Words can be weapons when you wield them loosely.
We're not professional comedians here—we can't get away with being total dicks and allowing our professions to take the fall for our actions.
I was done with them, with these people who bitched and whined and told me my business model sucked; how I should be going after "corporate sleaze" and their sponsorships over "targeting the little guy", as someone so endearingly put it.
I was perplexed.
My frontal cortex fumbled about, unable to process the emails from these upset people.
What had I done to upset them so deeply?
One person who I spent countless of (uncharged) hours corresponding with over the course of 6 months demanded a full refund on clearly stated non-refundable digital products. She went as far as trying to get more money out of me than what she put in.
She threatened to slander my name and contact PayPal to report me.
Because I hadn't responded to her..?
I couldn't understand what had happened.
When I saw her angry email I was in the hospital recovering after a not-so-seamless hysterectomy.
I didn't want to deal with it in my dopey state, so I flagged it and decided to wait to respond when I was home and not medicated.
A week later there were over ten angry emails, sprinkled with threats to my business and insults to my personal and professional conduct.
There's been a handful of other negativity between then and the most recent email—some interesting ones like people making a digital purchase and not checking their emails for months—one was over a year—(digital purchase links are only valid for so long), and somehow their inbox inattention is my fault.
Other instances were simply that the person didn't save the file after opening it the first.
I get an annual email from someone who purchased a Blog Strategy Planner from me four years ago. Each year it's like s/he forgets that we do this same dance every single year. And every single year I repeat the same thing: "Be sure to save the file to your computer so you can access it whenever you need to. Thank you for your business."
(I should just keep a canned response in Gmail for him/her, huh?)
Some emails attacked my style of teaching or language, others give unsolicited advice on how I need to be vlogging or how I need to be on Facebook or how I should give them paid products for free (to get my almost 6-year-old business off the ground..).
Others tell me who I need to follow and model my business after—like Gary Vaynerchuk (AKA GaryVee) who "goes after corporate sponsorships instead of the 'little guy'" like I apparently do.
Do you actually know how [celebrity entrepreneur] GaryVee got his start in business?
Each time one of these negative emails pop in, there's always a praise email from someone else not too far behind.
The praise ones, those come in more rapidly and more frequently.
They are the ones that assured me that I was doing a good thing, keeping the business going even when it no longer fulfilled me—that continuing my autopilot business was the right thing to do because there are people out there who need that information right now.
With that, I keep all those emails—the praise and the not-so-friendly ones.
I keep the latter to remind me that (1) there are some things I could improve upon and, (2) no matter how good or kind or hopeful you are, there are always going to be hateful or hurtful people who try to tear you down—justified (is there ever justification for that) or not?
I kept the negative emails to remind me that, one day, my Phoenix would die and be reborn again.
* * *
I've been reading "How To Be Everything" by Emilie Wapnick.
I saw her TEDtalk a few weeks ago and had a lightbulb moment.
I'm not alone. I'm not a flake.
I'm a multipotentialite—someone with many interests and creative pursuits (see Polymath, Renaissance Person, Scanner, Generalist, Multi-Passionate, Multipod, etc.).
It was so inspiring to see that for all the shame I've experienced for shifting gears and changing career paths and switching majors in college, the shame was simply unnecessary.
I can be more, and I can do more than "one thing".
Emilie came to me at just the right time in my life and business.
I’ve been teetering the line of close it or leave it open for months now. Every time a negative email made its way into my inbox, I was certain closing it was the right thing to do.
I’ve left it alive for everyone else, why keep something going for others when so many faceless people throw in their two-cents negatively.
I mentally prepare myself, start to review the content, get convinced that that person just didn’t understand or clearly didn’t get the “this isn’t the right fit for you” message early on, and give myself more time to think about it.
Then a praise email comes in and I’m affirmed—this is good, this is right, there are people who are using this resource and taking it down would be selfish.
Then more and more emails, and I’m exhausted—I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want to spend what feels like a tiny amount of time available on this business built for everyone else.
That’s what we’re told we have to do as entrepreneurs—to build your message, your business around a tight niche and focus on the people. Gear your message so laser-focused on that subset of the population and grind it out like it’s the only thing worth pursuing.
One day I was checking YouTube and stumbled onto a video called, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”.
It wasn’t brand new, but the idea was certainly new to me.
And I was awakened.
Since then, I’ve decided to rebrand my business (yet again).
This time, it will be entirely different.
In Emilie’s book, she covers the four different types of multipotentiality (although one label need not apply to everyone):
- The Group Hug Approach: having one multifaceted job or business that allows you to wear many hats and shift between several domains at work.
- The Slash Approach: having two or more part-time jobs and/or businesses that you flit between on a regular basis.
- The Einstein Approach: having one full-time job or business that fully supports you, while leaving you with enough time and energy to pursue your other passions on the side.
- The Phoenix Approach: working in a single industry for several months or years and then shifting gears and starting a new career in a new industry.
(Credit: The Right-Brain Business Plan)
I have been “Phoenixing” for years—diving headfirst and whole heartedly into a business idea, riding it out until I fell out of love or simply lost interest in the work.
I felt like a failure, a flake—I felt immature and pathetic for not being able to just be happy in doing one thing “for the rest of my life”.
Other people seem to be able to do it. Why can’t I?
This last round of Goff Creative’s direction lost its luster after I got severely ill with Celiac Disease.
I was thirty and had nearly died from a handful of different things (all stemming from this unchecked disease) over the span of sixteen years, and my mortality was now a prominent fixture in my mind’s eye.
I will not live forever. How will I live now?
So, likely to my husband’s dismay, I was done doing things for other people.
I’ve loved writing my entire life. I’ve written professionally, and now it’s time to focus on writing creatively.
But instead of focusing on one facet of a creative writing career, I’ve decided to write about anything—everything I want to.
Personal growth, productivity, life, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, fiction—whatever I want to write about.
I’ve earned it.
I don’t care if people think I’m unfocused or that I can’t make a decision, because frankly, I don’t want to.
I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a writer. I’m an artist.
I enjoy journaling and bullet journaling and creative writing and personal exploration and painting and drawing and critical thinking and solving other people’s professional problems and blogging and making videos and taking photos and going on long walks and inverting and reading and talking and sharing.
But for my personal security and my mental health, I want to earn an income while doing some of the things I enjoy sharing or instructing others on.
I’m an expert in so much and a novice in plenty.
I’m not a “flake” and I’m not (entirely) unfocused.
I’m me. I like a lot of things.
And now I’m going to share about most of them.
Goff Creative is going to become a new brand for my various interests and passions.
Won’t you come along?
NOTE: Official changes to the Goff Creative website will commence on Monday, September 10th.
If you're already subscribed to other email groups or series, you won't be booted from them. I will continue to let them run as long as there are people in them, however, the official, visible-to-the-public site will be fully refaced and refocused come September 10th.
I hope you join in and see what I've got in store!