Making a mess of asking

“You might as well just ask” / “Just go for it?” / “What’s the worst they could say? ‘No’? That’s not so bad!”

Worm's personal purposeI have read and given this advice a hundred times. It’s good advice. Mostly.

We don’t even think to ask for what we want, because a lot of times, we feel like if we ask, we’ll get turned down. There’s something else we need to do first: There’s some credential we need to get; we need to shoot some photos first; we have to put together the pitch or the catalog first.

There’s a window of opportunity and we aren’t prepared to go through it just yet.

So the advice is to just go through it anyways — barge in there with who you are, let them tell you “no,” and maybe let them tell you “yes.”

Is this advice any good? Should you prepare? Or should you just wing it?

When we first started the business, I would reach out to press and retail shops hoping to get coverage or make sales. I look back on these awkward messages now and I cringe: Did I really send those crappy photos? Did I really spend so much time talking about the our business, and so little time talking about the products? Couldn’t I have spent a little more time crafting our offering so we didn’t seem like such amateurs?

These bridges are probably behind me. I can’t reach out to them again even though our pitch is much more refined and optimal.

I went for it anyways, and because of that, I have a whole bunch of cringe-worthy pitches to companies who were, frankly, out of our league at that time in our business.

Having done that – the thing most of us are not willing to do – I lived, and I’m here to share the results with you.

90% of those pitches went unanswered.
Of the 10% who got back to us, probably 8% said something nice like “No, thanks. We’re focusing on [xyz other thing] right now.”
Of the 2% who didn’t politely decline, we’ve had mixed results:

  1. One was our first wholesale account, Marion & Rose’s Workshop, in Oakland, California
  2. One was Cowboys & Indians Magazine, who featured us and opened a whole new channel for us (the cowboy crowd)
  3. One was UNFI, the largest natural food distributor in the US, who started carrying us

Not one said “Get your fucking act together, you amateurs!”

That’s our worst fear, right? Well, that or the silent dismissal of people who think we aren’t even worth responding to… which arguably, that 90% could be interpreted as (it sure feels that way) — though it’s important to remember that it actually isn’t that way, we just imagine it is.

And of those 90% of people who didn’t respond, we are free to follow up again once we’ve got ourselves differently positioned. In fact, that different positioning gives us a great excuse to follow up: “Howdy! I thought I’d reach out since we have this new product line / set of photos / because I saw you recently posted about [subject that is related] and found your post very insightful.” Be nice, but be persistent.

I can tell you from experience, it is non-fatal to act before you’re ready, and you might even get some great contacts and results out of it!

The Goals Workshop: We’re in this together

I’ve been hearing from people about how much they’re loving the 2017 Goal Workshop. Have you taken a look at it yet? What do you think?

I also heard that a couple people didn’t get the announcement email that the course was even open, so in case you missed it: 2017 Goals Workshop

I’m so excited to hear how the course is working for people! It’s wonderful to see people getting started with some bold choices in their lives. My friend Cindy wrote this in our Facebook group (which you should totally join):

“I’m watching some of the classes and Danielle says this thing – that if you can think of a goal – you can achieve that goal – no matter how out of reach it seems. and my whole self rebels – thinks, ‘No way man, I have all of these goals, and I don’t know they’re so crazy, how could that even be?’ – and so on. Here it is 30 minutes later and I’m still chewing on it. And then – in a moment of serendipity – on my Pandora station comes a [singer name removed] song. Back in 2007, I bought this album from Amoeba. I fell in love with [her] voice, bought all of her records, got my bandmate also obsessed with her music, and basically spent a few years with her being my favorite musician. My dream goal was to play with her just once someday. Well – one night at band practice we’d been drinking – and I decided to send her a myspace message about playing a show in the Bay Area next time she’s on tour down here. Long story short – she’s now one of my best friends, we’ve gone on tour together whoa maybe almost 10 times?, I stay at her house, she stays at mine, and that goal that seemed bonkers insane is now just the commonplace news of the day around here. So I guess it all is possible. Even if the steps / road isn’t clear yet – maybe it really is possible.” (edited lightly, emphasis mine)

And if you’ve watched the first video, you know that I also have a really huge goal of how many people I impact positively in 2017: 152,000 people! So if you feel compelled to share the course with friends, I’d really appreciate it.

Why is my goal to positively impact 152,000 people in 2017? Because times are complicated. It’s a rough time for optimists these days. It’s easy to be optimistic when things are going well, but 2016 has been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. It seems like every day, we hear something new and awful – whether it’s a tweet from the president-elect, or the death of an inspirational icon, it has been a very rough year.

It feels like people are more discouraged than ever about the future of our country and our culture.

And how many of your friends are discouraged, struggling, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless?

But I don’t think it has to be that way. I think we can collect ourselves and be mighty. I think if we become our best possible versions of ourselves, we can make a real difference.

I feel like it’s our responsibility and our duty to stand up and be our best selves right now.

Because the world needs us to be as mighty as we can be.

So that’s why I want you to share the goals workshop. It’s important. It’s helpful. It’s a way you can make a difference in someone’s life.

And I’m always open to hearing suggestions about how to improve and increase my impact, since 152k is a heck of a goal (right?). If you have any ideas on how to spread the message further and create measurable positive impact, please do share them with me. We’re all in this together.

What kind of a goal-setter are you?

“Set wildly ambitious goals, and you’ll get results beyond your wildest ambitions!” – lots of self help books

How many times have you heard that? If you’ve ever read a book on achievement or goals or life, you’ve probably heard it tiresome numbers of times.

qtq80-6XwszZSo you went about setting your wildly ambitious goal — make $200,000/year, let’s say — and you read the affirmations — “I make $200,000/year!” — and yet there was a little voice inside your head that said “Wait a minute! No I don’t.” And pretty soon that big crazy goal seemed just plain stupid and maybe a little delusional, and definitely out of reach, and so you quit.

Wrong goal style, wrong results.

There’s nothing wrong with you. This doesn’t mean you’re “not a goal person” or “just not cut out for that kind of thing,” it just means that the person who wrote that inspirational book had different motivational style than you do.

Personally, I love impossible dreams. Impossible dreams motivate me and make me work harder, because I truly in my heart am an optimist and I believe anything is possible.

But if you’re a realist and you need a fairly realistic trajectory, I’m not going to try to convince you that the universe is infinite. You will still benefit from written goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do believe that the universe is infinite and we can achieve amazing things if we are sufficiently motivated, but you don’t have to believe that in order for goals to be an important and practical part of your life.

Here’s why: without written goals, life is just a big ol’ pile of to-do lists.

You may shuffle through them, crossing off tasks and getting stuff done, and meanwhile the things that you have in your heart — like riding a horse, or having a weekend with your best friend — don’t get done. It’s important to keep these bookmarked and present in your life.

I’ve been setting goals for years upon years, and I know it’s so important to have a well-rounded life. I think part of us knows that, and that part will sabotage any single-minded focus if we haven’t fully rounded out our goals.

If you’re interested in setting some really amazing goals that are right for your personality, sign up for my totally free goal-setting course.