Creating Content on Your Terms: Whose Opinions Really Matter in Business?
When you’re creating content, everyone’s going to have an opinion. In this episode inspired by an episode of Frasier, I’m going to discuss whose opinions truly matter when it comes to creating content, expressing yourself in business, and establishing your brand and vibe.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- What to pay attention to – and ignore as a business owner
- Why you can’t rely on external validation in your business
- Discovering what it means to build a business on your terms
Listen to the full episode of On Your Terms™ on your favorite podcast platform
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In this article, we’ll talk about who to listen to when it comes to your business, and why it’s important not to rely on external validation. Be sure to tune into episode 97 for the full discussion!
“This Week on Frasier…”
love watching 90’s sitcoms to wind down, and Frasier is one of my favorites. Recently, I was rewatching an episode (S3E23) where Frasier was listening in on a focus group for his radio show. Everyone loved the show — except one person. And who do you think Frasier is focused on? You got it: the one negative opinion.
I can’t help but turn everything I’m watching into business lessons. So what is there to learn from this?
Finding Balance: Why External Validation Shouldn’t Define Your Worth in Business
When it comes to online business, the common message is to ignore the one person who doesn’t like you and focus on the ones who do. But I think we shouldn’t put too much stock in the negative or the positive opinions. We need to believe in ourselves and our business first and not rely on external validation.
Of course, it’s important to listen to feedback about our products to create something that’s good for our ideal customer, but we shouldn’t let positive feedback dictate our worth either. Similarly, negative comments shouldn’t bring us down. We can’t pay too much attention to either the good or the bad. It’s all about finding a balance and not relying on external validation to define who we are.
Easier said than done, but I believe this is an important skill to cultivate as your business grows.
Believing in Yourself: How to Overcome Lack of External Validation in Early Business Stages
In the early stages of your business, you might not receive a lot of positive feedback or external validation. But that doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job or that you’re not worthy. Act as if you already have a room full of people who appreciate your work, and eventually, you’ll look back and realize that you do. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team believed in themselves and made it to the World Series, even though others didn’t consider them to be a top team. The key is to have a clear idea of what you stand for and what your business mission and values are. Don’t base your value or likability on the opinions of others. Instead, focus on being true to yourself, and you’ll attract the right people who appreciate and support you for who you are.
Moving Forward with Authenticity: Tips for Creating Content that Reflects YOU
How can you shift from creating content just to please others and start showing your true self? It’s more inspiring to be authentic and committed to being yourself rather than just trying to please others. Let’s stop seeking validation from others and focus on valuing ourselves. Eventually, others will catch up.
Sam Vander Wielen: Hey. And welcome back to On Your Terms podcast. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen, an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps online coaches and service providers legally protect and grow their online businesses using my DIY legal templates and the Ultimate Bundle. On the show, each week, I bring you fresh tips on how to legally protect your business and grow that business on your terms. It’s kind of my thing.
So I am so excited because today we’re going to talk about where to put your value, where to get your value really from in your business, and whose opinion we’re really considering when we’re creating content, when we’re expressing ourselves in our business, kind of creating your brand and your vibe. This was inspired by a Frasier episode that I saw the other night, so I’m really excited to get into it with you in a minute.
But I am also excited because next week is my 100th episode of On Your Terms. I cannot believe that I’ve done 100 episodes. On the one hand, I have to be honest, I feel like it should be like a thousand episodes. It feels like a lot. And then on the other, I’m like wow, a hundred, but that’s always how I feel about things. So I can’t believe it’s 100 episodes next week and it’s going to be a very special episode. I’m going to give you my best podcast tips and tricks. A lot of people have been asking about what equipment I use and how I edit the podcast and how I come up with content and how I’ve grown it and how I’ve gotten increased downloads and all that kind of stuff and like how I use that as a podcast funnel. So I’m going to talk about that all next week.
I’m also going to be giving a little giveaway. I’m going to give a package away of my favorite podcast related items. So if you already have a podcast or you want to start it, you’re definitely going to want to listen because you could win my tech package for a podcast.
So before I get into the episode, I have to give a shout out to Crafty Mama On The Go who shared a review on Apple Podcasts. She said, "Sam shares so much value on her podcast, helping the audience to navigate complicated topics in easy-to-understand terms. I always appreciate learning from her, even on topics that I already have background in. Special appreciation for her detailed podcast notes and transcripts which help for note taking on these complex topics."
Well, thank you so much Crafty Mama On The Go. If you’re listening to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, please do me a favor and quickly leave a rating and review on the podcast. I would love to give you a shout out in a future episode. With that, let’s hop into this episode, all inspired by an episode of Frasier.
So I don’t know if you’re like a before bed TV watcher or maybe just like as you wind down. But personally, I really like watching sitcoms that are like cozy, nice, like feeling sitcoms that I know I’ve also seen before so that I’m not like, too paying attention, right, like before I go to bed. So I can kind of relax. I know what the plot is. I love the characters. They kind of feel like family, yada yada.
So I kind of feel like that about Friends. I really love Will and Grace. I like love Frasier. I love Cheers. I used to watch Cheers a lot when I was a kid. So any of this kind of like probably nineties. I’m a nineties kids, like nineties sitcoms, they make me feel really nice before bed. So as usual, watching one of these and I was watching Frasier. And it’s the episode I’m going to talk about, by the way, is season 3 episode 23 in case you want to go watch it.
But I was watching this episode of Frasier and it’s so funny because as, if you’ve seen it before, you know that Frasier has a radio show a.k.a Modern Day podcast. And the radio station decides to run a focus group because they want to learn more about what people like about his radio show, what they don’t like, all this kind of stuff. So they bring together this focus group to talk about Frasier show. He’s behind one of those like two-way mirrors. And everybody who comes to the focus group is 100 percent positive, like they have nothing to offer as feedback. They’re like, oh, I love that show. He’s so great, he’s smart, yada, yada.
Except one guy who is the actor, Tony Shalhoub. And so if you’ve ever seen Monk or something like that. So in this episode where Tony Shalhoub is one of the focus group attendees, he’s really silent when everybody else is going on and on about how much they love Frasier. And the focus group coordinator is like, "What about you? You haven’t said anything." And he’s like, "Well, I don’t like him."
And it’s kind of like shocking because everyone else is saying how much they love him, right? And they’re like, "Well, tell us more." And he’s like, "I don’t know. I just don’t like it." And Frasier, who’s behind the two-way mirror just loses it, like he cannot stand it. And if you’ve seen Frasier before, you know, Frasier is super self-absorbed and really into himself and goes off on these things and whatever.
So this drives Frasier absolutely crazy. He needs to know why Tony Shalhoub’s character does not like him, so he actually tracks him down. He works at or owns a newspaper stand in Seattle. And so he tracks him down and he pulls up his car outside of his newspaper stand, and Frasier makes his father get out of the car to go ask Tony Shalhoub why he doesn’t like Frasier. And when he asks Tony Shalhoub, Tony says, "I just think he’s annoying." And so that’s all he’ll say. And he’s just like, I just don’t like him.
So the dad comes back and tells Frasier, and it’s still not good enough for Frasier to know. He’s like, now I need to know more. Like, why does he think I’m annoying? Why doesn’t he like me? So Frasier goes to talk to himself. He drives this guy so crazy that the guy leaves his newsstand. And in the process, I forget something happens, and essentially the newsstand catches on fire and burns down, like after the guy leaves and as Frasier’s standing there.
So I just think this is like a very funny episode. But like my brain, the way my brain works, well, one of the ways one of the many, many ways, is that whenever I see pretty much anything, I always convert business lessons out of it. So when I saw this, I was like, it’s so interesting to me because in this episode I was thinking most people in the online business world, when they would teach you a lesson out of this, what they would say is, don’t worry about the one guy, the Tony Shalhoub, who didn’t like you or thought who you were annoying, like in your audience or online. Listen to all the others that were in the room, the other 12 in the room, who all thought you were amazing. If all these other people love you, then it doesn’t matter that that one person doesn’t love you.
And I thought, wow, that’s like the messaging that we’re often fed in online business is there are always going to be people who don’t like you, so just pay attention to the ones who do. And I was thinking, that’s actually not what I think we should do either. I actually think we shouldn’t listen to any of them because I was thinking as somebody now who’s been in business for six years, I was thinking that it’s dangerous also to care about and really pay attention too much to the people who do like you too.
First of all, I mean, I have so many things to think about, to talk with you about today. But I just think that we have to believe in our own businesses and ourselves more than others. Right. And we can’t get that external validation as to whether we’re good people or good enough people. I think this often gets confused and where there’s a lot of nuance in this is that it is really important to take feedback about your products, right? Because you want to create products that are really good for your actual ideal customer, not just stuff that you like. So we can’t kind of have this everyone’s opinion be damned approach when it comes to actually creating our products.
But in terms of building an audience, getting feedback, you’re going to get a lot of positive feedback and you’re going to get some critical or negative or just find out people don’t like you or people sometimes yes, make very mean comments. That’s very rare, but it happens. And I always say we can’t really pay attention to either, because if we pay attention to all the good stuff too, we’re still putting our worth and our validation and our kind of like North Star in the positive comments. And so if I’m going to discount the negative ones, it’s not that I discount the positive, but I don’t take them to mean that I’m a good person or I’m doing a good job or people like me or don’t like me. Do you know what I mean? It’s like we can’t really pay attention to either of the extremes.
I actually say the same exact thing about revenue. Like with revenue, I always say to myself and to others, I’m like, you are not your revenue. And so that means you’re not your revenue. If it’s really low, it doesn’t mean you’re bad, your business is bad, you’re not a good coach or a good service provider. And if your business or your revenue is very, very high, it doesn’t mean you’re an incredible person who can go around doing whatever the heck you want and never looking back. So I take both. Like I’m just like, I’m not my revenue either way. The revenue is data and it’s feedback as to how well the product is doing, but like that doesn’t mean anything about me as a person.
It’s not healthy for us to look to anybody else or outside of all this for validation, right? I mean, as humans, it’s natural that we all want to be accepted and loved. And so I’m always very compassionate towards myself. Something I talked to my therapist about that, of course, you want to be like — like only — people who say this whole like, I don’t care what anybody thinks, to me and apparently, according to my therapist, I won’t speak for her, but I remember her saying that that’s a defense mechanism that we put up to say that you can’t injure me because I don’t care. But really, we do care, which is why you’re saying that.
So I’m not saying who cares, do whatever you want. It’s just that we can’t only think that we’re good or bad based on other people’s opinions, which is why I’m bringing up this example of Frazier, because I do think that the majority of the advice that you’re given would be just pay attention to the good ones, just pay attention to all the people who love you. We’re still putting your value in those other people’s opinions, right.
In episode 81, if you haven’t listened to it already, I give you a pep talk about believing in your business before other people do, and about being the Phillies, the Philadelphia Phillies of your own business. So one of the reasons why I really believe in this and why I’m bringing it up is because that’s a great example of where you might not have that external validation for a while. If you’re in the earlier stages of your business, you might not be getting a lot of positive feedback. You might not have a room full of people who are loving you. That doesn’t mean that, first of all, you’re not doing a good job and that you’re not very worthy and like a good coach, you also can’t act like that because it’s almost like you have to act like you already have a room full of people and show up as if they’re already there in order to then one day look back and be like, oh wow, there’s like a room full of people here now.
Sometimes I kind of feel like that’s how my business feels these days. It’s like I feel like I kind of just showed up anyway. And I don’t feel like I acted like there were a lot of people or like there was a lot of that excitement, but I just kind of didn’t pay attention. Like I just showed up anyway. I didn’t really pay attention to it. And then now I kind of look around sometimes I’m like, oh wow. I think there are a lot of people here and they have a lot of thoughts. It’s very interesting. And I just think that’s a healthier way to approach it.
And so if you did listen to episode 81, then you’ll remember that my story about the Phillies was that the Phillies, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies where I’m from, they were not considered to be a World Series worthy team this past year, to the point where on the day that my father passed away actually, one of the last things he said, we were all standing around his bedside talking and I was sobbing and uncontrollable was that he said something about the Phillies. The Phillies were playing the Mets that day. And he said Phillies win 3 to 2. They hadn’t even played yet. They were playing that afternoon. He said this in the morning. And everybody kind of giggled like, yeah, right, right. Like the Phillies sucked.
So, first of all, really weird story alert. The Phillies actually won 3 to 2 later that day. It was really strange. My father was no longer speaking at that time, but it was really wild to see. But, you know, the point was that , nobody expected them to be any good. And looking back on it, one of the things I thought was really, really cool about this year’s Phillies team was that when they got to the World Series, it was like they believed that they were going there all along and it was kind of like everybody else was getting on board, right?
Like they didn’t need everybody to be patting their ego the whole season saying, you guys are a World Series worthy team, or they weren’t like the hot team to watch or like, anything like this. It was just like, holy, the Phillies got to the World Series. And it was like everybody else was getting really excited for them, but they were kind of like, yeah, this was the plan. Like, we’re here. This was the plan all along.
So I really think it’s very important in our business that we look for that within ourselves that you work on really thinking that you’re good at what you do, that you have a lot to offer, that you’re unique, that you’re helpful and useful to people, and that the right people will be attracted to you and find you. And not that you need to continue to look for people who like you and then try to fit yourself into the mold of whatever that means so that those people will continue to like you, right?
So I wouldn’t put my value in those 12 people or so who were in Frazier’s focus group who loved him, because first of all, I thought, well, they can change, right? They can change their opinion. They can change their feelings about us. We say something that offends them. They find out something about us that they don’t like, they change, right? And we can’t control that. And so if we put our likability or our approval rating in their hands, then we’re basically saying that we have to keep shapeshifting ourselves to fit into whatever it is that they want, which we can’t control, and we don’t really know what they want.
We have to have a strong sense of business self in our businesses. Like what do we believe in? What do we stand for as ourselves, as business owners. What do you want your business’s mission to be? What do you want your business’s values to be? And what do you want other people to think about when they hear about your business, when they hear about you, when your name pops up? Not just in terms of your name association. Like I want my name to pop up when somebody think legal for online businesses, right? But I also want them to think like cozy, down to earth, nice, decent person. I want them to think of who I really am. That’s not like an image. This is just like me being myself and who I am.
And so I have to have a really strong idea of what I want that to look like instead of letting other people dictate what that looks like for me. And I think the key is that by getting really clear on what you stand for and what you don’t stand for, you’ll attract people who don’t just necessarily agree with you hundred percent. We’re not necessarily looking for people who just think every single thing that we think and never disagree with us like robots. Instead, at least for me, I want to attract people who respect me for knowing what I want or appreciate that I share my opinion and that we can have conversation and maybe respectfully disagree or say like I don’t love that thing that she does, or this thing is a little different than what I would do. But like, I really appreciate that she has a good moral compass. It doesn’t need to be me. I don’t need to see me reflected in everybody else.
And I know that not everyone in my audience thinks like me, agrees with me, wants to have a business or a life that looks like mine. I know that not everybody is as sarcastic as I am or as dry humored as I am. That’s okay. And I think most of the time the feedback that I get from people is that they’re just inspired by seeing me be myself, right? Not necessarily because they have every single thing in common. I think that by being yourself and not trying to be like the person that the 12 people in the focus group room think that you are, that you will inspire other people to act more like them.
And I think at the end of the day, that’s really what people want to do. They want to be themselves. They’re looking for permission to be more of themselves. Most people are really inspired by seeing you act like yourself and the people who are not. It’s because there’s something going on with them that makes them feel like for some reason it’s not okay for them to act or to be or to express who they really are. And you doing that really threatens them, right?
So I really personally think instead of you trying to shapeshift and mold yourself into a person who is likeable to the people who you’re already attracting, I would just encourage you to be more of yourself and that will inspire you, that will help you to attract people who you inspire because they want to be more like them. So if I start building my business based on whether or not they like me or agree with everything that I say, I’m not really being inspiring or as successful as I think because that could change, right? That can really shift.
But me being myself, I hope that I as a person continue to evolve and change and all this good stuff, but that’s going to change. And the point — but the thing that remained steady right and the point is that me being myself is what stays the same. Myself and my qualities can change, but being true to myself can be the kind of steady point that inspires other people to do the same.
So I’m really curious what this brings up for you, what you’re thinking. I know it’s really hard in online business because there’s a lot of like aspirational marketing and kind of lifestyle marketing where you share things that make people want to like be in your orbit. But I personally think that it’s not all the crap that we like associated with, which is like, oh, she drives a fancy car, she has a fancy house. Yes, there are going to be people that are attracted to that, whatever.
But the point to me would be more like people who I’m like, wow, I’m so inspired by how she’s so confident, she’s so outgoing or I love that she just goes for what she wants, and she does what she wants to do. She’s really curious. I love people who are curious. I love people who are multifaceted. I love people who are considerate of nuance and who don’t make sharp, judgmental, harsh opinions about things. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m attracted to, not necessarily people who think exactly like I do, drive the same car exactly like I do. Right.
So think about how this can come out in your marketing. Where could you stop focusing on creating content from an angle of pleasing other people so that you think that this is what people want to see versus really showing people who you are truly and showing who you are, that you’re committed to being yourself and see how that inspires them instead. I would love for us to stop putting our value in other people’s opinions and instead have this within ourselves and let everybody catch up.
So will you do me a favor? Will you send me a DM and let me know what this brought up for you? I’m very, very curious if it was helpful to you at all. With that, I’ll make sure that I link to the Frasier episode down below. I’ve also got my legally legit checklist for you down below where you can download the five steps to form your business, get paid, protect your content, and so much more. So that will be done in the show notes and of course, my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business as well. Otherwise, my DMS are always open at @SamVanderWielen on Instagram. And I can’t wait to chat with you later this week.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you like to listen to podcast. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram at @SamVanderWielen and send me a DM to say hi.
Resources Discussed in This Episode
- Episode 81. Do You Really Believe In Your Business? (You’re Not Alone)
- Frasier Episode (S3 E23 – The Focus Group)
- 5 Steps to A Legally Legit™ Business Checklist
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