Confusing a life for a product is dangerous

productIt’s trendy to sell the idea of the life you lead instead a product. Business coaches, bloggers, wantpreneurs- they often frame their business experience as “this is what I did and you can do it to.”

There are people who don’t know what they want buying the idea of a life in lieu of a business. Instead, they’re buying the idea of being entrepreneurial by following this lead.

It’s infectious. It’s quite flattering to think someone out there can realise you’re amazing and they begin to follow you because of it. Your true potential is unearthed. People start listening. And hey presto- you rock!

Facts? Pffft. Facts are boring. Fame is where it’s at.

Nowadays, people are making money and becoming famous for travelling the globe. Or cooking gluten free, parenting kids, wearing fashionable clothing and sharing their thoughts on social media. We can see millions of people who have stories turning those stories into fame, fortune and glory.

Sure, we see the occasional Belle Gibson or blogging Mum who poison’s their kid to death for the attention, but we can deal with that, right? Coconut oil may not be the cure-all we want it to be, but it’s better than eating junk food, so of course we’ll let the science slide. The bloggers who share that information get it right some of the time, so we can forgive them. Can’t we?

Yes, we can. Because we want that corner in the sun for ourselves, too.

We want to believe our name in lights will change things. So much so, we give people full of horseshit a huge pass.

When it fails us, like Belle Gibson, we excuse it as mental illness or want to put her head on a pike. Either way, we greedily consume the media around the everyday heroine and her fall from grace. She beat us at what we wanted to do. She subsequently came crashing to earth. Our envy was justified and our inability to be her doesn’t sting quite as much. Not anymore, anyway.

But where are the facts in amongst this murky mire?

Why do we sucker ourselves with the promise of fame for not doing much?

That thousand dollar course you’ve completed online that’ll revolutionise how you work.

That shiny new website with your face and the out-of-the-box testimonials.

The mastermind group you’ve joined and the TO DO list that increases to monolithic proportions. 

The people who can sell us the beautiful life in a sales page make money off our desire to have a beautiful life. We enable their beautiful life through paying for the privilege of learning things we already know. This is not generally a relationship built on reciprocation.

Enter the deep seated concerns. Once you’ve done the course, got the website and masterminded every day- what next? Welcome to a no man’s land where nothing happens on a business level and the money spent simply isn’t returning.

Is it your idea? Is it you? Why is it so easy for them and not for you? Why aren’t you amongst the palm trees, snapping your 6th gratitude post for the day? You’ve done everything you were told to do…

The unrealistic nature of passionate business

I am wary of people who base their business endeavours on passion. Business is a lot of fun and filled with rewards. It is exciting, seductive and intense. But like all worthwhile endeavours, business can give you a lot of sleepless nights and anguished moments, too.

Passion only gets you so far when things don’t go as planned.  Passion is not strong enough to carry you when the chips are down.

Let’s put it this way- I am yet to meet someone who saves lives for a living or who goes into combat that gushes about how important “passion” is in getting the job done.

The current search for business nirvana in Australian culture is making people do some pretty loopy things. Like spend money they don’t have on big, flashy courses. Or setting themselves up as a brand where there’s no product to sell.

Women are especially seduced by this notion of passion in business. Their enthusiasm for a subject becomes a substitute for a proper marketable, useful business undertaking.

Somewhere along the line, the “why would someone buy this?” became “why won’t someone buy me?”

The product you sell needs to be something far more substantial then “My life is awesome!” 

And in this pursuit of fame through business and a passionate life, a lot of people are going to end up out of pocket with nothing to show.

Passion is for the bedroom or your community theatre productions. It is not sufficient protection from the hard weathers of proper business.

The real way to succeed in business

If you want to succeed in business, have a problem you want to solve. Build a product, even if that product is your skill-set.

Have a business outside you that reflects your customers, not what you fancy doing.

Sell something that solves a problem for your customers. Know why that product is meaningful to your audience.

Create a story that’ll reach those guys and remind them you are there.

Work hard at it. Face failure regularly. Hustle your arse off. Connect to people who can help you. Don’t over-spend on dumb ideas and courses to fill in the gaps.

Be prepared for it to take a while. Keep telling your story until you’re sick of hearing it and tell it some more.

Screw spending money you don’t have learning to be someone else.

And remember, nobody wants to buy you or your life when it all comes down to it. They just want someone to make an aspect of theirs easier.

 

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Photo By: Federica Campanaro
1 Discussion on “Confusing a life for a product is dangerous”
  • Loved this Rebekah, absolutely spot on. It’s so easy to fall for this idea that a shiny website, glowing personal accolades and pictures of ‘clean eating’ will translate into full time income… The truth is success = sweat, expertise, offering something of real value. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

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