Over the last decade of designing websites and working with clients around creating products and services and business around their passions, I’ve noticed a common trend. We’ll work through a branding brief, come up with some strategies to implement, or present a website that’s designed to support their goals.
While many clients work solely on their own to help craft something that feels aligned, there are some who like to get feedback from every single person close to them… mom included.
Here’s the thing: your mom’s feedback is irrelevant. Your best friend’s opinion is irrelevant. What your brother thinks is cool is irrelevant.
Anyone you ask… their feedback is irrelevant unless they actually understand who you are, what your business/product/service is about, who you’re trying to serve, and what the brand strategy really is.
It doesn’t matter if your best friend thinks your dog is adorable and you should have a picture of him on the website. It doesn’t matter if your mom thinks blue is your color. It doesn’t matter if your cousin hates pictures of tress (yes, these are all real notes from over the years). Unless these people are actually ideal clients and customers for you, or they’ve taken the time to dive into your business and goals and can see the big picture, nothing they have to say is relevant because it’s not strategic. It’s just simply personal opinion.
I see so many clients make poor business, brand, marketing, and design decisions because someone close to them gave feedback that is totally irrelevant and off base. So many clients who’ve built businesses in a way that doesn’t feel aligned and isn’t creating the results they desire because they didn’t stop to think about whether mom’s advice had any merit. This needs to stop!
Here’s how to approach feedback in a way that will support your business goals and growth:
1) Cultivate a strategic review group.
If you’re going to have people look over your work or the work a coach, designer, or other professional is providing for you, make sure it’s a select and strategic group of people. This might be people you know who are in line with your ideal clients and customers. It might be certain coaches or strategists that are working with you on your branding and marketing. It might be your best friend… if she’s a copywriter or designer or whatever who does the thing you’re asking for feedback on for a living, AND understands what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t just send a mass email to friends and family, you’ll just end up diluting your message.
2) Stop asking the wrong people for advice.
Basically the flip side of the last point… stop asking people whose feedback is irrelevant for their thoughts. Stop listening to their unsolicited guidance and opinions. Sure, you may love your mom to pieces, but that doesn’t mean she should have a say in what your website or business or brand looks and feels like. Thank people for their thoughts and let them know you’ll take them into consideration, but don’t do things just to make Mama feel good about her contribution. This isn’t about stroking the egos of those closest to us, it’s about being effective and successful at the work you want to do.
3) Learn to trust yourself.
One of my favorite things I’ve heard and adopted for myself is “my intuition is my business coach.” I’ve paid big names a lot of money just to ignore everything they’ve told me. There are points in our work where we venture beyond what others can help us with. Sometimes we get to a place where there’s no roadmap, and all we can do is feel our way into what’s next. If I had listened to a mentor i paid $20,000 to, I wouldn’t have my wildly successful Foundations for Unshakable Joy program, a program I love dearly and has helped change hundreds of lives over the last four years. I wouldn’t have the Your Passion-Based Business program, something that’s served both me and my clients incredibly well. I wouldn’t have my Jumpstart website package, an offering that brings together everything I love to do in a comprehensive and truly fulfilling way, and that is affordable and accessible for so many. You have to trust yourself first and foremost.
4) Stay devoted to your work.
I’ll say it again, this work you do isn’t about your mom or your best friend or your cousins unless they’re your ideal client or they inspired the cause. It’s about the work… being of service to your clients in a very specific way. Leaving your mark and contributing to society. If you’re devoted to your work first and foremost, it’s easier to put the following three steps into practice. At this point in my business, I’m highly protective of my work. I listen with an open heart and mind to advice, feedback, strategy, and coaching, but I only take what resonates for me and I discard the rest. I discard quite a bit actually, on a regular basis, from brilliant people doing good work in the world. I have a very clear mission and I won’t compromise that just because I paid someone for direction or a family member wants to feel like they helped. This is about the work, don’t ever forget that.
So tell me, where have you been taking advice, direction, and feedback that might not be aligned with what you’re trying to create?
This isn’t about feeling bad or focusing on missteps, it’s about getting honest about where you might not be taking steps that have you and your company’s best interests at heart. Check in with yourself and get honest about whose advice needs to stay and go, and how you can start building a solid group of individuals to receive guidance and feedback from.