Note from Corbett: This is a guest post by Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt. Registration is open (this week only) for Baker’s brand new You Vs Debt (not an affiliate link), a 6-week class with daily video lessons, challenges, and accountability forums to help you CRUSH your debt.
As most of of you know, Corbett and team are in the midst of kicking off their Million Dollar Blog challenge.
What an amazing freakin’ idea! I’m jealous I didn’t think it up and start it myself.
Courtney (my wife) is going to be taking the challenge, and heck – I’ve even considered doing this myself for a side project (the verdict is still out on this one).
But in the midst of all this excitement and energy, I want to share the biggest lesson that I’ve recently learned in my 3-year journey online.
It’s way, WAY too easy to shine your spotlight in the wrong direction online.
“Spotlights… what the hell are you talking about, Baker?”
Let me explain…
I was listening to one of my favorite online-mentors-that-I-haven’t-yet-actually-met a couple weeks ago, Marie Forleo.
Marie was answering a video question on her blog (as she does each week), and this particular inquiry came from a LGBT business owner who was having a small business identity crisis.
In the absolutely brilliant video, Marie’s words shattered the lightbulbs in my brain:
“You have a spotlight. You can either shine that spotlight on who YOU are and what YOU believe. Or you can take that spotlight and shine it on your CUSTOMERS – or how you help THEIR problems, needs, or frustrations.”
The words hit me straight in the face.
But before I could fully recover, Marie struck again:
“Most people who are selling information and advice online are failing because they have the spotlight on themselves rather than the problems and needs of their customers.”
Now, I don’t consider myself a failure – but I have plenty of room to improve my business, my blog, and my ability to help change lives.
Marie had just force fed me the hard truth I needed to hear…
I’d been shining the spotlight on myself so much, I was blinding myself from the real needs of my customers…
Flashback two months prior.
I’m on the phone with one of my amazing-inspiring-mentors-I-HAVE-met-in-person, Danielle LaPorte.
Danielle was helping me understand some big changes in my business and life. We were passionately discussing my future world domination plans, when she interrupted me:
“Baker, I think you’ve got it backward. You’ve had success, but you’ve always lead with YOURSELF and your personal updates and sprinkled in some lessons that people can pick up on. I think you’re waiting for permission to flip that. To lead with LESSONS that can help people, while still sprinkling in some of yourself.”
Ouch. This hurt.
It didn’t hurt because it was mean… far from it! It hurt because it was so TRUE.
I’m proud of the style and manner that I built the community that I have online, but I was leaving a lot on the table by not stepping up and solving problems more directly.
But there’s a limit to how far you’ll be able to go if you continually shine the spotlight on yourself.
Do yourself a favor, and as you start this challenge along side the Think Traffic team – hold your spotlight firm on the needs and problems of your target audience.
Be yourself. Be honest, open, and fun.
But don’t hog the spotlight.
Let your customers have it instead!