Guest Post #1: Why You Should Ignore Business Advice

Everyone’s got an opinion on your business. Should you listen to them?

Guest Post #1: Why You Should Ignore Business Advice
My cat Danny thinks that you should really read Heather’s book, “Before You Code”. I’m inclined to agree.

Mariya’s Introduction

Hi everyone! This is Mariya. It’s my honor to present to you the first-ever guest post for Attention Deficit Marketing Disorder (ADMD).

Wait, What? A Guest Post for ADMD?

To me, this guest program is a way to publish a little more often without burning myself out while also getting to lift up other voices. There are so many wonderful people out there with great insights to share, and I am honored to have the opportunity to give them a platform.

Learn more about our guest writer program (and submit your own pitch):

Today’s Guest Author: Heather O’Neill

Today’s post is written by one of my favorite people and my current business coach, Heather O’Neill.

Heather is the founder of Pixels for Humans, a UX expert, coach and consultant for tech founders who give a shit about more than just the bottom line. She’s on a mission to help leaders build intentional, anti-racist businesses that care — about their impact on individuals, society and the world. Based in NYC, Heather and her team work with leaders globally to level up their business through their values.

Heather is extremely smart and knows what makes SaaS businesses tick inside and out. And, you should consider subscribing to her newsletter!

Now, let’s hear from Heather:


Why I Don’t Want Business Advice

I rarely want advice, well-meaning or not.

This wasn’t always the case. I spent a lot of time earlier in my business following the advice of business leaders, experts, and coaches. Many of them didn’t get what I am building with Pixels for Humans, but I believed they knew better than me. I didn’t yet trust what I knew about my own business.

Slowly, that changed. When I first launched my podcast and began planning the logistics for guests, I asked my lawyer at the time to draw up a contract that included paying those guests. Surprised, the lawyer told me: “you don’t have to pay anyone.

I already knew that I didn’t have to pay. I wanted to pay, because compensating guests reflects my business values.

The bare minimum of how the law requires us to treat people in business is not my baseline. I have higher expectations and standards than that.

Your Vision is Valuable

Now, I don’t want most people’s advice.

Most people are not bought into my vision of what I’m trying to do, so their advice is unhelpful at best. At worst, it can cause (and has caused) me to chase paths that feel wholly unsuited to me, delaying my ability to build what I actually want to create.

I follow my own advice first and foremost. And you can follow your own path too.

But listen – other people are not going to make it easy. Everyone’s got an opinion on your business.

From your in-laws to your favorite business guru to “user35831" on the internet, there’s no shortage of people who will tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you should change to do it better.

There’s only one opinion that matters though. Yours.

You get to decide what’s right and best for your business.

Even if it goes against popular business “best practices” (best for whom, exactly??). Even if someone you admire disagrees with you. Even if people you love and care deeply about don’t believe in you.

You Get to Make Your Own Mistakes

You get to believe in what you are doing. You get to have your own back, be your own cheerleader and trust yourself first.

You get to make mistakes.

You get to try things and see if they work, even if most business advice advises against it. You get to fail and try again. You don’t owe anyone perfection.

You get to learn from making mistakes, even if it turns out someone was “right” all along. They just as easily might not have been.

Why Forging Your Own Path is Important

Innovation is often born from challenging the status quo. The world continues to change. What worked before may not work anymore, AND it may not work for you even if it’s still working for others.

There’s an adage for ADHD folks (like me!) that the best solution is the one that works for you. This is especially true in business.

The best way to run your business is the way that actually works for you.

The way that doesn’t have you feeling like you’ve lost your identity or your soul. The way that doesn’t feel like complete drudgery and makes you hate your life. The way that lights you up, gets you excited, allows you to be fully you. That’s the best way to run your business.

And you can show a big middle finger (metaphorically or actually) to anyone telling you otherwise, saying that you’re doing things wrong, or that you should feel guilt and shame for not following the status quo.

There are Fewer Rules Than You Think

There are so many ways to run a business and what’s right for someone else, might not be for you. You don’t have to listen.

This goes for everything in your life too. There are far fewer rules than we think.

We can choose ourselves first.

Note: When someone gives you feedback on how something you’re doing is causing harm, it’s important to recognize and sit with the discomfort of that, and consider the impacts whether intended or not; this is different than someone giving you unsolicited business advice.


Reading Recommendations

  1. “Distinguishing constructive criticism from bad business advice” by Jason Cohen. This piece is great additional reading on the same topic as today’s newsletter, talking about bad business advice, trusting your gut, and judging which advice you should listen to.
  2. How to use fan-driven marketing to foster brand love by Mariya Delano (yours truly). My latest guest post for Search Engine Land talks about why investing in brand love and emotional attachments may be the best marketing investments that your brand can possibly make.
  3. “The Marketing Manifesto: Why AI Can’t Fix Your Marketing Team (And What Will)” by Donnique Williams. I adore Fenwick, even though they are technically a direct competitor. This manifesto is incredible. Here’s how its author describes why she wrote it: “I wrote this manifesto about what you stand to lose if you don’t value people in times of irrevocable change.”

Musical Minute

"Brightly Wound” by Eisley.

This was the musical suggestion from our guest author, Heather. I love the lyrics and agree with her that the conflicting melodies within the song make for a pretty cool listening experience.

“It's happening all the time
When I open my eyes
I'm still taken by surprise
I hold sunlight and swallow fireflies
And it makes me want to cry.”

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