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4 Things About Online Entrepreneurship That Are On My Last Nerve


blog 2.12

Less than 24 hours back from my annual Winter break where I pump myself up with vitamin D and family fun, and I gotta say. I’m tired.

Not in the usual I need a “vacation from my vacation” type of way, but in the whole “crap, I’ve had two weeks off and have a new lease on life” kind of way. Perspective is everything. And this perspective I have is from the outside – from the real world away from the computer screen  – means that certain parts of online entrepreneurship are on my last nerve.

Before I let it rip, it’s worth saying that I still adore my amazing clients, community and business BFFs, but there’s some things afoot that need to be said.

You may not agree, and that’s fine by me. Because in my world, we can disagree and still respect one another, that’s how grownups operate. Speaking of which, that’s a nice intro into my first point.

#1. Be Grateful for Feedback. Not Ridiculously Hard Headed.

The online world is probably the only place I know of where it’s okay to dismiss feedback automatically as someone being a “hater” or a “troll”. The lack of honest, straight forward feedback to people who seriously suck and need a slap up side the head for their own good is mind boggling.

I’m not talking about the feedback that is rude, obnoxious or insulting because that should be dismissed. There’s no need to be careless or thoughtless, but feedback too many times isn’t given out of fear of reprisal. And when it is, too often there’s way too much drama, along with passive aggressive Facebook updates and tribes of friends pulling the mean girls routine. (I kid you not, I’ve seen it all first hand.)

In the real world, feedback is a thing, especially from your paying clients.  So we all need to harden up and be grateful for it when we get it. It’s not easy for people to give, and you should be thankful when they do. I’m willing to bet, that there’s a big old kernel of truth in their feedback if you’d just get over your ego for one minute, so stop being hard headed and see how you can use that to improve and grow.

And yeah, I don’t like negative feedback either. It sucks. It hurts. But I know this one thing for sure. It makes me better. It fires me up and pushes me harder, which makes me better at what I do every single day.

#2. Being an Entrepreneur Doesn’t Make You a Superior Person.

I’ve had a business for nearly 10 years, and for 8 years I didn’t identify myself as an entrepreneur. Because, well, that was for startups in my mind  – not small companies in even smaller country towns in rural Canada.

Now, while I do use that terminology, I’ve got to say, I still see so much BS around being an entrepreneur that it makes me want to count myself out many days.

Newsflash. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you a superior human being. Not everyone should be an entrepreneur. And having a “normal” career doesn’t mean you’re wasting your potential.

Yes, the economy is trending towards more and more independent workers, which you know I love. But the entire workforce can’t be that way. It’s a terrible idea.

Take my husband for example who works for Canada Border Services at a land border with the U.S. What the dickens happens when they all decide to quit and fulfill their “purpose” as entrepreneurs?  We just open up the border and good luck?

What about your family doctor who decides she’s throwing in the towel and frolicking on the beach in Bali? How long until you’re able to find a new doctor – months, years?

Your faithful barista at Starbucks at your office away from home? Who’s gonna make your tall soy milk latte now?

My point exactly. There’s undercurrent in entrepreneurship that we think everyone should join the party. Please stop it. Not everyone should be at this party.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re so freakin’ excited about our work, or we want people to justify just how entirely loco this ride is sometimes by having them come along with us. But we need to cut this out because entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.  We’ve discussed this at length at my house and how you’ve got to be a special breed of crazy to take this on.  Plus, the economy needs workers and employees.

It’s not a bad thing, it’s reality, because I take my safety, healthcare and cappucinos seriously.

#3. Please Speak English. Seriously.

For a about one million years I worked in the software industry, which just in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading a product data sheet or whitepaper is all about the jargon. From your whozitwhatsee to your SAAS, they speak their own language.

When I left the tech world, I was so excited to not have to deal with jargon anymore. Wrong. I was SO wrong.  Online entrepreneurship is actually worse.

I have a big side eye on you coaches, especially life coaches. Speak English please. I have no idea what the chuck you’re talking about 99% of the time. I’m a relatively intelligent individual who works with words day in, day out and I’m stumped about finding my authentic purpose and passion so I can soar.

Yes, you should speak your audience’s language. But I can guarantee that your tribe really doesn’t understand what you’re saying either. You may have a dynamic enough personality that they like you and follow you anyways. But, this is why so many coaches are struggling. They’re stuck in their coach speak while the rest of us want English or our language of choice.

Clear will always trump clever. Which is why the coaches I know that are crushing it have clear value propositions that anyone off the street can grasp in a heartbeat. If you can’t nail in a single sentence what you can do for me and how, you need to reboot your messaging immediately.

#4. Cease and Desist on Kissing Ass.

Influencer marketing. Connecting with the big guns.  Call it what you will. I call it kissing ass. My friend who shall remain nameless calls it the social BJ.

Network. Connect. Build legit relationships. But if your sole purpose is to connect with someone to get ahead, you’re doing it my friend and hopefully you get out with your dignity intact.

Now, this may seem super rudimentary like networking 101, but online and social media makes this SO much easier for people to do. It’s so much, much worse online because you don’t need to look someone in the eye.  So you push the envelope and name drop, kiss ass on Twitter and see if they will notice you.

It’s sort of like trying to get invited to an A-list party in High School.

I graduated high school a long time ago, and quite frankly, I give zero fucks if you make $10k or $10 million. How much you make, how many followers you have doesn’t make you the kind of person I want to connect with automatically. No one gets more value in my book because of how much money they make. It’s much deeper than that.

Yes, I may want to learn from you if the opportunity presents itself if you’re a successful business owner but I am not going to treat you any differently because of it.

I think people do this because they think that’s what they are supposed to do. And really and truly it’s not. You’re good enough.

This type of thing is sad and delusional because these people that you’re trying to socially sleep with, they know exactly what you’re doing.  So stop degrading yourself and start acting with some integrity. Stand on your own merits and not the fact that some “big name person who matters” likes you or buys into your schtick.

This entrepreneurship thing is hard some days and if we can all just raise the bar and cut this crap out, we can make it much simpler. And so much more enjoyable because we’ll be improving our businesses, being clear about what we do and quit acting like everyone should quit their job this very second. That in my mind would make this world a MUCH nicer place to be.

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs

Leave a Comment

  • Angelica February 12, 2015, 9:12 am

    Maggie, great points!! I love this line “I don’t know what the chuck you’re talking about”. I’ve never heard it said like that and I will for sure be using it.

    I completely agree that not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur and that is A-OK! I think I may have unnecessarily pressured someone a few years ago and it ended in a bad launch, a bad product line, and a strained friendship. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time and I wish I had.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 6:59 pm

      Thank you Angelica – and totally borrow that term. It’s super handy for those moments when you’re thinking “what the what?!?!?”.

  • Kimberly Riggins February 12, 2015, 9:18 am

    As always, dead on. I particularly chuckled at #4 probably because I see a lot of ass-kissing lately. Ugh! Makes my skin crawl.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 6:59 pm

      LOL. We always agree don’t we? It’s a bit uncanny.

  • Dana February 12, 2015, 9:32 am

    #2 and #3 spoke right to the heart of what I’ve been shaking my head about lately – they truly go hand in hand. I read the other day a few online entrepreneurs discussing labor issues and that pensions should be done away with and the reason why we haven’t (and shouldn’t) establish ‘living wages’ (a term the US uses to mean that people should actually be able to live off what they earn from their work) is because those people aren’t providing enough ‘value’ in the world. If they were providing value, the market would reward them with higher earnings. I felt like vomiting –

    When we get to a place of ‘us’ against ‘them’ we are in serious trouble. Who manages and runs the hotels and conference spaces that we schedule and hold our events? Who makes sure that the buildings we hold those events in are heated and cooled? Who builds our houses? All of society can be expected to ‘find their purpose’ and ‘live in their truth’ – somebody has to maintain our sewage systems.

    All work is honorable and deserves respect.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:02 pm

      I love this – “all work is honorable and deserves respect” – so well said Dana. I appreciate your thoughts here because everyone generates value through work and it’s not up to me to decide if you’re more valuable b/c you’re a life coach and I’m a police officer. Certain professions cap out no matter how much value they deliver like in social services – and any times those people are adding the MOST value to our society.

  • Jen February 12, 2015, 10:01 am

    One of my favorite lines from Caddy Shack, “The world needs ditch diggers too, son.” Yeah, we can’t all be working for ourselves or in whatever is the profession du jour. There are great things about communicating online… and then there are the super annoying ones too. Right there with you.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:03 pm

      Apparently I need to bust out some Caddy Shack. Could be a source of quotable quotes Jen. 🙂

  • Jackie Johnstone February 12, 2015, 10:22 am

    I love this SO HARD. I really enjoy rant-y Maggie — keep that common sense smackdown coming, lady! 🙂

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:03 pm

      I’m not sure we should encourage my ranting…it could get scary, LOL.

  • Jules Taggart February 12, 2015, 12:32 pm

    Maggie, when I got to #1 I was like “this is going to be my favorite”. Then I got to #2…new favorite. Then #3…another new favorite. Yes, yes, yes to all of this.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:04 pm

      I so know #4 was the favorite, b/c social BJ is just that memorable.

  • Andrea @ Take A Smart Step February 12, 2015, 5:15 pm

    YES! You are so spot on, I must say I enjoy rant-y Maggie also! My favorite is #3, I hate it when I can’t figure out what someone does. In fact with the whole passion thing, I just hate that as a sales tactic. You can’t always make money with your passion, and often passion grows as you get better at what you do. Passion is overused!

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:05 pm

      What? You mean passion shouldn’t be for sale? I think if we can do something we’re passionate about and make money, we’re in the minority and should just be grateful. Thanks for commenting.

  • Kimberly February 12, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Yay!!! Thank you so much for just saying it so well.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:06 pm

      Anytime. I’ll always tell the truth, lol.

  • Tamsen February 12, 2015, 10:42 pm

    Oh Maggie you read my mind this week. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve just signed in disbelief about the behaviors of our online world that just would never fly in the real world.

    Thank you for speaking truth!

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:07 pm

      I’m sure as a legal professional it’s even worse because it’s so dodgy that it hurts you! I think our online world needs a real world smackdown, lol.

  • Michelle Mazur February 12, 2015, 10:49 pm

    This is amazing and should be required reading for all online entrepreneurs.

    My friends who love (ok tolerate) their corporate life often tell me “I could never do what you do. It’s too risky. Too stressful.” The dream of entrepreneurship is not everyone’s bag.

    Entrepreneurship isn’t a cult and “people” should stop recruiting like it is one.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:09 pm

      This should be a quote – “entrepreneurship isn’t a cult” – a million times yes! And thanks for your high praise Michelle!

  • Jessica February 12, 2015, 10:57 pm

    Sing it, girl! Number 3 is one of the reasons I rarely work with coaches today. I write to help businesses improve conversions and make sales — and most importantly — to help them be UNDERSTOOD. I got sick of having to argue about clear language! No offense, coaches, but listen to Maggie on this one.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:09 pm

      You know we’ll always agree on clear being the point – clever is tiresome if you ask me!

  • Maureen February 12, 2015, 11:17 pm

    I’m a special education teacher, who is just intrigued by the entrepreneur opportunity, Sounds pretty sweet from an outside perspective, but loved your special kind of tough love, I respond well to that kind of thing, keep it coming, and keep keeping it real.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:10 pm

      I’m so glad this was helpful Maureen…and more tough love on the way!

  • Kimber Lee February 12, 2015, 11:24 pm

    LOL @ Social BJ! Great post

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:10 pm

      It’ so spot on right? Glad it make you laugh!

  • Katie - Conquering Fear Spiritually February 13, 2015, 12:38 am

    My word, I absolutely LOVE this article, Maggie! Yes, yes, yes…! x

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:11 pm

      Thanks Katie. Glad you loved it and thank you for commenting!

  • Val Geisler February 13, 2015, 12:25 pm

    Only 4?!!? They’re perfect, and this needed to be said. And I feel like there could be a follow up post here.

    My favorite part? “Because in my world, we can disagree and still respect one another, that’s how grownups operate.” OH YEAH. We’re GROWNUPS. Hello.

    Love this post, Maggie.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:12 pm

      Yes, we are grownups, and no, I don’t have an upper limit or attitude problem for being truthful, right?

      Thanks for sharing this widely Val – greatly appreciated!

  • Laura Courrau February 13, 2015, 3:49 pm

    This is AMAZING! So needed, so on-point. I’m making it a point to assess my own bizs and make sure I de-jargonize anything I’ve put out. Amen & Hallelujah.

    • Maggie February 16, 2015, 7:13 pm

      Aw, thanks Laura! We all need to watch the jargon, I even find myself doing it. It’s hard not to get caught up in it.

  • Halley August 25, 2015, 4:50 am

    “Social BJ” = nailed it.