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What Do Your "Followers" Owe You? [Day 4 – 28 Days to GYST]


This is Day 4 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Gini Dietrich got us focused and productive – yay! Today, Chris Johnson checks our attitudes and our assumptions about what we think our followers “owe” us. Great stuff! (and remember – no posts over the weekend. Use this time to do any catch-up so you are ready to roar on Monday!)

What Do Your “Followers” Owe You? (And How Entitlementality is Killing Your Business)

By: Chris Johnson | @genuinechris

We all hear it. “I give and give and give, and all anyone ever wants to do is take from me.” This is a theme and variations in the 2.0 world, and it shows up in a million different ways. Creators are somehow surprised that some people just want the free stuff and don’t want to pay for things.

It’s some sudden shocking surprise that noobs and rubes want to get stuff for free.We hear about the horrors freetards from the great Aaron Wall, the great Tamar is utterly aghast that someone would start a negotiation with lunch. David Thome couldn’t have been funnier about this. Nathan Hangen picked up his ball and went home (and I miss him).Let’s get real about something.

When we make a blog post, an e-manifesto, a video, or a whatever, how does that obligate others? Are we doing favors, or is our blog and the content we make a sales brochure that shares with others how good we are at what we do?

The Real Problem Is Your Entitlement

Imagine going into a trade show, picking up a brochure, but not buying the product. You thought the product was interesting, maybe even a fit for you, but you weren’t sure. Let’s say you asked for a free sample.

Does the guy in the booth say, “No, you’re stupid, of course not, you’re just a freetard?” Nope. The guy will say, “Hey, it doesn’t exactly work that way, but we appreciate your interest.” Only a blogger gets mad. And all a blog is, for most of us is a brochure.

And–get this–we get mad at other people when we haven’t convinced THEM of our value.

The funny part is that we’re shocked every time it happens. When we break it down, it’s absurd.

“Get this, someone wanted something for FREE.” Shocking! Call the press!

Simpletons can be angry at those that would ask for work for free. Grown ups have to admit we’re not doing a good enough job convincing people to pay us.

Learn To Get Past Entitlement

Let’s be clear about the difference between making a brochure or sales letter and accruing debt. Expecting people to be grateful is toxic, and it robs us of our ability to get paid. We burn energy in outrage instead of learning to be more effective. Let’s get really clear: we aren’t owed anything when someone looks at our website, and if doing business isn’t a natural result of looking at our website…

…then our website isn’t good enough, or we’re attracting broke people. Sure, there are mutants out there, and sure there are people that are, themselves absolutely nuts. It’s equally nuts to expect people to just back the brinks truck up because we used the word “conversation” in a marketing post.

Let’s put the burden back on us, something we can control. How do we make our work more compelling, more creative, more engaging? How do we improve with every iteration.

We must realize that everything is an audition or an interview.

We must realize that free isn’t a threat, it’s a starting point in a negotiation that generally speaking, should be met with a counter offer.

We must realize that we own the burden to convince other people to do business with us. And if all they see us is a me too, desperate web consultant than we’re not doing our jobs.

When we are able to own the burden of persuasion, we’re free from these thoughts. We’re free to pursue and persuade the best clients available. But they are also likewise free to engage or disengage, without owing us a damn thing.

Three Things to Consider Now:

Understand that your business isn’t special unless it provides a high level of service to others.   Understand that your style is probably not unique, and that you are not owed anything just for showing up.  Your reputation is something you must prove and re-earn constantly.  Instead of saying “oh yeah, I know, I know,”  prove it.    How are you proving it?

With humility, realize that every contact is an opportunity to be of service is about the other person–and not you.  Business is about providing time, comfort and relief to human beings.   How are you doing in that area? What are you doing that people truly value and will pay for?

Finally–when you feel like you’ve been undervalued or disrespected, are you in a place where you’re doing your very best work?  Are you doing any good wasting energy on feeding your insatiable ego?  Or are you wasting time better spent building your skills and being of service?

Chris Johnson is an instigator, a small business owner, a father and more. You can offer him lunch to pick his brain at [email protected], or you can get a web site here.

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