Everyone talks about fear as it manifests in our personal lives — how to embrace it so that it can live alongside the rest of our Selves or how to quash the bastard so it doesn’t bother us when we’re trying to heal from past hurts.
Here’s the thing: no one is talking about how fear manifests in the way we run our businesses, as well as how we approach our online spaces. It’s too raw and uncomfortable. It’s too Real.
So I’m going to drop a Wisdom Bomb on you today.
Fear is fucking up your online space and worse, it’s fucking up your biznez.
Everyone tells you that you need to play a bigger game — to go after the Big Clients that scare the hell outta you. You’ve gotta invite in clients (and customers) that respect who you are and how you do biznez. The whole velvet rope routine, right?
Sure, that advice is all well and good once you’ve got your rent paid. But if you’re sitting at your computer all day every day, waiting for success to manifest itself in the form of dollah bills, and only seeing angry emails from clients… baby, that’s not right.
Go and look at your website. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you.
Now answer these questions. (And do it honestly. This isn’t a gorram Cosmo quiz. You’re not going to be more successful if you cheat or lie. C’mon, we’ve all done it. Who doesn’t want to be mega flirtatious but still be a classy dame? Stupid Cosmo.)
When you look at your site, does it make you:
a) Dance with delight?
b) Want to leap from the balcony of your 21st floor apartment?
d) Cringe with shame?
When you think about the process you went through to get your website to that point, do you:
a) Shake your booty with happiness?
c) Shrug your shoulders?
d) Blush (because you were a royal dickbag to your designer)?
Now think about your ideal online space. If you had your way, it would:
a) Help your clients and customers while looking gorgeous in the process.
b) Make you more money. (Gotta pay rent. And make sure the heat stays on. And omigawd, is that the cell phone bill?!)
c) Get clients and customers off your back. (The old site was atrocious but really, you couldn’t give two shits. There are more important concerns.)
d) Be an investment that actually paid off, instead of it being a waste of money to pay that dillhole designer.
If you answered mostly A’s, your online space is Sexified. You need no further help, my Padawan. Go forth and rock out.
If you answered mostly B’s, your online space is Desperate. Everything from your design to your copy screams that you’ve gotta fill the docket in order to pay bills. Desperation gathers desperation. Go get a hug immediately, sweetness.
If you answered mostly C’s, your online space is Ambivalent. When people look at your site, they’re turned off because it looks like you don’t care about your biz, your site, or (even worse) them.
If you answered mostly D’s, your online space is Aggressive. Your online space has a lot of negativity surrounding it. You use fear-based marketing tactics. Your design uses red, blue, and yellow because that’s what the other websites told you to use. … but you? You’re probably a teddy bear. Time to tone it down, babe.
How’d you do?
I’m assuming that not everyone has a Sexified online space. And hey, that’s totally fine. But instead of breaking out the cyanide tablets, crack open a notebook or open a word processing application on a device or three.
Get ready to be rad.
Desperate, Ambivalent, and Aggressive online spaces are the products of Fear, which leads to trust-issues. It’s hard to loosen the reigns to let somone come in and make your vision a reality. It’s even harder to bust open your wallet and give away that hard-earned money when you could just as easily do it yourself. (Yay WordPress!) But what’s harder still is watching your biznez fail because your online space simply doesn’t reflect you.
You’re driving your Perfect People away with desperation, ambivalence, and aggression.
No one wants to buy product or hire a service provider if the website confuses their senses.
Fear-based marketing tactics turn people off and make them mistrust you right off the bat. Writing yet another apologetic post because you’ve been too busy to create is a surefire way to turn people off. (Everyone’s busy. Get over it.) And if your design and copy are sloppy and rushed, clients are likely to pass you up for someone more polished.
How do you want to be treated in biznez? One would assume that you want to be respected, to be loved, and to get paid. (Word.)
You’ve gotta treat your People with the same kind of love and respect. Everything from your tweets to your Facebook updates to your blog posts and email marketing needs to emanate exactly how you want to feel.
Want the love? Be loving. Make your online space welcoming and joyful by using colour, texture, typography, and gorgeous copy. Retweet generously. Send people love letters.
Want the respect? Be respectful. Treat your service providers like the Kings and Queens they are. Pay ‘em promptly. Lavish them with kind words. Give them ta-das as well as to-dos when providing feedback. Watch it come back to you five-fold from your own clients.
Want the cash? Give it. Hire people to help you. You are not a One Person Army, in spite of what your Fear is telling you. Hire a designer to sexify your visuals. Trust her to bring your vision to life. (Because darling, she will. It’s what we designers do best!)
Want to be trusted? Trust others to bring you to where you need to be. This means handing over the keys to your kingdom from time-to-time, as scary as that can seem.
It starts with one little step in the opposite direction:
- Tell someone about your vision. Your friend, your partner, your mom – whomever you choose, make sure they know how important this is to you.
- Reach out and ask for help. Even if you can’t afford to hire anyone yet, talk to experts and pick their brains a bit. (Don’t be a dick, though. Remember: they’re just as bushed as you are.)
- Acknowledge the Fear… and then tell it to sit in the corner while you take over the world. Success will be stoked to take Fear’s place.