008: Entrepreneur Rant #LetsGetReal Series [Explicit]
Join the ride in my petty-copter as I hit hot topics about starting the entrepreneur journey. This salty song by Petty LaBelle features classics such as Misleading Webinars, Skip Those Fancy Systems, Greedy FB Members, and more! Listen to the end for the summer jam: Female-Focused Marketing Language. [warning: explicit language]
00:20 - Starting a business is so hard, wahhhh. Such a hard problem to have. You’re rolling your eyes. I get it. All that privilege aside, this journey is not for the faint of heart. For all the freedom, flexibility, and adventure being an entrepreneur or small business owner gives you, there are some downsides for sure. Staying true to the #LetsGetReal series, I’m gonna vent for a minute on some of the things that have annoyed or straight up pissed me off so far on my journey to trying to run a successful business. Take this as tongue-in-cheek and with a grain of salt because right now I’m just super salty about trying to make it. Some of this will be blanket statements. There are exceptions. There are people that do this stuff well and are genuine. Some of these tactics have logical business or marketing reasons. Blah blah blah. There’s a time for praise and a time for nitpicking, and this episode is not the former. It’s time to be petty. If you feel some type of way about some of these things, pause and self-reflect. Let’s get into it!
01:30 - Fuck e-courses. Some stranger expects you to spend a few hundred (or more) dollars with the blind expectation that it’s worth your money? Nope. The courses that I did purchase were from people that I trusted their content and trusted that they would deliver what they claimed they would. I trusted their content from their freebies, podcasts, or their other business ventures (gauging their level of expertise/knowledge), and from low-entry products (your email address in exchange for an email series or a less-than-$20 digital product). I weighed whether the course was worth not only my time but my money. As a new business owner or solopreneur, you’re short on both. You have a full-time job. You don’t want to cut into your safety net/nestegg for a course that could be a waste of your time and money. We all know time is priceless. You don’t want to gain another unnecessary expense (such as if it’s a membership subscription). Of course you have to balance the benefit of the course with the expense: Will it give you a skillset that will increase your revenue? Will it help you pivot to the new industry you’re trying to get into? Is it niche knowledge that you’re not likely to find elsewhere? Is it high-quality knowledge and hands-on mentoring that you don’t have access to in other means? Is it a collection/consolidation of information that you would otherwise spend hours trying to gather and vet yourself? Is it something you need right now or can you get it later? (e.g. a course on a platform that may be more than you need right now such as Dubsado when you don’t have any clients or such as ConvertKit when you don’t have any subscribers or SamCart when you aren’t even sure you’re digital products will be successful) This benefit may be a long-term one, later down the line without immediate effect, and you have to gauge if that’s worth it to you.
04:36 - And while we’re at it, fuck these payment options. The people offering courses and shit for one price if you pay in full and an exorbitantly higher price if you pay in payments? Yes, I understand why payments sometimes costs a little more but when you’re paying more than 50% extra? No. 4 payments of 300 bucks or 1 payment of less than a grand. So… 200 dollar difference? That’s almost a whole ass other payment! From a creator’s standpoint, you have to consider that these strangers are investing in you. Spending their hard-earned money on you and on your dream. Penalizing people for not having all the money at once when all they are trying to do is learn, better themselves and their businesses, etc seems absurd - especially if your target clients are people just starting their business. I get it, it’s a business and you have to make money but c’mon!
06:04 - Fuck webinars. If you say you're going to deliver something, you have to deliver it. Give the audience value and don't just use it as a shallow way to upsell. We get that you have to make money and it's likely there will be a product or service offered at the end of the webinar, with some fast action bonus, but if people are giving you their contact information (which is valuable, don’t take that lightly) and their time, with is priceless, you should respect that - especially if you plan on then asking for their money and trust as well. Fuck calling it a masterclass if it's really just regurgitated information you got from free sources like other people's webinars or blogs. Fuck being misleading about the freebie. Don't say attendees will get something for free but really it's only "free" if they buy something at the end. That's not free, it leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, and could ruin your reputation. Just be upfront and clear. Are there people only looking for the free thing with no intention of spending money at the end, absolutely. And if you don't like that, either don't offer the freebie or make sure that your content is so fucking amazing that they either buy at the end or they are invested in your brand moving forward: whether that's a purchase later, spreading the word about you to other potential buyers/clients, or continuing to engage by signing up for your newsletter or following you on social. It’s your responsibility to provide value, it’s not the attendees responsibility to dig and find value or justify if it was worth their time.
Fancy Systems and Expensive Gear
08:54 - Fuck fancy systems and fancy gear. Sometimes you don’t need all these classes and systems and bullshit. You just have to start. Start somewhere. Anywhere. A great example is Luke of Luke Life Charms. From recording on his phone or a little mic, he started a podcast. Uploaded it on Anchor, (which distributed it to Spotify, iTunes, etc), recorded a few 7-10 minute episodes, and then launched it. Announced it to his YouTube and IG channels and that was it. He consistently showed up every day or every other day, putting out these short little podcasts with a thought of the day. It didn’t seem heavily scripted - just on the fly sometimes. Here I was thinking I would have to research how to podcast, how to publish, how to gain an audience, etc. I was thinking I would have to wait until the right time (when other aspects of the business was built up) or wait until I knew clearly how it fit in with my business plan. But nope. I just had to start. And the thing is, I had ideas. So many ideas. And I was ready to just jump in and start recording but fear of not being “organized” or not having the “right” gear or not having a plan stopped me. Luke already had an audience so it made sense to me - he was simply adding content onto another platform and also giving himself creative freedom by expressing quick thoughts. No super detailed business plan (maybe other than to continue impacting people positively). No super detailed marketing strategy. Just hit record. Not to mention when just starting, every expense must be carefully considered so you have to be creative sometimes with how you spend your money - if you get find a free platform instead of paid.
Facebook Group Members
12:13 - Fuck Facebook groups. I mean the “communities”, using that term loosely, geared toward creatives and solopreneurs/entrepreneurs. There is a lot to be said but lets focus on the members. First, USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION. Use it. It doesn’t bite. Second, if you’re a part of one of these communities please try to give as much as you take. I see the same posters over and over, asking for advice and help and then people reply. They reply, and they go in deep. The poster asks “hey, can you critique my logo”. First of all, the poster doesn’t give any kind of background on the project or details, but then very nice people give lengthy constructive criticism and the poster just says “okay, thanks!” No. Someone gave you their time and expertise - these people are professionals and they aren’t getting paid to do this; it’s technically a consultation that you’re getting for free. So if someone does that, reply with equal amount of effort and thank them for their time. Post updates if you took their advice. Comment on posts, support someone that’s having a bad day and ranting about it, answer the polls the creator posts. The creators sometimes are super engaged and are trying to do what’s best for the group so if they post a poll for the benefit of the group, please answer. Even if you just set aside 10-20 min a week to check in on them. Don’t be selfish and only participate when you post - hoping for magical answers. Genuinely engage and give back to the places that have helped you. In another part of the series we’ll talk about the owners/moderators that only show up when they want to sell you something and the group is basically member-managed….
Genuinely engage and give back to the places that have helped you in some way
15:16 - Fuck funnels. Fuck nurture sequences. That’s it. Just fuck them.
Female Focused Marketing
15:23 - Fuck the language around coaching female entrepreneurs. Most of it comes from other women, or people that identify as such. Look. I get it. Supporting women, celebrating their achievements in the face of a system that works against them, and all of that. It’s great and I encourage that celebration and support. But I’m sour on the terminology used: lady boss, girl gang, boss babe, “hey girl, hey” as a page header, “femtrepreneur”, She-EO (instead of CEO).... It sounds condescending, derogatory, and unprofessional, especially when it’s so heavy-handed. It’s like when the assholes in Home Depot call me “little lady” right before mansplaining or asking if I’m sure that’s what I need. I don’t think they are inclusive of those on the gender identity spectrum. And yeah, maybe they aren’t meant to be because duh, target audience doesn’t include everyone and their mom. But they are exclusionary to non-binary people that wouldn’t identify themselves as, say, a “Lady in Tech”. There’s female by sex and female by gender and I don’t think that complexity is taken into consideration. I feel like they are used as buzzwords. It seems so unprofessional to me. If you went into a corporate 9-to-5 office and you’re presenting a pitch on why they should invest in you, I don’t think you’d start with “hey girl, hey”. Obviously it depends on the attendees and who you’re asking to invest in you. I can’t imagine a woman who has to fight as hard as she does in male-dominated corporate America would walk in with a title of Boss Babe. You’re not going to introduce yourself with that title - you’ll use CEO, Owner, etc.
17:55 - At the very least, why not say that yes, you cater toward female business owners but use gender-neutral pronouns in your language? It’s okay to want to support female business owners, hell yeah go for it! There’s a group called Freelancing Females and what I love about them is they aren’t heavy handed in this language yet they are still advocates for female freelancers and have a great balance, in that regard. And what about the older people that don’t care for this millenial-oriented language or being called a “girl”? And in a way, highlighting gender almost has the reverse effect by othering the group or implying inferiority. A man wouldn’t claim the title of “dadtrepreneur” because the default of entrepreneur is male so why not shift the narrative through representation instead of a new label? Just show up. If a bunch of women show up using the title CEO, the default mindset of associating that title with a man can change. Who knows, I could be completely wrong and using these terms could contribute to de-gendering existing terms and shifting the perspective. I’m probably not the target audience for people that use these terms anyways. But whatever, if it empowers you and you’re cool with it, boss babe your life away. Do you, boo.
19:48 - Don’t get me started on the levels of pink/rose gold and grey/white marble designs I saw, specifically from these coaches that target female business owners. I also see the approaches to be limited and narrow-minded: “woo-woo” self-care in the superficial consumerism way of bubble baths and face masks instead of self-care as therapy or working on your own flaws.
20:45 - I could be “too sensitive” or missing the point or not the target audience but I think we can empower women, whoever identifies as such, in all the forms that they come in without such narrow language and narrow aesthetic. Also, the whole #girlboss narrative greatly oversimplifies entrepreneurship in a way that's dangerous and misleading. Instagrammable cute quotes like “entrepreneurship is living your life for a few years like most people won't so you can live the rest of your life like most people don't” when in fact being an entrepreneur isn't for everyone nor is it as simple as the dreamy soundbites make it seem. Yes, you may get flexible hours, creative freedom, and all the other praised perks but you'll also get constant responsibility, on-going accountability, and having to constantly learn things way beyond your wheelhouse or skillset.
“Entrepreneurship isn't as simple or as dreamy as these little Instagram soundbites make it seem. I think there needs to be some honesty there about the journey, what it takes, and the problem you’re going to face - especially if you’re a woman trying to carve out space in a niche that’s not trying to make any space for you at all.”
22:37 - Okay, so that was a super salty episode and maybe a bit of a downer but it’s real. Obviously there are some amazing things about the entrepreneurship journey: the process, things that you learn, how you grow, the people that you meet - and that will definitely be an episode in and of itself but right now it’s all about being salty and petty. So, fuck e-courses, fuck webinars, fuck fancy systems and expensive gear, fuck Facebook group members, fuck funnels, and fuck female-focused marketing. That’s where I am at right now with everything and it changes from day to day but those are just some of the things that have annoyed me. I’m going to personally stay away from them. It’s not my place to go and preach to these people “I don’t like what you’re doing, change it.” No. I’m not the target audience for femtrepreneurs but it’s not my place to tell them to stop. They are doing empowering work for those that do identify with those kinds of labels. There are e-courses teaching valuable information and are equipping entrepreneurs with the information and tools they need to improve. That improvement helps us all as small business owners and entrepreneurs. There are systems and processes proven to work. The people teaching them are improving how entrepreneurs work. There are people reviewing expensive gear and saving new entrepreneurs money and time from having to test it themselves. Helping them avoid struggles and mistakes that maybe the creator encountered on their own journey. There are Facebook groups that have provided immense value, support, and sense of community. I do see the value in a lot of the things I shit-talked but this episode was about shit-talking and being petty. Let me know if this was your jam, if you agreed, or disagreed. Let’s open up discussion! I promise the next episode will be more upbeat and positive, but to all my Petty Mayonaises out there (Doug reference), hope you enjoyed it!