Do you know what a seed tick is? If the answer is “no,” count yourself lucky. If you do know what a seed tick is, you are going to understand how uncomfortable I have been for the last week or so.
I live in an area where there are lots of uninhabited, heavily wooded acres. Hiking and trail running are two of my favorite activities. Last week a friend and I went for a hike. We didn’t really have a destination, and the trail we were on ended at the power lines – where there is a wide right-of-way, and the trees are regularly cut down. It’s about a hundred yards wide, and covered in grass and scrub. There is a path along the power lines right-of-way and we followed it, eventually coming to a road. The whole walk took just over an hour.
When we got home we jokingly called the part of the path under the power lines a “hike through death valley” because it was a good 10-15 degrees hotter, and there were some steep hills. That part of the walk wasn’t much fun, but we felt pretty good about doing it. We had been home for probably 20 minutes or so when I noticed what looked like a piece of dust moving along my arm. SEED TICK!!!
Seed ticks are so small that they are hard to see. They are actually tick larvae, and they congregate in groups of hundreds or thousands, usually in grass. When you brush by the grass, they all jump onto you, hoping you provide enough of a meal that they can progress to the nymph stage. Ugh. Gross. If you see them right away, before they start crawling like crazy, you can grab some tape and press it to your skin, and the ticks will stick to
I’m fairly certain I got the ticks while walking through death valley, so they were on my body for no less than 40 minutes before I saw that first one. When they first get on you, they are in a big group, but they spread out – quick. The sooner you can get to them with the tape, the better your chances of getting them all. I got the tape and started sticking it to those ticks. (hah!) After about an hour, I figured I’d gotten as many as I was going to find, and sat down on the couch. And found about 10 more. Later, when I showered, I found even more. The situation was not looking good.the tape. Lots of people make the mistake of thinking they can wash the tiny demons off in the shower, but that doesn’t work. They dig into your skin and stay there.
That night, I woke up scratching my ankle. The next day I was covered, toe to head, in tiny tick bites. There’s not much you can do about it – I kept a bottle of rubbing alcohol handy and wiped the bites with it. Stinging is better than itching in my book.
Six days later, the bites were healing up, and not itching nearly so intensely. I decided to go for a run, and didn’t want to go back in the woods. I went to my grandfather’s farm and ran along the driveway – it’s a 1/3 of a mile loop, so makes a great place to track time and distance. Since no one lives there now, the mowing is not done quite as regularly as it maybe should be…You know where this is going, don’t you?
More *^!@!! seed ticks. Not nearly so many this time, but my poor feet are covered in scabs and bites. It’s really horrible – and it reminds me of marketing.
If I have ONE itchy bite, it’s not so awful, just like sending out one marketing query or making one cold call is not so terrible. But 400 (that is not an exaggeration) itchy bites is physical torture in the way that the prospect of having to make 400 cold calls or send out 400 queries is mental torture. Unhappily, there is no way to prevent a seed tick infestation other than staying out of the woods (or dowsing yourself in poison, but I don’t like to do that). But, you can avoid marketing overwhelm fairly easily.
Schedule in a minimum number of calls or emails a day. It really is that easy. Just don’t go to bed until you’ve hit your marketing target. That’s my simple system, and most of the time, it works. Do you have a system to keep you from avoiding the tiny tasks that quickly pile up in your business? Even if you don’t have to do marketing, you probably have some similar thing that can quickly overtake your whole world if you don’t handle it.
Oh, and the common denominator between seed ticks and marketing? They both suck. (I itch everywhere. Forgive my bad joke.)