“The great thing about telling the truth? It’s the only story you ever need to remember.”
~ Annie’s Dad.
This past week, I experienced a really nifty little object lesson in authenticity, first-hand.
Object lessons are awesome – when you’re not the object. When you are, however, it can be … um … interesting.
Yeah, let’s go with that.
Here’s what happened.
The Epic, Whedon-esque Saga of the Don’t Lose Your Shit Sale
So, long-time readers of PJP will know I am friends with and a fan of Michelle Nickolaisen from Bombchelle. She and I both write about the same topics, though we come at those topics from different angles, and have different specific interests. Michelle loves the apps and the how-to’s, I’m all about the brain hacks and the psychology.
So, when she announced her “Don’t Lose Your Shit” sale to a small mastermind group we both belong to, I was stoked to see what she had to offer. Well, my Couch Warriors, let me tell you, it was AWESOME. It was so awesome I did two things immediately:
- Bought my own damn copy.
- Begged her to let me be an affiliate.
I planned precisely TWO emails to my list about Michelle’s sale. (This was by design because I fucking HATE it when somebody big launches something, and my poor inbox gets overrun by five different marketing emails each by eight different affiliates I happen to subscribe to. I HATE THAT. So I don’t do it.)
And, as you would expect, because the name of the sale was the “Don’t Lose Your Shit” sale, the word “Shit” made a few appearances in the email. (I think it was three. Maybe four. And all but one of them was in direct reference to the sale itself.)
And then it got interesting.
Oh Noes, Profanity! ABANDON SHIP!
I got the first unsubscribe notice within six hours of sending the first email.
Now, normally, I’m pretty easy-breezy-whatevs about unsubscribes. I figure that it’s a good thing when my list self-selects itself and if someone realizes, “Hey, y’know, maybe this isn’t really the right fit for me right now,” I’m grateful.
Because nobody wants to waste their time trying to reach someone who doesn’t wanna be reached. And there’s a better list out there for that person, and there’s a better subscriber out there for me. So! Win-win!
But this unsub-notice came with an explanation:
“Too many uses of the word “shit” in the most recent email. Grow up and act like a professional.”
And then a second notice came, with this explanation:
I usually don’t fill these out, but decided it made sense to do so in this case. I know that part of building your business is “finding your voice.” And for the most part I like “your voice.” I just don’t like your frequent use of words like “shit” and so on. I know you don’t want to change because one gal would rather hear straight (or fun) info with out the added expletives so I decided to move on.
And so I reached out to Michelle, who said one other person who was helping her with this sale had a very similar experience (that was Tanja of Crystal Clarity Copywriting, who wrote about her experience with it incredibly beautifully here).
I thought about it and decided something needed to be said to my peeps about the whole deal. So I used the opportunity of that second planned email, and here’s what I wrote:
First things first: The word “shit” was in the name of the sale. I’m not gonna be coy and mask it or call it “crap” or “fecal matter” (which is worse, in my view). We’re all supposedly grown-ups here.
Second: Unsub # has my gratitude for remaining civil and for getting the fact that I’m not her ideal peep, and it’s time for us to move on. God bless, Unsub #, and may the heavens rain down prosperity upon your house.
Third: I do gotta say, though – have you guys met me? I mean, I’ve never shied away from the occasional (or hell, the frequent ) use of a well-turned bit of profanity. The fact that I felt aligned with a sale called “Don’t Lose Your Shit” should really not be a surprise.
Fourth: If it WAS a surprise, then by all means unsubscribe. There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of EVERY PJP email. But …
Fifth: You don’t have to be a dick about it. And if you are a dick about it, expect to get called out on it. Unsub #, that was just rude, and I won’t miss you at all.
And finally – although neither person did this, and I thank them for that – if you want to leave a list, for whatever reason you may have, by all means, leave it, but DO NOT MARK IT AS SPAM. That’s dishonest and cowardly and frankly it makes you a douchecanoe. In this age of double opt-ins, emails from lists you signed up for ARE NOT SPAM. And marking it as spam has serious consequences for the sender, who sent you his or her stuff in the best of faith, because YOU said you wanted it.
And then I promptly got one more unsubscribe.
What are ya gonna do?
BUT HERE IS THE THING:
In the same time period as losing those three list members, I GAINED 22. (And counting.)
I Love How Arwen Petty Gets Me
Why? I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with this. (And one more time, I am VERY grateful, as are the llamas.)
Look at what Arwen wrote about me that presumably got all those 22 peeps to (A) click that link, (B) check out PJP, and (C) decide they wanted to trust me with their email address:
Pajama Productivity = super happy fun times + business savvy with a generous dash of snark. The irreverent voice of blogger Annie Sisk is two steps past casual (profanity naysayers beware) and, despite the already widely-covered topics, gives the whole idea of mastering time-management, expanding your business, and ‘conquering the world in your pajamas’ a sharp, intelligent twist. Thankfully, her theories and tips are actually applicable to all modern workers, from telecommuters to cube-dwellers — although Ms. Sisk is staunchly anti-cube.
OK, first of all, “super happy fun times + business savvy with a generous dash of snark” is SO GOING TO BE THE NEW ALTERNATIVE PJP TAGLINE.
But more to the point – ahem …
Could Arwen have nailed (hee, I said “nailed”)(yes, apparently, I’m an eight-year-old boy) me any better?!
I really don’t think so.
And note that parenthetical? “profanity naysayers beware.”
Yes, I curse. On occasion, when I feel it’s appropriate to the point being made, I use profanity. BEWARE, NAYSAYERS.
I don’t do it to be “cute or clever” (as Unsub #3 apparently believed). I do it to fucking communicate in a way that is consistent with my “essence” or personality.
In other words: I do it because I DO IT.
In other other words: I do it to be authentic.
So what the fuck-all does any of this have to do with productivity?
Authenticity: The Only (Marketing) Story You Need to Remember
Think about how many hours are spent thinking, worrying, brainstorming, doodling, crafting, revising, re-revising, etc., business branding elements.
Your marketing story, your visual brand, the way you are with clients and referral sources and colleagues …
There are multiple blogs and books out there solely devoted to the issue of branding.
My Couch Warriors, when you are the brand, then the brand should be YOU — authentically, awesomely YOU.
Yes, I could have fought against type. I could have started from the get-go by creating a false-me persona – one that didn’t curse. Ever.
And sometimes, that’s appropriate.
But by embracing that part of me, I’m saving time and energy. I don’t have to think before I post any content or share anything on social media – I’m just me, and I already know how to be me. In fact, I’m the world’s leading expert on being me.
There’s more on this topic that I want to share. But that’ll be in the next post. Stay tuned!