How To Share Everything About Your Business Without Giving Anything Away
Updated: May 22
Have you ever felt like someone was intentionally being disingenuous about what they were really after when they asked for “help”? Did it feel more like they meant “give away” all your secrets? I’m sure many business owners can relate, but I’ll admit, it will be more peculiar if someone wasn’t interested in adding to or improving on what they knew. The thing is, no one’s ever truly an “open” book when sharing things about their business. Even the person claiming they gave everything away, holds something back! It’s not a racist thing, and it’s certainly not a selfish thing, it’s a common sense thing.
Why should it be a stretch of the imagination to think that someone would be protective of the thing people are willing to pay for. That’s how even the best freest content can still leave you feeling like something’s missing.
Observing all of this is what led me to realize there’s a way to protect the essence of how you earn money without feeling like you’re sacrificing the value you share.
Be Wise As A Serpent Yet Harmless As A Dove There are 5 key things I’ve observed from those successfully creating content online. They’re usually very intentional about what they’re advertising (all the things that make them different i.e their voice), the form it’s presented in (actionable advice rooted in real experiences that someone who’s not quite ready to work with them yet, can still learn from), as well as how much information they share (bait worthy things only a potential client will gravitate toward). They also use feedback as a way to measure the value of their efforts.
For example, if you’ve experienced someone actually becoming a client just off the content you create or the delight of reading an email from someone who “appreciated the honesty and tone in an article you wrote”, those statistics can help you to determine which of your advertising efforts are more valuable than others, leaving you free to ignore more self-serving requests.
Does that make you cringe a bit? The harsh truth is you really have a problem with boundaries, and it’s much easier to make excuses for not having them, like “not wanting to turn the wrong people off” than it is to connect unreasonable expectations with the absence of boundaries.
But why wouldn’t you want to ‘turn the wrong people off’? Do you really want to work with people who make what you do difficult? Speaking as one who encountered her fair share of clients from hell, turning the wrong people off is a goal of mine. Which brings me to the last thing I’ve observed about those successfully creating content online. They also use content to create boundaries.
I know you probably never saw it this way but, according to the form it’s in, content can be used to accomplish three specific things. It can serve those who are unable to afford you, without crowding the space of those who can, while also repelling those you want nothing to do with, all at the same time! Sounds like boundaries to me!
Remain Steadfast Concerning How You Operate
Ultimately, it’s up to you to know where sharing ends and when someone just simply needs to hire you. In the past, I’ve done designs without someone deciding to be a client, I’ve done designs with them only verbally deciding to become a client, and I’ve also gotten designs approved but never paid for only to learn months later that the client changed their mind. It's a difficult reality to swallow that all those situations were as a result of my own mismanagement. But, it made me seek more effective ways to do my job and help others as I learn. Now, if someone would like me to help them create a design for their online presence, I have a design interview that caters to providing just that. I’ve controlled my impulses and given myself a piece of mind by creating boundaries. But even though, it’s sometimes difficult to convince clients to implement their own safety net despite all the experiences they were burnt from. And it’s not a trust issue if I’ve clearly taken my own advice, but that indifference is never comfortable to experience.
Yet, if you thought about it from the perspective of a mother to her newborn child, it’s easier to understand how being protective of your business isn’t a bad thing as well as how absurd it sounds (even if you only secretly think it) not to expect anything less.
So, in closing, if there is one thing I’d like you to take away from reading this article is that it’s okay to have boundaries to the way you work, as long as you can logically measure the value it immediately provides.
I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB
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