Unsolicited Advice

As a craft or small business owner, do you ever find people are constantly giving you unsolicited advice? Do you appreciate it, or do you find it annoying? Since starting the Soap Cabin, I’ve had a heck of a lot of ‘you shoulds’.

  • You should get on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Linkedin/Etsy/Folksy/Banksy/Boo Er yes, we are on the ones we consider important.
  • You should have a Facebook Shop We already have a shop…on our OWN website. We use Facebook for advertising purposes only.
  • You should apply to the Prince’s Trust for funding I’m too old to qualify?!!
  • You should rent a shop in xyz That costs a lot of money, and many small businesses have had to close shops.
  • You should do this event and that event We are already booked up with several events that work for our costs, schedule and aims for the business, and don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, but thank you.
  • You should make xyz product Actually, we used to make that product, but it didn’t sell, it’s not unique and we were wasting money on ingredients…also, most people have showers these days.
  • You should have an Etsy shop We did consider this, but with sites like Etsy, you are a small fish in a big pond
  • You should do wholesale At this point The Soap Cabin was in its infancy and we were just testing the market and wanting to develop our own line to begin with.
  • You should have a big banner on your stall saying… Are you going to pay for it?? LOL
  • We should go into business together NO WE SHOULDN’T
  • You should go on Dragon’s Den NO

The best one was from Ralph:

You should be wearing something brighter on your stall, not grey! There was no interest in our products at all, just ‘here’s my card’. Needless to say, I almost told this self-promoting performing arts-based individual standing in front of my stall where to go, but held my tongue – ever the professional! unsolicited-advice

The intention is usually well meaning, but when you’ve done your own research, you have a clear idea of your own goals and aims, have sought the advice of people who know what they’re talking about, and the person just seems to throw things out there without actually finding out where you’re at, it can be irritating! Some people are just born fixers and like to point out what you could be doing better all the time without actually listening to anything you have to say. They drop it on you and walk away. Some people just love the sound of their own voice, or do it to make you feel like an amateur compared to their vast knowledge.

Other people have offered advice because they have started something similar themselves maybe run their own business, mentor business start-ups, blog, or just make stuff and understand where we’re coming from and know how to give helpful feedback, like Marco who bought a bar of Lemongrass & Lime Soap to try, and then told us that it was nice, but the scent needed to be stronger, so we took his feedback increased our essential oil concentration in all our soaps, or a fellow stall holder who mentioned some fairs and markets that they had done that had great foot fall and said they could see our products fitting in there and give us the details if we were interested. Someone else suggested joining a local women’s business network – I’d never thought of that, so I checked them out.



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