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My favorite phrase used to be “Instant gratification takes too long.” (Thank you, Carrie Fisher, in Postcards from the Edge.)

Don’t we all kind of feel that way? We set a goal and we want it now. No, we don’t want to “take our time” and “learn lessons along the way” and only earn $20 in the first month when we know our idea is worth $1 million in two weeks.

My first, real experience with this was when my book came out in 2014. I’d spent years creating an online audience I knew would immediately go out and buy it. After its release I was positive that a call from a movie studio would quickly follow. People would beg me for interviews. It would make it to the New York Times Best Seller list. I would retire as a writing recluse, only leaving my house to buy boxed wine (the best, of course) and the occasional trip to TJMaxx (because no matter how successful I become, I won’t ever abandon the Maxx).

I was on my way that first week. My parents called me with excitement one morning with the news that I’d hit #3 on the Colorado bestseller list and I sat back and waited for the phone to ring with more glowing news.

And waited. And waited. Still waiting.

The book has done well but was certainly not the life-changing experience I’d hoped for. And it took me a while to figure out that if it had…it probably wouldn’t have been all that it was cracked up to be.

Since then, I’ve written three more books – two of which were never picked up by a publisher and one that’s still going through revisions with my agent. But going through this has allowed me to enjoy the process. I love writing. I love the anticipation of seeing if someone will buy the book. I even love (in a weird way) the feedback I get from publishers as to why they didn’t pick it up because then I work harder on the next thing.

In other words, I love winning slowly.

Wait. What?

I wish I had been brilliant enough to come up with that phrase, but it came from a client and dear friend of mine. We’ve been working together on a series of courses for her and while things have been going well, it’s not like the courses hit the internet and she was able to kick back and relax.

We’ve had wins and we’ve had losses. We’ve learned a LOT of lessons along the way. We’re really able to adjust the process because we don’t have a million people buying it right now – we have a few who love what’s being offered and aren’t shy about giving us feedback. The whole thing is slowly building, and I have no doubt that it will be a huge success. But right now, we have decided to embrace the concept of #winningslowly.

And I have a feeling that as this becomes more successful, we will appreciate #winningslowly time even more.

#Winningslowly and Digital Marketing

When I first started out in social media marketing with my Widow Chick Facebook page, I literally had two people liking my posts – and they were my college roommates. My mom wasn't even on Facebook so I couldn't even count on her for an obligatory "like." No one knew who I was, and this was before advertising was really possible.

I had to build slowly, organically and completely from scratch.

Social media has definitely changed over the years so, yes, you do have to pay for advertising. But if you’re frustrated because you’re only getting a handful of likes…take a deep breath. The fact that you’re getting the likes and comments means you’re #winningslowly.

But I want 1 million followers NOW.

I was recently on a page that I was shocked to see had almost 2,000 followers. Why did that shock me? Because not one person was liking or engaging in any of the posts. That means that it’s possible that this person or business went after page likes (which is totally fine), but didn’t take the time to understand what really speaks to their audience. In essence…they went too fast.

I would rather see 15 people who like a business and who are more likely to comment, like and share posts than 10,000 people who pay no attention to what’s going on. Ten thousand inactive people aren’t building a community. But 15 engaged participants are. Slowly.

So, remember as you embark on digital marketing or, frankly, anything that has to do with your job: The quick, easy win won’t always be the one that truly grows your business. It takes time, successes and lessons learned (notice I didn’t say failures) to truly create what you were meant to build.

That means you’re #winningslowly.

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