Have you ever heard the limerick about the Plumber’s Leaky House?

It goes something like:

The best plumber in town, whose work is quite renown, sleeps soft and sound, in a house soaked year-round.

In other words: a professional who works so hard on his client’s problems he never fixes his own. Sound familiar?

For a long time, I let the WTF Marketing website stagnate. It just sort of sat there, no updated content. Meanwhile I blogged on my personal website, I Am Nick Armstrong – not really thinking about my business goals or how I’d get there. I attended webinars, hell – I even taught a few. And all the while, I lead a for-charity class called The Digital Gunslingers teaching the very concepts that I was ignoring for my own business.

The tactics that I was teaching, I wasn’t implementing myself. I didn’t put them into practice at my business.

  • Mailing list? I created mine in 2011. (*fail*)
  • Content calendar? … does a sticky note count?
  • Post once a week? Bwaahahahahaha… oh wait, you’re serious!?

For a while, I was operating under a “do what I say, not what I do” kind of model. Here’s a hint – if you want people to take you seriously, practice what you preach. It doesn’t matter if you’re an A-Lister or a Z-Lister in your industry, or somewhere in between – you gotta practice what you preach.

I’m very guilty of -not- practicing everything I teach… at least, in my own business that is.

It’s not that I didn’t believe in what I was teaching: I did it religiously for clients and had great success. I just sure as hell did not put it into practice myself, mostly because I never dedicated that kind of time to my own business. My own marketing project just grew to the scope that I didn’t think it could be tackled. And so it sat, leaking away.

One day, fellow Digital Gunslinger Ellen issued a comment about needing a vacation. My response to her comment became one of the coolest experiences in my life to date: I created a Public Service Announcement that went viral – we hit #3 on Reddit, landed 200+ new likes on Facebook, reached over 50,000 people, and I had 30 new subscribers on my mailing list.

Can you imagine 50,000 people laughing at a joke you created? I was beside myself.

After three and a half years of living with a leaky house – lightning had struck. And my own little potemkin village was exposed: I hadn’t optimized my website for a clean, clear call-to-action. I hadn’t built my website content up. I hadn’t done the work I was teaching other people to do.

I had a few choice four-letter words for myself with that realization.

So I spent the next two months whipping myself into shape, complete with stair-climbing montage. I figured out what I needed to do, how to do it, and how to get out of this “leaky plumber” rut.

I launched the new WTF Marketing website (the one you’re looking at). I killed off IAmNickArmstrong.com (with appropriate redirects). Reborn, rebranded, and with a newfound sense of purpose, I’m heading full-steam towards my new business goals – one of which is to launch a program to help solopreneurs with marketing overwhelm.

To that end, I present to you “The Not-So-Leaky Plumber”:

Say it with me now: I Am The Plumber Of My Own Destiny. I Will Stop Leaking All Over My Own House.

I’d like for you to print out the Not So Leaky Plumber if you find ’em funny or useful. Put it on your wall and every time you see ’em, remind yourself to practice what you preach. Give ’em to a friend who is full of hot air.

Make the time. It’s your business, after all – if you don’t, who will?

This post is part of the Word Carnival series of posts. Every month, small business geniuses get together and decide on a topic, write about it, and share their stories. Why they invited me, I’ll never know. But check ’em out and enjoy! This month’s topic can be found here!

(Header Photo: WTF Plumbing!)