I’m not against the idea of making money. Other people do it, I do it, maybe you do it too. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But sometimes I visit a website and I feel like I’m being sold to ALL THE TIME. There’s no break in the sales pitch. Everything is done to move towards one goal: making money.
All those “free” things are actually tools to… yep… make money.
- FREE WORKSHEET! …Is actually an attempt to get your email address so you can be sold to later.
- FREE COURSE! …Is actually a hope that you’ll sign up for the paid course afterwards.
- FREE WORKSHOP! …Is actually an attempt to sell you something towards the end (oh, and get your email, see #1).
- FREE ADVICE! How to choose the best email list platform! …Is an intro pitch to entice you into buying the “grow your mailing list” e-course.
Am I totally against all those things individually? Not necessarily.
Those things are basically a way of marketing, and they work. That’s why people do them. Even I’ve done one or two.
But every now and then I come across someone that’s in sell mode ALL THE TIME. Every single piece of content and advice has a purpose—a motive. All those motives lead back to more income, more profits, more sales.
I look around and feel like I’m in an ad-network. It’s pure sales.
I don’t really want to bash those business owners. That’s not the point of this post. I don’t want to tell them what to do or say they’re “doing it wrong”. Heck, they’re probably the people making six figures—good for them. Let them do what they want and move on—that’s my motto, right?
I guess my point is: do you ever look at your Twitter/Facebook/Feedly/Instagram feed and feel like everything is fake?
- There is no “free”, despite what the name says. Everything has a price, even if it’s not in dollars.
- There is no genuine “I really want to help you” advice, there are only pitches and sales funnels.
- The freebies are shallow. A “behind the scenes of my 5-figure launch” e-book just ends up regurgitating the same pieces of advice you’ve seen everywhere else… With no exclusive, behind the scenes info. Over-promising and under-delivering, just so they can get my email.
- Everything is split tested—from copy to colours. All to find out what results in more sales.
I’m sick of businesses. I want people.
Of course not everyone is doing this. There are some truly awesome people out there who deliver quality content, pitch-free workshops, and awesome 100% free advice (and still manage to make money—high five, rock stars!).
Really I’m talking about a handful of people. And it’s not that those people are doing something wrong, it’s just that I have this reaction to what they’re putting out and that reaction is tired.
I turn my head and just see sales, sales, sales. Pitches, pitches, pitches. It makes me want to close my eyes, shut the computer down, do something else.
And you know what? That’s on me.
Those people are free to do business how they like. And hell, it’s obviously working for them; a lot of them are rakin’ in the cash.
It’s on me because I chose to follow those people (usually). They’re in my Twitter feed because I followed them at one point. It’s up to me to unfollow them if their business practices no longer impress me.
This gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own business.
As I said before, I have done a few of those things.
- I have added content upgrades to help me grow my mailing list.
- I have released ‘free’ email series, and those people got added to my mailing list.
- I have given free advice that led into a pitch or affiliate link.
But I like to think that I do them in moderation. I’m not on sales mode all the time.
That being said, I think this whole tired feeling I’m experiencing has made me want to re-examine some of my methods. I used to 100% operate under the idea that people will subscribe/buy if my content is awesome. That means:
- I didn’t have content upgrades that required an email.
- I was never pushy about joining my mailing list (no pop-ups or obtrusive opt-ins, etc.).
- I didn’t create anything for the purpose of building my list.
I literally just believed that if my blog posts were awesome then the traffic would come. The sales would come. And for the most part, that was completely true. My entire business started accidentally. I didn’t try to start a business or make money—it just happened. With no marketing, no yucky sales stuff, no promoting.. Just a blog post here and there saying, “Hey look! Here’s this new thing I made. Buy if you want, yo.”
Have I seen growth since I changed my methods? Since I added content upgrades and “free” courses? Yes. But I also haven’t felt as good about it. I’ve barely even emailed my mailing list, and I think that’s because I feel uncomfortable about how I’ve grown it.
I didn’t lie to anyone about how they were getting on the list. I didn’t trick people. I’ve always been up-front. But that doesn’t mean I like it. I still feel a bit yucky about it.
I miss my old mindset. I want it back.
And you know what? Helping people just for the sake of it makes me happy.
While writing this post, I realized that one of my favourite things to do is to help people on Facebook. I chill out in Facebook groups, seek out questions, and answer them. Why? Because I fucking love it!
Previously I might have said that answering questions in groups helps establish you as an expert and can lead to more traffic/sales. But I realized that when I answer those questions, I never promote myself, my site, or my work (unless it’s totally relevant). I don’t do it to establish myself as an expert. I don’t do it for sales. I do it because I just love helping people. And I’d continue to do it, even if there was no way for people to connect my Facebook profile to my website.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I’m not a sales person.
Those people who are in sales mode all the time are business owners. Like, when you get to the heart of it, that’s who they are. Epic, successful, business owners. At least that’s how I see them.
And yeah, technically speaking, I’m a business owner too, but I don’t think that’s who I am at my core. I’m a business owner because I’m an independent girl who wants to make money in her own way—not as an employee. But at the end of the day, I’m only a business owner because making money is required for me to pay my bills. Making money isn’t my passion.
So thinking in line with my goals for 2016, I don’t want to be in sales mode all the time. I definitely believe I could ditch the content upgrades and sales pitches (at least most of them), take a more relaxed and subtle approach to sales, and still earn enough money. For me, that’s good enough. That will make me happier about how I do business.
I don’t want all my content to be curated towards one goal: making sales.
I don’t want every “freebie” I release to require payment in the form of an email.
- I want to help people just for the sake of it—no pitch.
- I want to give advice that’s ACTUALLY free. Not only free to people who hand over an email.
- I want to post about random shit that doesn’t always somehow tie into something I’m selling.