Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
I am not proud to admit this, but I spent $10,000 on 8 weeks of business coaching. The course was pitched for high-earning (that’s me), executive-level (also me) women who were burning out (ahem, me too).
I’d be happy to share that I forked up 10 grand if I had actually learned something that made my life easier and my business run smoother.
Not so much.
I learned that you just need to stop yelling at your husband. And if that doesn’t work, try the keto diet.
Can I just repeat: TEN. FREAKIN. GRAND.
I coulda taken my whole family to the Virgin Islands, first class, five star resort with that kind of money.
I wish I could tell you that this disaster was an isolated incident but the truth is that I’ve spent years consuming business advice. I’m a lifelong learner, I can’t help it.
Trouble is, when I started implementing what I’d learned, I realized everyone’s advice conflicted.
One podcaster said “Don’t worry about the social media algorithms because the algorithms change too much for the every day Jane to keep up with it.”
A blogger wrote “Placate the algorithm gods, that’s the only way your posts will get seen.”
The $10K course instructor told me, specifically, that my struggles with social media were because I am unwilling to give up control over my brand’s voice and that I should pay (another $10K) to someone else to run my social media for me.
The next time I opened Instagram, I froze. All of that advice was duking it out in my head.
I had too many cooks in the kitchen.
It took me a minute to realize that just because someone has a podcast on business doesn’t make them an expert in running a business. Duh, Stephanie. I get so impressed by the glitter sometimes.
In fact, too many business coaches have business experience limited to… being a business coach.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn from someone who has been in the same hot kitchen.
So let me tell you what I did with that conflicting advice: I tried it all. I sautéed every cook’s recipe.
Some stuck to the wall and some ended up as compost. I’ll tell you the good stuff in future newsletters. For now, I’ll pass on one solid, consistent, enduring lesson.
Listen to your audience.
Sounds vague and vanilla, I know. But it really is the secret trick.
In my newsletter, I asked readers to write back with their most pressing business questions. I got soooooo many awesome responses that both broke my heart a bit (y’all are stressin!) and built my heart a lot because I know I can help.
The solution for at least 50% of what you sent me is to listen to your audience.
Don’t know which of your many talents should be the focus of your business? Your audience will tell you which they want the most.
Don’t know how to price yourself? Oh honey, your audience will tell you when you’re too expensive. And they’ll tell you when you’re too cheap.
Don’t know how to find customers? Your audience will tell you where to show up.
I swear, it sounds corny, but this truth is so universal it might become my next tattoo.
I promise to expand on all of these ideas and more in upcoming newsletters.
Until then, let’s make this a potluck. Write to me with the best piece of business advice you’ve heard.
In some ways, consuming every business book out there is just my slightly masochistic hobby. In other ways, I should have been more discerning early on. I would have saved a lot of confusion, time, and money (I’m still pretty sad about that) if I had just chosen wisely about who to listen to.
You know how Brené Brown said, “If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback.”? That applies here, too. Let’s use our time and energy judiciously.
Do you know someone else who needs to make this mindset shift? Send them the link to this page so they can sign up for my email list.
Building an empire can be a lonely venture. It’s easier (and more fun) to share your journey with someone who has been there before and can tell you what to do next. I’ve got the company you need in my newsletter. See you in your inbox.