Confession: I Hate Selling

I’ve never been one to do a really hard sell (I’ve talked about this before), but this year it seems to have gotten worse and worse. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m no longer just bad at selling, I no longer just dislike selling… I actually kind of hate it.

  • I hate trying to convince people to buy my stuff.
  • Even more, I hate leading people to believe they NEED my stuff, when let’s be honest.. they don’t. They might want it, it might help them, but NEED? No. (I don’t really do this ‘leading’ myself, but I see it a lot from other people.)
  • I hate seeing people buy my products or other peoples’ products when they really can’t afford them. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, please don’t go buying premium themes and e-courses. Too often I see, “I don’t even have the money for my next rent bill right now but I know I NEED your course and it’ll help me so much, so I went for it!” God, no.
  • I hate advertising my products or my services. My personality is more the, “Throw it out there and let people buy if they feel like it” type. But advertising? Marketing? Ugh.
  • I hate bribing people or manipulating people into signing up for my list or buying my products.
  • I hate creating blog posts that, on the surface, sound like they’re trying to be helpful, but in reality they’re a lead in to buy my shit or sign up for this thing I’m an affiliate for. Was that post written to be genuinely useful? Or was it carefully crafted around the end goal of selling something? Who are we really helping here? The reader? Or myself?

I guess I feel like I’m in a weird place. In a way it kind of sucks to know that you’d be so much more successful if you did x, y, and z. I can practically see the path to epic success, I’m just choosing not to take it because it makes me feel gross.

So what does this make me? Doomed to fail? Shit at business?

Really I need to find some middle ground, I suppose. Although I’d like to think my business can do well with zero marketing and zero selling, that’s not really the case. I’m not even sure what my point is. Maybe I’m just complaining about the necessity of it. I hate that we need to lure people in, use mind games, create funnels, split test different fucking button colours, whatever.

The truth is: I’m tired. I’m so tired of money. I hate needing to stop and ask myself if this cool thing I’m making will actually bring in any money before I invest time into making it. Am I really cut out to run a business if money is the last thing I want to be thinking about?

Is 25 too soon for a mid-life crisis?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Ashley, I personally think that your work is amazing, and if I could even have the skills that you do, I’d be proud to approach people and tell them that I have something awesome for sale. I get that you hate the mentality that some sellers put in their customer’s minds, but you’ve never done that. Your UBB solved a problem, and so did Tweak Me. And your Boss Plugins also sounds like a dream, and I plan on getting it if I set up a content library.

    Your Infopreneur theme is also just simply gorgeous, and you should have every bit of pride about it. At the end of the day, I don’t see anything wrong with you making something out of what you love.

    1. Thank you so much Shannelle! I guess I’m just in a weird place right now when it comes to money. Even if I know there’s nothing wrong with asking for it, it still makes me feel weird/gross.

  2. I feel you, I hate selling, too. But your work is awesome and, personally, I don’t think you hard-sell or need to hard-sell anything. I enjoy your posts and I can feel in your posts that you enjoy making these themes and plugins and courses. As long as you enjoy making the things you do, it’s fine when you talk about or mention your products in your posts/emails because I know you’re passionate about your work and you created your products to be useful and helpful to someone. And folks can see that, too. Personally, I’m waiting for your sale this weekend. Heh heh.

    Keep doing what you do, Ashley! 🙂

    1. Whenever I draft up an email about my products I just get this feeling that’s like, “I don’t want to annoy people!” So sometimes I never even send them! It’s just one of those feelings I can’t shake I suppose. 😛

  3. I agree with the girls! From where I’m standing, you’ve found your middle ground. You do some promotion when you release a new product and then let the thing run its course. But I get how all the advice out there of what you SHOULD BE DOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL can really get you down if it’s not your thing. All the talk about email sequences detailing exactly how to control how people think and lead them to perceive thw product as something they absolutely need in particular freak me out a little. It all seems kinda… robotic. And it’s great! All the strategies and all but the situations you mention can also make you feel icky about it.

    In any case, don’t feel bad! Be proud because we all love you because you’re so supportive and have helped so many of us with REAL struggles. It’s like the invention of the washing machine. I mean, we can still wash by hand, but it’s a product that makes life so much easier. When people are ready to afford it, they buy it. That’s what the UBB plugin and the Tweak Me theme are for me.

    So cheer up! :3

    1. Thank you so much Pamela. 🙂 Maybe I’m more tired by what other people are doing than what I’m doing.. but watching other people do it still has the power to exhaust me and make me feel worse about the little selling I *am* doing.. I don’t know, it’s weird! I’m just in a funk I guess!

  4. Hi Ashley –

    I think I know how you feel. Yes, there’s a creepy dirty feeling about selling. There is so much advice out there about how to get paid, but it just feels awful when you do it…

    By the way, I love the way you express yourself – reading your posts is a delight. Thanks –


    1. Thank you Susan. 🙂 There are so many things I’m not doing because I feel horrible about doing them or I just flat out don’t want to do them, then people think I’m crazy for not doing them, so then I wonder if I need to be doing them… it’s awful!

  5. Hey Ashley.
    Thanks so much for writing about this.
    Today is my blog’s first birthday and I’ve been postponing trying to sell something to my readers for a bunch of reasons I know are not the real obstacles.
    The truth is I hate selling. I don’t think I even know how to do it. The mere thought of having to come up with a strategy to lead people to want my stuff leaves me a bit nauseated…
    I’m at odds with this, because I would really want my site to be profitable.
    So I procrastinate coming up with something sellable and maybe the only person I ‘m hurting is me. Don’t know.
    So, how do you do it? Put things up in your website and hope people will magically find them?
    If you ever have the answer to this, please let me know. I’ll be happy to buy your book about it ?
    BTW, big congrats on your work.
    Been perusing your shop, and if I ever consider a paid theme, I’ll get it from you!
    All the best.

    1. Congrats on your blog, Mafalda! That’s huge. 🙂

      It’s definitely a struggle to want to be able to make money doing something you love, but then you hate the idea of having to sell/funnel/etc. It’s tough. I still don’t have that figured out, haha. My “strategy” is pretty much put things up, sometimes tweet about them once, and once in a blue moon I throw up a blog post or send out an email about it. But quite often I’m like, “I really don’t want to bother people.”

      ^^ Definitely not the road to success though. 😛

  6. I actually value you and your products more precisely because you don’t shove them down our throats. I see you on Blog + Biz BFFs and you’re always providing help. Others jump straight to the possibility of promoting their products when someone asks for help in a related field, sometimes they don’t even answer the OP’s question, they just say “I know the answer but you’ll need to hire me or buy my product”, which is fine but makes me question whether they’re truly trying to help the OP or just their pocket.

    You don’t do this, you always help out with no ulterior motive, no hidden promos, no pay-walls to get answers, just the legit will to help out a fellow blogger. I’ve grown to value and appreciate your contributions and your knowledge above anyone else’s.

    That’s the perfect marketing strategy. It may not bring in millions at once, but I definitely TRUST you more for it and I want to buy your products.

    PS. I always stop to read your comments in threads, even if the thread was about something I wasn’t particularly interested about, because I know your comment is bound to have useful information! Keep up the good job, Ashley!

    1. Thank you Lucia! That means so much to me. 🙂 I definitely see those people you’re talking about. The OP wants a DIY solution and someone just comments saying, “I can do this for you for $xxx, email me.” Bleh.

  7. Maybe is because you don’t want to be compared to those really gross bloggers/e-course sellers that are pretty obvious when they are not genuine. I feel that way.
    I really suck at promoting my business, I send one or two newsletter a year and my social media game is lame, but the truth is I’ve never been in an extreme situation where I needed money to pay the rent or to put food on my table, if that day comes I think I will be forced to put more effort into my marketing strategy, whether I like it or not.

  8. I am the same. I own my own blog tour company and I know I should go out there and promote my business more to get more customers, but I don’t want to feel pushy or anything, so I promote myself very little. I just want to be able to offer my services and have the right people find it automatically. It sure would be nice if it worked.

    I do pretty well with social media and my newsletters, but that’s because I know those people sign-up then to hear from me, so I don’t feel as bad. And I personally enjoy social media and newsletters so that comes easier to me. But besides that? I feel like I am not reaching enough people. I prefer to be honest, list what I offer or what they get by signing-up for my newsletter without sounding pushy or like I am trying to sell something.
    And every time I try something pushy I just feel bad and am afraid I come across as too pushy. I just want people to hear about my services, without me being pushy. It’s also hard to judge for myself what comes across as pushy ad what not. And yes like you said about your products, no one needs my services. Sure my services make things easier and can help an author, but there are other ways to do those things yourself too or achieve the same thing without my services.

  9. Oh girl…I’m right where you are! I truly want to help others with my offerings and yet I don’t want to do any form of marketing what-so-ever for the exact same reasons. I’m SO over social media biz posts and I cringe when I see others doing that now (and I used to do that exact same thing). And because of this, my biz has slowed down and it upsets me, and yet I take full ownership for where things are. But a good thing that happened from this is some personal discovery about my real self…which is pretty cool. I’ve learned I’m a much better “Robin” than I am a “Batman”…meaning I’m a top-notch side kick who’s willing to work really hard, but I need some form of leadership—mentor—to keep things moving and shaking. I need a Batman if I’m gonna take this to the next level. So for my 2017, I’ll be on the lookout for that type of opportunity…or perhaps life will take me another direction…who knows. I hope to be a river and flow with it…and enjoy the journey the best I can. Much love…thanks for sharing this. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being right where you are—and I know amazing things are gonna happen for you too. XO

    1. Gosh what you’re describing sounds just like me! I think for me it’s the uncertainty that sucks. I don’t really know where to go from here (or even where I want to go). It would at least be easier if I knew what I wanted, then I could just make it happen.

  10. I know what you mean about selling. I think you do a great job and genuinely provide products that make people’s lives easier and better. I probably would have quit blogging if it weren’t for the UBB plugin. And it makes it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for. I appreciate you, girl.

  11. The quarter-life crises is the new mid-life crises. And as much as that sounds like a (great) joke, it’s actually proving to be true. 25=27 a lot of people are questioning what they’re doing, what they’d be happy doing, and if life really is all it’s cracked up to be (can you tell I’ve had a similar quarter-life crises lately? I’m 26). My sister has just started her own business, and she finds the constant sales pitches, and “buy my stuff, I’m good at what I do” thing frustrating and disillusioning too. I think a lot of the time, for people who have their own businesses, you’re skilled at and passionate about the thing you do, but because you are the only person in your business, you gotta do the sales bit as well, even if it isn’t your strength or your passion. But you can’t have one without the other. It just won’t work. As a business-person/lover, it’s my jam. I think it’s about finding what you’re comfortable with, and crafting your message around that. From what I’ve observed, you’re a business person with ethics who adds value for people. And that’s OK, in fact that’s great, but selling and earning a living from it? That’s OK too! Just keep doing you. Maybe check out Gary Vee on YouTube – he’s strong in the sales pitch, but he also believes in giving value to your audience in order to generate sales. It feels less… pitchy… R xx

  12. I think there seems to be a divide with people really. You’re either good at selling or a good developer. Some people can do both but people like me struggle selling anything. It is tough!

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