You know what’s not okay?
Selfishness. Full-fledged selfishness.
It makes me ANGRY. Can you tell?
Business owners who only think about themselves burn their connections, frustrate their customers and give off that snotty arrogance that nobody likes. It might take a little while, but your true jerkface colors will eventually shine through.
And, if you’re a small business (as in it’s only you or it’s you and an assistant or you and a couple of freelancers), it’s pretty darn obvious when all you care about is you.
I get it.
You’re in it to win it. (Forgive the cheeseball sayin’.) You want to succeed. You need to make money. You’re constantly thinking about how to get more customers, how to better your website, how to get more likes on Instagram and retweets on Twitter and how to get your mom to stop referring to your online jewelry store as “that little thing you do on the internet.”
But, come on. You’ve got to give, too.
I know this is a little more rant-y of a blog post than I usually publish, but a few things have happened recently that have put me in a rant kind of mood.
Think about all the other people who are working their butts off to build their businesses. Think about all the other creatives who are putting their art into the world to make it a more lovely place. Think about all of the customers who are giving you their hard-earned money.
Signs you’re being waaaaay too selfish:
You don’t give away any of your time. (For instance, I set aside about 10% of my work time for answering non-customer emails, doing interviews that I think will help other creatives, helping other people promote their stuff—usually via social media and answering questions I receive on social media. I also write and publish blog posts for free—to help my business and creatives who don’t have the money to invest in my higher priced courses.)
You don’t give a little support to someone (like tweeting about her latest product when she sent you easy-to-copy tweets) you call a friend and who has always given you and your business support.
Your Twitter feed is all self-promotional. If you haven’t re-tweeted someone else’s blog post, given a shout out to another creative entrepreneur or said something nice about someone else in the past month, what are you waiting for?
You mention someone else or someone else’s product in a blog post, but you don’t include a link. Without a link, it doesn’t really count.
You NEVER link to other people’s stuff in your blog posts because you don’t want your readers to ever leave your site. (Why don’t you just set the link to open in a new window?)
You don’t give credit where credit is due.
You steal someone else’s concept, design, photograph, illustration or copy and pretend it’s your own. (Just to clarify, I’m not talking about designing something that you actually thought of on your own and then you find out that someone else has created something that looks kinda similar. That happens. I’m talking about intentionally stealing.)
You want to steal someone else’s concept, illustration, idea, design or copy and you know it’s wrong, so you ask them if you can also use it. Or, you email them afterward, telling them that you were inspired by their work—when actually you just copied pretty much every single thing. (I’ve had this happen more than 10 times. I’m not kidding.)
You’re called out on intentionally copying and you say that “you’ve changed enough things that it’s different enough that you aren’t legally obligated to do anything about it.” (Ummmm…are you serious? How about be original? And, the last person who said that to me lost that legal battle. Take that.)
You’re mean to your customers because they have questions.
You’re rude to someone because she hasn’t actually bought from you yet.
You don’t give someone the time of day because she isn’t as “big” as you. Maybe she only has twenty followers on Twitter and five blog readers, so you ignore her. (I recently had a business treat me really bad, so I mentioned it on social media cause I was fuming. They immediately reached out to me, because they saw how many followers I had (I’m not Beyonce or anything but they were scared) and they wanted to contain the situation. That’s the only way I got their attention and I had tried calling customer service and going to the actual business to work out the issue. They didn’t pay attention to me until they thought my talking about it would impact them negatively. Then they wanted to fix it immediately. Complete selfish jerkfaces.)
You don’t say “thank you.” (Whenever a customer comes to me with an issue like she can’t download my digital book because her link isn’t active anymore, I always try to remember to thank her for buying from me first. Cause I am very thankful. Then, I fix her problem ASAP.)
You don’t ever go out of your way to help someone else succeed. When you receive that handmade purse you ordered off Etsy, take a picture and share it on Instagram. How good would that make you feel if someone did that for you? Spread the love!
You never “help” someone else unless you think something is in it for you.
This might be a tad harsh, but we all need a little wake up call every now and then, right?
I’m not saying that I’m perfect. Not by any means. Selfishness is human nature. There have been plenty of times that I’ve reminded myself to stop thinking about just me.
I’m hoping this post inspires you to do better. Give more. Think about others. And, maybe laugh a little? The word twit always cracks me up and how could you take that photo seriously?
It feels so darn good to help others and give. So why not bake that into your day or week? Start each day by doing something to help someone else.
My challenge to you (even if you haven’t been very selfish lately) is to do something for someone else right now.
Need some ideas? I’ve got you covered:
- Tweet about the helpful video you watched on YouTube yesterday.
- Say yes to an interview that might help other creative entrepreneurs.
- Take a picture of the handmade necklace you bought two weeks ago and post it on Facebook with a link to where others can buy it.
- Link to an amazing blog that you highly recommend others read in the blog post you’re currently writing.
- Write an email to someone that might need a little support and ask her if there’s anything you can do for her.
- Write an email to a blogger who inspires you, letting her know that you love her work and don’t ask for anything in return.
- Leave a thoughtful comment on a blog post that doesn’t have a single comment.