Stop Getting the Word Out: Breaking Down a Space Cadet’s Marketing Success

Teal SpaceCadetCreations yarn handdyed

Yesterday, I posted an interview with Stephanie Alford. She’s quadrupled her mailing list in 2 months, earned her first 5-figure month, and launched 2 incredibly successful continuity programs. All without formal marketing training, digital products, or premium coaching programs.

In fact, Stephanie isn’t a coach or business guru.

Stephanie dyes yarn.

In my opinion, Stephanie’s success comes largely from the fact that she stopped trying to get the word out about her business and started positioning herself for success. She embraced the true meaning of marketing: delivering the best products to the best people at the best time. She shifted her relationship with her customers from one of salesperson to trusted leader.

Stephanie empowered herself and her customers.

Marketing isn’t all about getting the word out. Promotion is only one very small part of marketing. In order for marketing to be effective & engaging, you need to consider 4 P’s: purpose, people, position, and promotion.

Let’s take a look at how Stephanie used the 4 P’s jump start her business.


Stephanie truly believes that knitting & crochet are shortcuts to world peace. Why? Knitting & crochet beg us to slow down, get grounded in a tactile way, and connect with each other as human beings.

A great example of this was how Stephanie’s temporary tattoos shifted the entire atmosphere of her retail booth at a recent show. Instead of seeing just one more place to buy yarn or just another dyer hawking her wares, people came into her booth to get a tattoo. They ended up talking to each other in line, connecting with people they would have never connected with outside this unique opportunity.

Now Stephanie’s business doesn’t just represent one more way to get their yarn fix, it represents fun, friendship, and purposeful interaction. That’s an experience that won’t soon be forgotten!

What could you do to create a greater focus on the purpose of your business?


Stephanie gets out & interacts with her customers regularly by attending retail & trade shows. One behavior she identified was that her potential customers would come into her both, eye the yarn, and exclaim, “But I don’t know what to do with it!” because Stephanie makes multi-colored yarn.

So instead of despairing, she educated. Stephanie put together an ebook that would teach her customers how to use hand-dyed yarn (it was edited by amazing business manager – she can edit yours too). That book – meant for education – turned into a sales tool!

It also lead to peer-to-peer sharing, meaning her work was seen by many more people than her product alone would attract. Knowing what her people needed and creating a professional tool to fill that need lead to a viral success!

How are your customers behaving that hinder sales? How could you change this behavior?


Stephanie found even more success by plopping her business right in the middle of a major trend. In this case, it was mini-skeins. People wanted more, more, more and Stephanie was happy to position her products to be able to accommodate!

She created a continuity program (think yarn of the month club) that brings her a steady stream of income while giving her the opportunity to serve her customers in the best way possible. It’s not the type of offer everyone would want to make, but that’s the beauty of it!

Stephanie positioned herself in a unique way that benefitted her customers (and herself!).

How could you position your business outside the “usual” offers in your niche? How could you capitalize on a current trend?


Stephanie doesn’t spend a lot of time on social media promoting her products. She doesn’t spend a lot of time blogging. She doesn’t spend a lot of money on advertising. She’s not too bothered by public relations.

Stephanie grounds her business in her purpose, people, and position so that every action she takes or idea she executes has the potential to bring in business. Her “promotion” happens on its own. Her marketing has a life of its own.

Now Stephanie is free to do what she loves.

How would your business be different if promotion was a passive task?

That’s how marketing should be. It’s much more about knowing your priorities & values on the inside of your business than it is about pushing them on the people outside of your business. If you center your day-to-day operations and your creative sparks around your purpose, people, and position, you’ll discover more & more ways that promotion can take care of itself.

Ready to focus on purpose-, people-, and position-driven marketing? Ready to stop getting the word out and start creating your own success? Check out my Marketing ReWired digital workshop.

an end for your means: your purpose is too big for your interests, and that’s a good thing.

I hear you loud & clear: you don’t want to choose. You don’t want to focus on one passion over another. You’d rather celebrate the diversity of your interests that founder in homogeny.

I hear that you want to explore each of your passions separately, giving them each a name and a dollar sign.

My question to you is simple & honest: How’s that working out for ya?

I want you to be fulfilled & profitable, finding the truth of what you really have to offer while honoring the expansiveness of your gifts.

It’s not about focusing on what you do, but why you do it.

It’s not about limiting yourself, it’s about digging deeper.

And then owningclaiming – what you find down there.

I have always fashioned myself a Renaissance Woman. My interests & talents have been wide & varied. I’ve indulged myself here & there, always feeling guilty about moving on to something new, never knowing where I would turn next.

In my personal & academic life, I have been a musician, a scientist, a pastor, and a theologian. In my business, I’ve declared myself everything from a social media consultant to a copywriter to a web designer.

What I have realized is that my interests are a means, not an end.

My job title is not “Renaissance Woman.” Nor is it any of the titles I have mentioned above. My title is a representation of the result of digging deeper into these means. It’s an outward sign of much inward work.

That work wasn’t making a choice, it was realizing what I wanted my end to be. That “end” is the purpose behind my work. It’s the world-shaking change I need to make.

My purpose, the change I want to make in the world, is too big to be tucked neatly into my interests.

Interests grow & change. We chase new things like toddlers chase shiny objects. Your “end” might expand or evolve but you have a better idea of what you want than you give yourself credit for.

What expression of your gifts will best serve this great vision?

What method?

What work?

What product?

Which people need your work to help you realize this vision?

If you don’t know yet, that’s okay. Keeping looking. Keeping digging. Keep experimenting.

I’m working on a program to help with this – Really & truly! – for early fall. Think intimate, high-touch, high-concept group coaching. Think business as novel. Think the power of other brains plugged in to your brain (and biz). Want to learn more? Sign up here for backstage access.

the many sides of balance, or not tipping the scales isn’t about equal weight

the many sides of balance, or not tipping the scales isn’t about equal weight

Your definition of balance is overrated.

Okay, I don’t know for sure that your definition is overrated.

But if it has anything to do with weighing out equal quantities of gold while a Lady Justice-esque woman looks on unknowingly, it is.

We have been programmed for strive for balance: family/work balance, give/take balance, eat your veggies/have your cake balance. We want to make sure each dangling tray carries the right amount of weight to keep the scale from tipping.


Contentment – nay, passion & joy – is about defying an equal-handed approach.

We indulge in work when we should be resting, we keep on giving when it’s time to take, we sneak a fork full of goey chocolate lava cake for breakfast. And we feel good about it.

We don’t feel off balance. We feel good.

The pursuit of balance makes us juggle. It puts us behind (always behind,) makes us guilty, neglectful, imbalanced. It’s as useful a concept as original sin. You can never get it right.
Danielle LaPorte

Tipping the scales isn’t a matter of too much weight here, to little there. In order to maintain balance, you have to gently hold the focus of your passion, purpose, and values.

  • If being a great mom & raising engaged children is important to you, do you need to fear the joy of working hard at your business?
  • If serving others through your words & actions is your purpose, do you need to fear the need to make a living from what you do?
  • If creating art & expressing yourself visually is your passion, do you need to fear the desire to have others love what you make?

We’ve created these false dichotomies. We’ve manifested dualities where none exist. We’ve set ourselves up for failure.

Your joy is whole. There is no need to balance the weight of what is demanded of you. Instead, honor all that you have to give.

{image via lululemon athletica}