I consider myself to be a calm and levelheaded person, except when I’m watching NC State football…or any sports for that matter.
But everyone has that one thing that makes him or her twitch. That thing that makes you want to reach across the table and bop that person on the head (I’ve only actually done that once).
And honestly, this thing didn’t bother me until I started my business, Headbands of Hope.
Are you ready for it?
That thing is unsolicited advice.
Why does it bother me so much? I have no clue. But I just know it makes me want to put in earplugs when someone starts giving me advice I didn’t ask for.
Here are my favorites, and by favorites I mean ones that drive me the most crazy:
“You should be careful, you work way too much.”
Says the person who has never run his or her own company. So what makes you the expert of my working threshold?
When you choose to start your own company, you’re probably aware of the amount of tender, love and care it needs. If you’re not aware, you find out pretty quickly. Quite frankly, I love working. I’ve realized it’s really easy to work hard on something you love. I have no problem spending my Saturday representing my brand at an event or spending an evening speaking to students about accomplishing their dreams. So unless I’m typing emails in my sleep, I think I’m good.
“You should get on Good Morning America.”
Let me just go call Robin Roberts real fast and see if there are any openings tomorrow for the show.
Obviously, I’d love to be on GMA or any other huge media outlet. Your advice didn’t open my eyes to a groundbreaking idea. It’s easier said than done; so don’t remind me of a goal I haven’t reached yet.
“Remember to keep your audience first.”
My business wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my audience. I’m aware of that. But there are so many bits and pieces that go into maintaining your audience and gaining new members. Not to mention, keeping the business side of things groomed. So yes, thank you for the friendly reminder, but I think I’ll take it from here.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that people are trying to help. I’m not trying to be closed-minded to any advice. I especially welcome advice from other seasoned entrepreneurs who have been in similar situations.
It’s just the presentation of the advice that sometimes needs work.
I really appreciate when someone prefaces his or her advice with, “would you mind if I gave my opinion?”
Or, “I have some experience in the media industry. Can I give you some pointers?”
These are both great ways to give your advice without being obtrusive.
Honestly, I probably would have given unsolicited advice to someone before I started my company, which is why I want to bring it to the surface.
Advice is always good; just don’t forget about the presentation.
Jess Ekstrom is the 22-year-old founder of Headbands of Hope and Headwear of Hope. Both companies give head products to kids with cancer with every purchase. Jess is also a public speaker at speaker at CAMPUSPEAK.
Image credit: CC by VFS Digital Design