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It’s not true, of course. But to attract new clients and customers, you need more than a catchy headline.

By Beate Chelette

Admit it, this headline got your attention. It uses a well-known marketing trick–a catchy, provocative headline. The majority of readers will never open your emails if they don’t contain some kind of hook. That’s just a given these days with the TMI (too much information) overload most of us experience. A recent study by Harris Interactive showed that while interesting visuals are also strong lures, catchy headlines were “the top influencer on Americans likelihood to read an online or print article,” researchers found.

Ok, point made, but there’s much more to successful marketing—and a successful career–and it has to do with changing your business and your style as your industry changes. Let me give you an example so you can understand how in the photography business (where I started and made my money), it changed and I moved right along with it.

I went from being an artist, to a businesswoman, to a successful career coach. Along the way, I wore many hats, all chosen because of realizations I had at various times.

First realization

Most artists don’t make money. Sad but true. Only a few become successful and the rest try to glorify the bohemian lifestyle. It didn’t take long to figure out that being broke is overrated. You can’t really do much or move forward if you can’t afford doing things that cost money. For better or worse, remaining stagnant and continuous struggling is not for me and I doubt that state works for anyone.

Second realization

Business people make money. They begin at so-called entry-level positions and with enough time and effort invested, they move up the ladder. That means they make more money, become better connected and essentially more successful. I was motivated to combine both, because I love both, the artistry and the business side. And I had to get good at both in order to reap the success I now have.

Third realization

The way business is done is constantly changing. In two decades we went from faxing, which was considered revolutionary in the mid-90s, to scanning, texting and tweeting. Ever wonder what’s next? Admittedly, I’m an information and tech gadget junkie. I love invention, technology and finding new ways of doing things. I don’t like rules—they are there to be bent or broken as far as I’m concerned.

To me it’s clear that if you follow where the money is being made, there is a good chance you will find ideas that are worth exploring. This is how innovators do it. A good example is Apple. They anticipated a need we didn’t even know we had, but as soon as we saw anything Apple we wanted it. It has become their edge to create user-friendly devices that we can’t live without. Who knew that we had to have personal computers until Apple told us that we did? Similarly, we didn’t know we needed an iPod or an iPad until the lines around the block told us not to wait.

Progress is like being Captain Kirk; you have to be willing to go where others haven’t gone before. That’s an essential trait for entrepreneurs—be willing to be bold and take risks. Even if it means you fail or get stuck, as I did on a recent hike when I strayed from the path and got stuck in thick underbrush that left scratches all over my body. Even though I got pretty beat up, it was still an adventure that was worth having, not to mention the stories I get to tell.

When I became successful as an entrepreneur, and sold my photography image licensing company to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions, people wanted to know how I did it. How was I able to start a business from scratch, work really hard at it, and then make a fortune? What were my secrets for success people asked? Here are two of them.

Work is not work to me. I hope that you can say the same. If you are interested in what is going on in your industry and in the world in general, if you stay open, you will see the many creative, fulfilling opportunities that are visible only to those open to change. As for me, I love combining my passion for helping people make money and advance their careers, with my love of business. When my clients become successful, I feel successful, so it’s a win-win all the way around. What does this scenario look like for you?

Don’t wait too long

As a career consultant for many years now, I urge you to ask yourself where your business is heading right now? Are you following where the next ideas and trends are going? Are you adapting to the changes in your industry or are you still waiting for things to go back to “normal?” Where do you fit on the Rogers’ bell curve, demonstrating the Diffusion of Innovation? (I am definitely an early adopter.)

Your realization

Maybe it’s time to jump start your business with a new marketing plan. Learn everything you can about how your industry is changing. Go to conferences, sharpen your skills, meet new people, and dive into understanding how this new world ticks. Be bold and courageous. Do that and you are in excellent shape!

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