When I was little I remember making promises to my future self. Not in the self-help, personal development kinda way (haha that would have been weird for a 12-year-old), but more like reminders of the kind of person I’d like to be (or not be).
Let me give you an example: Say I was at school, and one of the teachers was super grumpy at us all and so decided to take it out on one kid, in particular. I’d sit there, watching them yell all sorts of mean things, and I’d say to myself ‘When I’m a grown-up, I don’t ever want to yell at someone like that’.
It’s a habit I’ve continued through life. I guess it comes from a place of curiosity, trying to understand why people do what they do.
Just this last week something happened that made me remember those funny little promises. I had written an email to a fellow entrepreneur. She’d posted something on her blog that I thought was kinda cool and so I hit reply on her newsletter and just told her that I thought it was rad and that she was doing a great job.
A couple of hours later I got an email back.
It said something along these lines:
‘Thanks for your email. (Her name) can’t reply to personal emails. If you would like to sign up for (her program), please head over to (website link). If you have any questions regarding working with her, check out our FAQ page. If you’d just like to say hello, then you can connect with (her name) other Facebook page.’
I don’t know about you, but that one single email made me massively unimportant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of automation & efficiency in business, but this felt like a brush off. Like my email hadn’t even been read.
Now, this entrepreneur is way further up the ladder than me. She’s achieving a pretty epic amount of success. I totally understand that she’s probably super busy.
But to me, in that moment, I made another promise to myself. I never want my business to go in that direction. I never want to treat people in a way that makes them feel small or unimportant. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to reply to every email or respond to every FB message, but holy smokes, it’s worth it.
These people are your potential customers & clients. They’ve taken the time to connect with you. They deserve to feel important because they are important.
Even if it’s a super quick ‘ahhh thanks for your lovely email’ or a couple of paragraphs that will answer their Q. And if you’re that busy in your business that you can’t reply to the people who matter the most, then maybe think about switching up the way you work, hiring a VA or simply re-jiggling your priorities.
People matter. Treat them that way.
So my question to you is, what kinda stuff have you seen happen in business that has made you feel unimportant? Are there lessons we can learn from these experiences? What promises do you need to make to your future business?