100% of your money on the 29th day.

Spend 28 days being insanely active on Twitter or Facebook or your local small biz networking scene. Spend 28 days making killer contacts on LinkedIn or at the local flower shops or a few select forums. Spend 28 days loudly creating tactical, useful content on your blog or YouTube or, hell, Facebook notes.

Make friends as if your life depended on it. Be helpful. Give lots of shoutouts. Send link love. Generally be the nicest, coolest, smartest kid in school.

Then, on the last day, ask for the money. Launch your consulting sale or your custom deck design sale or your half price classes or whatever at the last possible moment.

So that’s what I’m going to do, and I invite you to join me in this 28-day challenge.

Think about it: Naomi isn’t talking about doing anything we don’t already know we should do. But it is overwhelming and a little intimidating to think of all that effort without a plan or others to keep us company and urge us on. That’s why I decided to tweet a challenge asking for buddies to join me at the hashtag #customerlove. Lo and behold, I got some responses!

So we’re on.

It’s a little awkward starting this on a Friday, so I’m going to suggest that we make our mental preparations over the weekend and then officially start on Monday. If you’re reading this later, just go with what feels right for you.

I’ll be writing a short blog post here every day with my progress and any ideas/inspiration I can squeeze out of this old brain. One thing I want to do is suggest a task for each day, similar to the #31DBBB challenge based on Darren Rowse’s legendary ebook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. We’ll see how well that works.

In the back of my mind, I’ve been worrying that I don’t have the leadership qualities required to get — and keep — this challenge moving, but then I realized it doesn’t matter how many people get behind it as long as I stick with it myself. If others follow, great. If not, I’ll still reap the benefits.

Because whether or not there’s a pot of actual gold at the end of this 28-day rainbow, there will be another kind of gold that will be totally worth the effort: a real, honest-to-god business.

And isn’t that the point?

Let me know in the comments below if you will join the challenge. You can find us at the #customerlove hash tag on Twitter.

Come on, it’ll be fun!

Photo by Dome Poon

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Showing 60 comments
  • Marlene Hielema
    Reply

    LaVonne, I’ve got 4 partly finished products sitting on my desk, 2 night school courses to teach, and more to learn from my Big Brand System course, but with you in my corner, adding a level of accountability and encouragement, I can’t resist!

    Soon everyone will be complaining about launch fatigue all over again because in a month we’re going to flood the world with our great stuff!!

    But, just like you, the other half of my brain is telling me I’m crazy, so you better get those leadership skills in gear, because I need you. Everyone wants to be needed right?

  • Peggie
    Reply

    you are a leader — you have a vision and you have personal inspiration and you’re willing to be authentic. all good in my book. that’s why you’ve got my love 🙂

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Marlene, this is so awesome. [I keep trying to find another word, but
    awesome does the trick.] Alone, this would be scary stuff but together? We
    can do it, I know we can.

    Absolutely, I want to be needed. And the idea of being a leader is
    deliciously dangerous for this Minnesota-raised,
    don’t-draw-attention-to-yourself girl. I’m not going to set up a forum or
    anything more complicated than we already have because that would just add
    to the complexity. I’ll post thoughts about the challenge here every day,
    and anyone who wants can comment. That and the #customerlove hashtag should
    be plenty for cross-encouragement purposes.

    Launch fatigue! Never thought I’d be looking forward to complaints about
    that, lol!

    ~LaVonne

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Peggie, I love you!

    ~LaVonne

  • Laura R. Espinosa
    Reply

    Game ON, LaVonne. I am in! 😀

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Woohoo — we are gonna kick some ASS!

    ~LaVonne

  • Kriszia
    Reply

    This is so awesome. It’s nice to have a community while taking on a challenge. It’s like doing a 28-day marathon, except you know something awesome is waiting for you in the end.

    Can’t wait to kick some ass in the next month! And thank you for motivating us to do this challenge! Already reformatted, and cleaned my hard-drives in anticipation! As Laura said, “Game on!”

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Woohoo, welcome Kriszia! So glad you’re gonna join us. I need all the
    company and encouragement I can get. I’m already getting nervous, lol.

    ~LaVonne

  • Big Girl Branding
    Reply

    Hey Lavonne.. love the name of your blog. 🙂 I’m a bit of a flake too at times, LOL. And I’d love to participate in the challenge as well. I already try and do things such as this anyway, but I’m definitely game for ramping it up some more. 😀

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Awesome! We’ve got cool stuff planned, action prompts every day, etc. This
    is gonna be good!

    ~LaVonne

  • Laura R Espinosa
    Reply

    You know what’d be awesome? Especially if you feel like not blogging on some days (28 days of straight blogging is a lot! Even on a short post) You can have an open mic blog post for people to post their progress. Or maybe even write a post for you on some days. 😀

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Ooh, that IS a good idea. Btw, I hooked up with @DavidCrandall to work on
    this and we grabbed a domain and are setting up a site for it. Big secret –
    don’t tell, lol!

    ~LaVonne

  • Laura R Espinosa
    Reply

    I won’t tell! Lol. Actually I’m doing something similar. (Not with @DavidCrandall of course) and am writing pages for a temp site. Shh.. don’t tell! 😉

  • Holly
    Reply

    Count me in! I was thinking of doing something similar on my own, but this definitely sounds like a better option. Thanks for continuing to be awesome, LaVonne!

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    You rock, Holly – thanks for jumping in!

    ~LaVonne

  • Alison Gresik
    Reply

    I’m in.

    I don’t know how *insanely active* I’ll be, but something will definitely be better than nothing, right?

    Thanks for stepping out to pull people together. This is the first post of yours I’ve read and I already love you for helping me get in gear 🙂

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Fantastic, Alison! Thanks for joining us. 🙂

    ~LaVonne

  • Kriszia
    Reply

    It should be a breeze, as David Crandall kicks ass on his site. He’s posted nearly everyday for a whole month and a half now, I think.

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Well, it will be more than just blog posts. If you haven’t read Naomi
    Dunford’s post yet, check it out:
    http://ittybiz.com/make-customers-love-you/

    And David is joining me in the challenge! He’ll be alternating blog posts
    with me here on the Flake, and we have other goodies cooked up too. Fun!

    ~LaVonne

  • Lisa Valuyskaya
    Reply

    I loved your idea as soon as I read about it (of course I had also read Naomi’s post just before that, so it resonated with my own feelings about it). I didn’t jump in right away, because I am in the middle of some major changes to my online presence — which means my customers don’t know me yet. And so I thought that maybe it wasn’t the right time for me…
    But, on second thought, maybe it’s the perfect timing after all. In 28 days, I should be much closer to a relaunch. This could be the perfect preparation. And if it’s led by you, it’s bound to be fun as well! 🙂
    Count me in, LaVonne!

    Lisa.

  • Abby Kerr
    Reply

    Hi, LaVonne —

    I am sooooo in, if only to prove to myself that I can do this while being pretty darn busy and feeling pulled in a thousand directions. Because, really, aren’t we all?

    Excited that you and David Crandall have teamed up. With the two of you bringing your awesome qualities to this Challenge, we’re *all* going to benefit, not to mention our prospective customers and clients!

    — Abby

  • David Crandall
    Reply

    OMIGOSH I LOVE YOU!!! Thank you for saying I kick ass…totally made my day!!!

    (There’s a big part of me that is still that awkward kid in Jr High who is hoping the cool kids will let him sit at their table…so when someone says I kick ass, that part of me gets all excited!)

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Just wanted to say that I’ll be hanging about and chipping in when I can in comment sections on the blog posts. Looking forward to doing what I can to help.

    Also, wanted to let you know WHY: Naomi said be awesome… thing is, I already think you are. So I think you’ve already succeeded this challenge before starting.

    Now you just need some traffic juice – and you’re making it happen, which is awesome.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist the a-word!)

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Purple and popcorn just don’t cut it. I have to say it: AWESOME. And thank
    you!

    ~LaVonne

  • Mary E. Ulrich
    Reply

    I’ll be signing on.

    Word origins for Awesome: (Old English) “ege” meant “terror, dread” later evolved from Old Norse “agi”. Late 16th century “awesome” the early sense of which was “filled with awe” and included, aweful: fear, wonder, respect, choking,… Yea, choking. Oh well. Maybe we could add inventing a new word in 30 days.

    Best wishes.

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Love the definitions!

    ~LaVonne

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Sounds like exactly the time! So glad you decided to join in the fun!

  • LaVonne Ellis
    Reply

    Did I thank you for putting me in touch with David? Because I could KISS you for that!

  • BirdyD
    Reply

    Yes, ma’am, now that I’ve found this (been intrigued for days), you bet your boots I’m in! 🙂

    Will start with An Encouraging Bird, and be thinking for the others.

    And LaVonne, you have PLENTY of leadership skills to do this! You are a bright beacon of light in the darkness, so stress not. (Unless you really feel you’d like to. :-D)

    Bright Blessings & the Very Best of Fortune to you! 🙂

  • tkneller
    Reply

    I love this! It’s so fundamental, and really strikes a chord in me! I’m trying to think of how to implement it in my own life and business… but this month isn’t going to work for me. I am leaving next week for an 8-day canoeing trip (I have a canoe & kayak outfitting company) and won’t have internet, computer, or probably even cel service…. but I WILL do this! It’s brilliant — thanks for making a community here!

  • Janet
    Reply

    think i’m late to the game.. as usual. i’m probably a bigger flake than you ;P

    can i join even though i don’t have a business? but i’m funemployed and thinking of starting my own business but once again, i’m flaking on getting my website done (launched) and i should get on that.. it’s about 50%.. for a couple months now..

    but i have something else in mind for this 28 day challenge. i’m trying to raise some money for a charity drive i’m a part of and if i’m in the top 6 by october 10th, i win a trip to the UK where I can compete for a round the world trip. think amazing race meets apprentice.. it’s all about entrepreneurship too and yes, i’m trying to think of entrepreneurial ways to fundraise (like joining your challenge??). anyway, i’m already in the top 6 (4th place) and if i can keep it up by october (essentially 28 days is perfect!) 10th i’m going to UK!!

    SO count me in!

  • Phyllis
    Reply

    I wish I would have seen this sooner – this is a wonderful idea and I’m going to just jump in now!

    Lovely, lovely of you to share – this is so much easier with others!

  • Dawn (Painter Mommy)
    Reply

    I am in!

  • SuperSimpleGuy (Karim)
    Reply

    I am with you La Vonne!

    Strange thing is, I really stumbled upon you and the #customerlove challenge today: the day I decided to keep my feet firmly fixed on the ground… well I guess my newly thought reasonablism will have to wait for another day :p

    Looking up to help you with my ideas/suggestions and anything I can do. See you soon!

  • Kate Forman
    Reply

    I’m in too — thank you for all the inspiration. It’s been a looooong time coming, but I’m finally getting my on-line marketing keister in gear, and this blog and #customerlove twittre style is helpful. Unintimidating movivation — Thank you!

  • Reply

    Hi LaVonne!

    I just heard Jonathan’s Jan 27th interview on Blogcast.FM.

    I love the concept of the Customer Love challenge conecpt!
    I subscribe to this philosophy, and am interested in participating.
    I haven’t been able to find the latest challenge… where’s the best place to engage for someone just jumping onto the bandwagon? 🙂

    Great work – keep it up!

    BOlaji.

    • LaVonne Ellis
      Reply

      Hi Bolaji! So glad you’ll be joining us in the April challenge, which started yesterday so you’re just in time. 🙂 You can start by following me on Twitter (@LaVonneEllis) and searching for the #customerlove hashtag. That’s where we keep in touch with each other. Read the daily posts here on the blog, and start loving your customers!

      p.s. I clicked the link to your site, and my browser gave me this message: “www.whoisbolaji.com contains content from trafusa.in, a site known to distribute malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.” You might want to check that out.

  • Laura Brown
    Reply

    I’m leaving on Sunday for a week away. When I get back this will be more than halfway finished. Maybe you will do it again later in the year? 

    • LaVonne Ellis
      Reply

      Absolutely! We’ll do it again in October – hope to see you then!

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