The Cobbler's Children Syndrome
This proverb is so old that we don’t even reference the original saying anymore. It used to be about a skilled cobbler who was so successful – or busy
– that he simply didn’t have time to cobble together shoes for his own children.
Nowadays, we call it the Cobbler's Children Syndrome, but more often than not, we’re talking about ourselves. We are the Cobblers and our businesses are our children. This is a growing phenomenon, especially for entrepreneurs.
These proverbial cobblers don’t even have enough time to cobble their own footwear. The cobbler’s problem is not that he has too many shoe clients; he’d actually love even more. The problem is that he’s spending time on non-cobble related activities like sharing his cobble rates and availability with the town crier every morning.
Unfortunately, that takes time away from cobbling, so he feels like he’s constantly choosing between finding cobbling clients and cobbling amazing shoes.
Despite living in a magical time where we use small, reflective rectangles to record ourselves and send messages through the air, we still don’t have enough time in the day to choose. So, we’re walking around barefoot when we should be strutting around in gorgeous loafers, clogs, and moccasins – self-promotion in the form of eye-candy.
5 Signs You’re a Cobbler
You may not be into shoes – aside from buying them – but this cobbler’s predicament sounds familiar. I hear about CCS most often from solopreneurs (especially business coaches and personal brands), but it’s prevalent in companies large and small.
As I said before, we are all cobblers in some way. We are so busy dispensing advice or solving problems for our clients that we don’t make time to practice what we preach. If you’re still not sure if you’re a cobbler, here are a few symptoms that might resonate:
1. You schedule meetings 3-4 weeks out because next week is crazy and the following week is downright impossible
2. You’re constantly apologizing to friends, colleagues, and possibly even clients about your limited time
3. Your list of back-burner projects is longer than your entire week’s to-do list
4. You have a ton of ideas swimming around in your head or a notebook filled with them
5. You haven’t updated your blog/email/website/social media/etc., in more than 2 months
Creating content is one of the hardest business activities to do with consistency. That’s because it takes time, and you can’t cut corners without losing quality.
When you create content – on your blog, in an email, or on your website – you're showcasing your brand. Your content educates, entertains, and inspires; those three things lead to more clients.
You can use that content to tell your audience a story about who you are, provide evidence that proves you know what you're doing, and share insights about the journey they're currently on. Content is powerful: that's why we're always seeking out more.
There’s Another Shoemaker in This Metaphor
There’s another tale about a cobbler that I think you’ll find reassuring.
It’s about a shoemaker who finds himself in a spot of trouble. Magically – when he most needed it – he wakes up to find the work is already done. In fact, the shoes are so expertly made, they’re a downright masterpiece.
When I say masterpiece, I mean it looks just like the shoemaker had envisioned, but perhaps the stitches are more even and the lines are even straighter. He’d probably have been jealous, had it not been for the fact that he was able to sell them for far more than his asking price.
The shoemaker ultimately discovered that he had magic elves working through the night to help him grow his business and increase his revenue. Sound like a dream come true? Well, I’m not an elf, but I often work late at night.
Adding a copywriter to your team is a bit a like sprinkling some pixie dust onto your business.
You get to delegate responsibilities that suck up your time – like research, content strategy, and writing – to someone who lives and breathes content marketing (and is weirdly obsessed with correct comma usage).
That, in turn, frees you up to spend more time on clients, – which increases your revenue – or more time to yourself – which just might decrease your stress levels.
When an elf helps you out or you hire a copywriter, you get finished blog posts, email newsletters, and website copy (and other things) that astound you, while you’re working with your clients or lounging on the beach.
This writing matches your voice and tone so much that you forget you didn’t write it. In fact, it may even be more polished than your own content. You’d be jealous, except that your audience takes notice and you’re finally able to cobble your own proverbial shoes.
Words are powerful, but actions still speak louder. Send me a message, so we can test out a project together.