(I know you, like most entrepreneurs, are a pretty busy person and don’t always have time to read things in-depth. For that reason, I’ve made it simple – if you just have time to skim this post today, read the bold parts and you’ll save 10 minutes!)
I’m a reformed people pleaser. Anyone with me?
Little used to make me happier than making other people happy.
Raised to please
Being raised in retail can do that to a person. I’m not exaggerating about being raised in retail. My pack-and-play (which sometime in the last two decades was rebranded from its formerly name of a “play pen”), was just to the left of the register of my parents’ store.
I learned to hold full conversations by 16 months. And once I was able to help customers check out at the register, my people pleasing was in full swing.
They come to us with a need. We do our very best to solve the need. They leave. We repeat with someone else.
So in my own business, when it became time to start leveling up my clients, I was at a loss. I knew I was good at servicing the people in front of me. I could do it all day, every day. And yet now I wanted to do different work.
Could I do both?
Could this crazy idea of leveling-up my work actually work?
At first, I felt like a huge flake. I’d spent five years doing one thing (marketing implementation – actually implementing marketing tactics for my clients) and here I wanted to now build strategies instead?
What would they think? At the best they might think I was a flake, or at worst, a fraud. At any rate, they wouldn’t be pleased.
And what would my new clients think? I had no real demonstrated success at strategy, so how could I enter into that realm?
And after FOUR years of dealing with this internal struggle, I realized there one HUGE marketing no-no that could actually be brilliant business advice.
I had to stop thinking about my customers.
Let me explain why this huge WRONG piece of marketing advice is actually brilliant business advice for an in-transition business owner.
In marketing, it’s all about the customer. What they like, how they should feel, target market, persona, user experience, yada, yada, yada.
But for a people pleaser, you’ll never be able to grow your business the way you want to if you let your customer dictate your business.
Customers and clients are immensely helpful and integral to our success, but we cannot ask them to make the big, internal decisions in our businesses like what services we provide, who we work best with, and what we sell. That’s not their job.
If I left my business up to what the market (re: the people in front of me) wanted, I’d still be working on installing WordPress widgets and writing copy for flyers.
That work helped get me far, but it was up to me to take it farther and instead of listening to what the people in front of me wanted, I had to step away and get clear on the work I wanted to do.
So to spare you four years of questioning, ask yourself:
When you stop thinking about your customers (and your current situation), for just a moment, and think about you and what you want, what comes up?
If you’re not yet sure, that’s okay. But keep the question somewhere present.
For those of you who have already made the metal leap, this question may help you add in details.
Once we get clear on the work we want to be doing, we can go right back to thinking non-stop about our customers and clients. It’s the best piece of marketing advice you’ll ever get (just don’t confuse it with business advice!).
Let me know what answers you’re coming up with. As always, your notes will stay private if you email me, or you can share with the community below.