How much does it cost to succeed at online marketing? Workaholism

Chris Hadfield Major Tom work life balanceThe Chief Financial Office (CFO) of Google was approached at a recent business gathering by a life coach. So, are you maintaining a healthy work life balance, asked the prospector.

The CFO turned to the intruder and said, you don’t take this job if you want ‘work life balance’. Conversation over.

This anecdote was related to me by a first hand witness last week, the same week in which a diligent food processor asked me an important question at my Food SA South Australian Food Summit presentation at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

‘How much should we budget for our social media marketing,’ asked the business owner.

My answer was, ‘ideally, nothing.’

Online success demands extraordinary commitment

As I share my recipe for online marketing success, I must confess I lay down a challenge to business owners and managers that to succeed in this social world, you really need to be committed to put in some extra time, above and beyond the call of duty, to fully exploit the riches that our online lives offer passionate business people.

In my recipe, outlined last week in The Paleo Blogging Diet, I argued that the ideal model for online marketing revolves around:

  • A weekly, original, blog post of helpful, interesting or entertaining content
  • Opportunistic sharing of behind-the-scenes images and video throughout the week
  • Readiness to respond to questions and comments from online communities like your blog, Facebook Page, Twitter account, Google Plus account and LinkedIn, to name a few.

I live by this regimen and many Baker Marketing clients do to.

We know it leads to success.

However, there is always a nagging suspicion that I am fuelling my hereditary predisposition to being a workaholic, and leading others down this path.

That’s why recent research into workaholism by Florida State University caught my eye and shouted, share this with your readers!

How to manage workaholism for a successful business

According to Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in Florida State’s College of Business, Workaholics tend to live in extremes, with great job satisfaction and creativity on the one hand and high levels of frustration and exhaustion on the other hand.

In my experience, this tends to describe successful small to medium business owners and managers.

The ultimate litmus test for workaholism, according to this research, is whether you, ‘feel guilty when taking time off’.

What I have seen, in those who succeed in online marketing, is that their passion drives them to share content and answer questions from the ‘market’, no matter what time of day or night they encounter opportunities.

The dilemma is that while such a drive does tend to lead to more effort than average business owners or employees (according to the research), if this is you, you probably experience more tension and feel quite disappointed when those around you don’t share the same drive.

What is surprising is that the researchers found there is, ‘an optimal level of workaholism for job effectiveness and positive health … however, when in excessively low or high ranges, both the company and the employee are likely to suffer.’

So, my advice is to pursue online opportunities in blogging and social media to within your natural levels of energy and availability but make sure you take in some ‘down time’.

In fact, the researchers say that those of us who consider ourselves workaholics can actually thrive, as long as we maintain a healthy level of access to personal resources such as:

  • personnel
  • rest
  • equipment
  • social support at work

The beauty of this research is that it shows that if you are the sort of person driven by a passion to workaholism, with adequate resources, you are more likely to report a:

  • 40 percent higher rate of job satisfaction
  • 33 percent lower rate of burnout
  • 25 percent higher rate of career fulfillment

It really comes down to ‘care factor’

Ultimately, if you want to succeed with online marketing through organic methods like weekly blogging and sharing of other updates throughout the week, albeit focussed on your strategic goals and objectives, the ability to see it through is directly related to how important you believe your work is to the marketplace in general and your target markets specifically.

Perhaps someone who epitomises what I deem an ‘out of this world’ mix of professionalism along with a commitment to spreading the word about their work, is Commander Chris Hadfield, pictured top right, who recently returned to Earth after his stint aboard the International Space Station.

Unlike other Space Station commanders, Chris Hadfield went above and beyond the call of duty to draw us ordinary people into his world.

He used social media, in particular as Commander Hadfield on Twitter, to seek and answer questions about life in space, in his spare time around his life-and-death duties.

This man must serve as a role model to us all because he put in extra work to build and audience even though the risks of him burning himself out with too much extra curricular activity could have resulted in catastrophe.

The next time I remember I have a blog due tomorrow at 11pm, I will think of Chris Hadfield maintaining his availability amid zero gravity in an atmosphere completely punishing to the human body.

So, yes, you can outsource creation of your social media, but my advice is to plan it (yes, it is useful to get support planning and strategising your efforts, hint) but then find ways to build content creation into the ebb and flow of your standard work week.

If you need inspiration, here is Commander Chris Hadfield singing his own vesrion of  ‘Space Oddity’ while serving aboard the International Space Station. See, I haven’t even suggested you sing your marketing; you’re getting off easy!

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