“If I wear that shirt, some kids may make fun of me.” But then he answered himself by saying, “They may or may not. There’s nothing we can do about what they choose to do; we can only control ourselves.”
My son, Robert William, is a junior in high school and he’s participating in student government.
Everyone in student government has to dress up once a week; for boys, that means wearing a shirt and tie to school. In a sea of sweat pants, shorts and T-shirts, someone in a shirt and tie really stands out.
During our monthly shopping trip for new clothes that fit a growing young man, a pink shirt caught my son’s eye. His first thought was, “Oh, the girls will really like that.” I confirmed Robert’s thinking, but then he became concerned about what other boys might say about it. We bought the shirt. It’s to impress the girls. Robert has decided he doesn’t care what the boys say or think about what he wears.
When I was creating my first info-marketing product, I thought a lot about the people who might say bad things about it. I had worked with my association clients to publish products on their behalf several times, but this was the first time a product would have only my name on it.
My first product was about how associations can do better membership marketing, how they can sign up more new members and how they can retain those new members longer. I know the subject well, but I was concerned about what others would say.
I thought about the people who had a lot more time in the industry than I did and what they might criticize. I also thought about my peers, wondering if the people I knew within the industry would see me as “full of myself” because I had published a product. I also worried about my peers at larger associations or in the big association cities like Chicago or Washington, D.C., looking down at me because I am from only the fifth largest city for associations.
These worries held me back, slowed me down and kept me from publishing my product as quickly as I should have. It’s a common mistake, but it’s one I hope you will avoid. Launching your product quickly is crucial. Making your product available opens you up to valuable feedback so you can improve what you have to offer.
What got me through my fear of what others would say about my product was a focus on my customers. Just like my son only focused on what the girls at his school would think about his shirt, I focused my attention on my prospective customers. My only worry was to provide my customers with the tools and the support that would help them in their daily lives.
If you are allowing potential critics to slow you down, you are costing yourself money as well as the confidence and pride that come from producing a product you care about. Even more important, you are withholding breakthroughs and support from the customers you’ve dedicated yourself to serve.
What do you think? Am I right, or do you have something to add? Scroll down and leave your comments at the bottom of the page. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.