What I really mean is, are there people in your life that you trust who can tell it like it is, even if you don’t want to hear it? Are there people who you respect so much because they remind you of what you wanted to do, or meant to do, but didn’t actually accomplish (via a product, service, blog post, article?)
I was kept honest today. I told my father at lunch just a bit ago that I got a smackdown from the editor at the Networker Magazine AND THAT IT WAS FABULOUS!
The reason it was fabulous is because he represents my ideal reader (some of you!) by being totally, utterly clueless about Twitter. I wrote what I thought was a great article, not too down on the ground dull, and not too pie in the sky high level. For the first time I felt comfortable enough to even add some humor.
And the reality is that I missed a huge gap.
Such a huge gap, in fact, that for round two I am not touching the article but focusing only on adding the “missing step.” Only then will he have enough actual knowledge to read and understand the rest of my article. (This is true for many people who don’t have amazing editors. You may think you’re amazing but in reality don’t make sense, are too high up or too down low for your reader to actually grasp what you’re saying and then do something new. There are really big wig folks who give up writing for the Networker because they don’t like the editing process, which can be brutal with an average of 5 versions, months of work, totally redoing drafts each time.)
I had my “yes, but…” experience with him. But ultimately I was able to express my goals and worries on writing about this particular topic, then set aside my ego, trust his experience (or in this case, lack thereof), and know that what he needs is what my reader needs.
We all need this honesty.
And unfortunately we may hire marketing coaches, or “motivational” coaches, or go to the Small Business Administration trainings and mentorship programs, but we may not get that real honesty. Often you get someone who latches on to an element of what you’re doing and mentors you on that. For example, someone never criticizes your idea or niche, but focuses on getting your lists built, products made, shopping carts figured out, and “blasting” the thing you created. For someone to challenge your fundamental idea is a big deal. I get that. But that’s where learning and growing come. I always talk to my husband when I create things, redo websites, or even write these blog posts (though it’s usually talking to him after the fact.) Why? He keeps me honest! I can blather on about anything, feeling almighty and wise but to hear his response, his “I love you but I totally disagree with you” potential response, is invaluable. It keeps me on my toes and keeps my ego in check. (On the flip side what he does and what I love to do with folks is to help LIFT you off the puddle of insecurity by being honestly positive.)
So what to do?
I strongly encourage you to find folks in your life who don’t cost money (not that I wouldn’t and don’t enjoy coaching folks like you, I love it!) who you know, trust, respect, and who are able to give it to you straight. Now some marketing coaches say, with good truth, that you have to be careful getting critiques from people who aren’t in your demographic or niche. But at the same time, they may have awesome ideas, or reality checks based on who they know you are, that help you move forward. And quite frankly, talking with people outside your profession, your niche, whatever it is you do, is probably one of the most fantastic ways to figure out who you are at your core!
And to keep me honest, I thought I had five really cool website templates that I could use for a new website overhaul, when in fact only one was good, according to my husband. So check out my “closest yet” iteration of who the heck I am and how I can help you! It’s a constant journey but I’ve now realized I am a more “personality-based” business, and so this new design reflects energy, fun, and a sense that you’re hiring ME, not hiring “generic therapy web marketing advice.” Thomas Consultation is now on it’s third big overhaul. (Isn’t that proof right there that this marketing stuff is a journey, even for marketers?!)