Do you like to tell people what you do?

38 replies
Hi,

This isn't the normal "what do I tell non-IMers" question - the opposite in fact.

I was at an IM seminar/workshop recently and people kept asking me what IM stuff I do and I constantly found myself avoiding the question and giving general answers.
Not because I don't want to share what I do, but more because I don't think what I do is something other people should be focused on.

Now, I know that I've been able to help a lot of people over the years by sharing what's worked for me, but I've always steered clear of just blatantly telling people all about what I do.

I know some people will assume that it's because of some selfish desire to keep my cards close to my chest and not give away the lessons I've learned over the years for free, but it's actually driven by the fact that I just don't like to blow my own trumpet. I'll talk all day to someone about what else they could be doing - I love helping people and coming up with creative suggestions for them. But for some reason I just don't feel the same when it comes talking about myself.

Can anyone relate to that? or is it just me?

Andy
#people
  • Profile picture of the author TimHutch34
    I don't really meet other IMer's. Not in person anyway. But I can relate to the opposite of the question. I tell them I sell on ebay then they give me a look or start with the patronizing voice"oh that's good" or it's a shame you haven't found a job in all this time.
    Makin just as much as my last job...or close anyway
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by TimHutch34 View Post

      I tell them I sell on ebay then they give me a look or start with the patronizing voice"oh that's good" or it's a shame you haven't found a job in all this time.
      Makin just as much as my last job...or close anyway
      Yeah - that's the irony, I'm usually making more doing what they're interested in than the 'experts' they're buying information from, I just don't like to shout about it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        I just don't like to shout about it.
        Andy, you're too British

        Like Tim Berners-Lee telling people "I do boring stuff with the internet".

        Martin
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        • Profile picture of the author Russell Turner
          Originally Posted by Martin Luxton View Post

          Andy, you're too British
          One can never be too British!
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          • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
            Originally Posted by Russell Turner View Post

            One can never be too British!
            Indeed one can't!
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            I own two distinct businesses.One is as a speaker selling local internet services, the other is a retail store owner selling vacuum cleaners. So it depends on where I am, and who is asking.

            When strangers ask, they are either a prospect or not. Internet Marketers are not my prospects. Non-business owners are not my prospects. So in internet groups I say "I do local SEO. You?"


            In a social setting near my home town, with non business people, I just say "I own a retail store that sells vacuum cleaners". That's the truth. Once in a blue moon they will ask another question about vacuum cleaner. But usually, that's it. A few sales have been made that way.

            But if I'm in a group of business owners, either at a conference or one on one, I ask "Have you ever had a customer tell you they found you online?". If they say "Yes" I say "I multiply the number of times that happens every month for my clients. Would that be helpful to you?"

            Sometimes that scares them...and they mumble something, smile, act like they see someone they know...and wander off.

            But....every once in a while...they then ask real questions and it turns to business. Now that has made me several speaking gigs and a few dozen clients.

            But at a conference of IT guys? I just wander around and listen. If I hear something brilliant, I talk to them. Otherwise you would think I was deaf.
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  • I tell them Im retired (at 36 )

    Then everything becomes past tense. No need to show them anything.

    Less headache.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Mansfield
    Business cards are so last century ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      I tell people I'm an Internet business consultant and leave it at that. I really
      don't like to talk about my business either. Most people either don't get it or
      don't care anyway.

      As far as talking to other marketers, yeah, I'll offer some advice if they ask for
      it, but I avoid stuff like "This is what I do" because what I do may not be the
      right fit for them.
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      • Profile picture of the author rmolina88
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        I tell people I'm an Internet business consultant and leave it at that. I really
        don't like to talk about my business either. Most people either don't get it or
        don't care anyway.

        As far as talking to other marketers, yeah, I'll offer some advice if they ask for
        it, but I avoid stuff like "This is what I do" because what I do may not be the
        right fit for them.
        My term is "Online Business Consultant". :p

        I usually don't like telling people what I do since I don't like explaining it, even though it's as simple as saying "I have a list of buyers and I promote products to them".

        I tend to get a lot of "That's not a *real* job" faces from many people. But I'm not stuck in the rat race complaining how bad my "job" is, though. :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author fin
      I don't think you should tell someone what you do.

      It's fine helping them by planting seeds, but if you really have to spell it out for them it's all for nothing. They'll end up getting stuck when the next thing pops up.

      I can't really answer this question because it's a work in progress, but in the future I wouldn't let people into my mind even though I might tell them what I think they should do.

      If I've learned anything from testing and speaking to readers, it's that NOTHING I've have found out will be the same as what they need to know, unless they're in my niche and I wouldn't tell them anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nino
    Great question Andy...

    I don't like to tell what I am doing either. I don't have an exact reason but it's a combination of being misterious, letting people underestimate you because you can blow them out of the water... or maybe I don't feel they deserve to know what I am doing, meaning that even if I am open to them they won't do nothing with the information.

    Don't get me wrong...I like helping people who can realize the value that I am giving.

    In fact - I myself can't define exactly what I am doing because whatever i tell it's a lie, because I do so many stuff ... and not many people actually care to listen the whole story, so why waste my time and words?

    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Hi,

    This isn't the normal "what do I tell non-IMers" question - the opposite in fact.

    I was at an IM seminar/workshop recently and people kept asking me what IM stuff I do and I constantly found myself avoiding the question and giving general answers.
    Not because I don't want to share what I do, but more because I don't think what I do is something other people should be focused on.

    Now, I know that I've been able to help a lot of people over the years by sharing what's worked for me, but I've always steered clear of just blatantly telling people all about what I do.

    I know some people will assume that it's because of some selfish desire to keep my cards close to my chest and not give away the lessons I've learned over the years for free, but it's actually driven by the fact that I just don't like to blow my own trumpet. I'll talk all day to someone about what else they could be doing - I love helping people and coming up with creative suggestions for them. But for some reason I just don't feel the same when it comes talking about myself.

    Can anyone relate to that? or is it just me?

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I tell people I generate leads and sales for businesses that have websites.....
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    Why not?
    Although I dont consider myself a Imer but I think Imers can say that they are online marketers and they market products of other small & big companies online.

    Big MNC's do spend millions for their online part....

    TY
    my 2 cents
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  • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
    I run a Marketing/Advertising company.

    Many of us don't like getting into the details for various reasons.

    Your not the only one on that. My dad always taught me not to

    Discuss my personal business or at least not just with random folks.
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  • Profile picture of the author fin
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    This isn't the normal "what do I tell non-IMers" question - the opposite in fact.
    C'mon people, at least pay attention until you get to the second sentence.
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  • Profile picture of the author rising_sun
    Banned
    Obviously ,but not always and not the secret matter .
    I believe every secret has it,s own specialty, so I keep them secret from others ,
    but if it is necessary to inspire someone then I loose my low as possible .
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  • Profile picture of the author PotPieGirl
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Hi,

    This isn't the normal "what do I tell non-IMers" question - the opposite in fact.

    I was at an IM seminar/workshop recently and people kept asking me what IM stuff I do and I constantly found myself avoiding the question and giving general answers.
    Not because I don't want to share what I do, but more because I don't think what I do is something other people should be focused on.

    Now, I know that I've been able to help a lot of people over the years by sharing what's worked for me, but I've always steered clear of just blatantly telling people all about what I do.

    I know some people will assume that it's because of some selfish desire to keep my cards close to my chest and not give away the lessons I've learned over the years for free, but it's actually driven by the fact that I just don't like to blow my own trumpet. I'll talk all day to someone about what else they could be doing - I love helping people and coming up with creative suggestions for them. But for some reason I just don't feel the same when it comes talking about myself.

    Can anyone relate to that? or is it just me?

    Andy

    Andy, I think this is a really great question - very thought-provoking!

    Once upon a time when I decided to do the whole conference/seminar thing to be around "like-minded people", I was very open and shared what I do online.

    My thinking was, "They asked, so they must be interested in me/my business".

    It didn't take me long to realize that many (most?) were not so much interested in ME, but mainly interested in what I could DO for THEM.

    It was as if I was being qualified as being "worth networking with" or "not worth networking with".

    That wasn't the "like minded" I was looking for so I decided I was totally fine to be labeled as "not worth networking with". I'm not a back-scratcher and I didn't go to those events to find people who could do things FOR me.

    In those situations, yes, I keep my cards close to my chest as well.

    However, there have been some rare occasions when I meet someone else in this industry and we genuinely have a great conversation about this business without any of those under-lying tones and judgment.

    Those are great moments!

    Great conversation!

    Jennifer
    ~PotPieGirl
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      Like Andy, I now avoid telling people "what to do". Besides, if I had to start over again today, I would do many things differently, and yet still not try to advise anyone how anything "should" be done.

      I too believe that what works for one person, may not work for another. Certainly I don't advise anyone to follow in my humble footsteps because mine have been many missteps. If anything, I might be able to tell people what NOT to do.
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      • Profile picture of the author KenJ
        "I work with computers and the internet." is what I say.

        Most people glaze over and we move onto something else to talk about.

        KenJ
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      Not because I don't want to share what I do, but more because I don't think what I do is something other people should be focused on.
      I'm not being argumentative here, but I'm curious..what makes you think they want to know what you do because they want to do it too? Or am I missing your point here? When I'm at events it's only natural for me to ask what people are into just to have something to talk about, and because it's always just interesting to hear about all the different ways people make a living.

      But to answer your question, nope I don't relate at all. I have no issues letting people know about what I do.

      Originally Posted by PotPie Queen View Post


      It didn't take me long to realize that many (most?) were not so much interested in ME, but mainly interested in what I could DO for THEM.

      It was as if I was being qualified as being "worth networking with" or "not worth networking with".

      That wasn't the "like minded" I was looking for so I decided I was totally fine to be labeled as "not worth networking with". I'm not a back-scratcher and I didn't go to those events to find people who could do things FOR me.
      I know EXACTLY what you mean, and I do the same thing too
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by Bill_Z View Post

        I'm not being argumentative here, but I'm curious..what makes you think they want to know what you do because they want to do it too?
        Experience.

        Jennifer said it - I've met up with so many IMers who are literally filtering you to see what they can get from you and don't actually care what you do, but there are others who are not having the success they desire and just want to copy someone else, so they'll sit there all day trying to get you to give them all the details of how you make money so that they can copy it - and many of them will happily steal your niches without a second thought.

        When it comes to making money - there's a huge spread of moralities and ethics.
        Some people seem to think that you can only have ethics once you have money.

        Maybe I'm now too cautious and I see many people out there talking themselves up who have a lot less experience and success than me but they're happy to hype theirs up because they're on the "fake it til you make it" plan.

        I prefer to talk to someone who's genuine and small time than a successful faker so I tend to not to initiate interactions but be able to tell who I'm talking to before I share too much.
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        • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
          Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

          Experience.

          Jennifer said it - I've met up with so many IMers who are literally filtering you to see what they can get from you and don't actually care what you do, but there are others who are not having the success they desire and just want to copy someone else, so they'll sit there all day trying to get you to give them all the details of how you make money so that they can copy it - and many of them will happily steal your niches without a second thought.

          When it comes to making money - there's a huge spread of moralities and ethics.
          Some people seem to think that you can only have ethics once you have money.
          You said in your OP: "I know some people will assume that it's because of some selfish desire to keep my cards close to my chest and not give away the lessons I've learned over the years for free, but it's actually driven by the fact that I just don't like to blow my own trumpet."

          So I guess I'm confused here. You don't want to brag about how much money you make from your obscure niche or you want to protect it? If you want to protect your niches, that's fine. Just say you are in "so and so" market and leave it at that. You don't need to get into details, and I don't think anyone would push that fact.

          Honestly you can tell everyone you want what niche you are in, and I doubt they would still be successful even if they tried it. IMO it's not the idea so much as the execution that matters.

          What I got out of Jennifer's post was that they are filtering you to see if you have big lists to promote them or the ability to drive traffic to their product more than that they want to steal your niches. Or maybe they want to see if you are around long enough to actually contribute something to their biz and/or work together on something. That is, if you aren't "in their league" it's a waste of time for them to talk to you because they are there more to network to make money as opposed to just meet new people in the same business. But I never feel like anyone is going to steal a niche I'm in.
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          • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
            Originally Posted by Bill_Z View Post

            So I guess I'm confused here. You don't want to brag about how much money you make from your obscure niche or you want to protect it? If you want to protect your niches, that's fine. Just say you are in "so and so" market and leave it at that. You don't need to get into details, and I don't think anyone would push that fact.
            It's not about the niche - I have sites in hundreds of niches, and there are niches that I don't think twice about sharing because I have physical books, videos, digital info products etc. and 99% of people would never become competition no matter how much I told them. So it's not about what niches I'm in, although again, I don't think it's anyone's business what niches I'm in and if someone started pushing for me to tell them - that would set off alarm bells.

            I think it's just about the feeling I get from different people. I've had my stuff stolen and copied in the past, and I've met a lot of people who are just out to get what they can from you, so I don't talk about myself or what I do until I've got a feel for why they care.

            I've happily shared anything and everything with some people just because I've found them to be genuine and honest and thought that sharing it would help them.

            Maybe I'm not expressing myself very well if my comments are confusing you - I guess I haven't really tried to put this stuff into words before and it was just this recent seminar that made me notice my behaviour.

            I just notice that some people learn the basics of an IM strategy and then immediately adopt the mindset that they're an expert and should go around telling everyone who will listen how it should be done, whereas no matter how much I learn about something I never reach the point where I would adopt that mindset.

            I know it's cost me a lot of money over the years in missed opportunities because some people like to see people who are like that. It's probably the reason why I've built my IM business from referrals of happy clients and don't go out cold-calling to get business. I don't go out looking for people to partner with, I just let them come to me when they've heard good things from someone else.

            Maybe I am just "too British".

            I just wanted to share my observations to see if anyone else had noticed any of the same things in their own experience. I'm not advocating my behaviour as an example of best practice or anything, just poking a mental stick at it.

            Andy
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by rmolina88 View Post

      My term is "Online Business Consultant". :p

      I usually don't like telling people what I do since I don't like explaining it, even though it's as simple as saying "I have a list of buyers and I promote products to them".

      I tend to get a lot of "That's not a *real* job" faces from many people. But I'm not stuck in the rat race complaining how bad my "job" is, though. :rolleyes:
      I've had that "That's not a real job" statement said to me. I like saying "You're right. My employees have jobs. I have a business".

      Originally Posted by PotPie Queen View Post

      My thinking was, "They asked, so they must be interested in me/my business".

      It didn't take me long to realize that many (most?) were not so much interested in ME, but mainly interested in what I could DO for THEM.

      It was as if I was being qualified as being "worth networking with" or "not worth networking with".

      Great conversation!

      Jennifer
      ~PotPieGirl
      It seems like every Dan Kennedy event I go to, I get the same thing.
      I dress nicely, people walk up to me, and you can tell by the way the eyes are already looking for the next target. They are trolling for clients. Some peole are genuinely engaging and interested...but there are sharks trolling for surfers.

      Oh well, it's just part of the deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I live in the sticks and don't meet up with IMers. When someone else asks me what I do, I lump it all in the "graphic designer" category and don't get any more detailed than that. My own father and mother were not interested in what I do until my father needed a website.
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  • Profile picture of the author ElTrabajo
    I tell them i sell pools...
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  • Profile picture of the author Dale_Anthony
    I'm very general. I just tell them I'm into affiliate marketing and talk in generalizations. Except when it comes to CPC advertising. I'm usually the one trying to "sniff" information out of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author successpaving
    If any method works for me then I make a detailed blog post so that other would also be beneficial from this and me too..
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffreydale
    Unemployed - don't need friends that are only around due to my success or lack of. If I get too much sympathy I assure them that I invested my money wisely and I'm fine.

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  • Profile picture of the author gpwilson
    I do not agree with you at some points. I like to share my thoughts with same mined people. When we discuss what are we doing now then we get lots of good advice from them. It really works great. Sometimes new way or new strategy come out in this way.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Originally Posted by RoseJBell84 View Post

    Why not? Yes I do. Not in details, but I do.
    Then please do tell us since you haven't written more than one short line of text in any of your posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author gator30
    Since I run a dating network I like telling people I run an online escort service. Well, to people I don't want to continue talking to anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author NathanBai
    this is tricky, as some people feel that they personally must know what niche your in, some people want to try their luck at it, others just want to know for further reference. It is a personal decision! I personally think it depends on WHO you tell.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesse L
    mentioning something about being a tax collector would most likely change the subject
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  • Profile picture of the author noithathoaphat
    I think you should tell someone what you do if they wanted to know it, otherwire not need to tell them all
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