Where do you get your feedback from?
We all know about market research and how much time and energy it supposedly saves, right? Do your homework first before you waste any time, money, or energy on building something that won’t even sell, they always tell you. Google is your best friend. Also talk to your target market, hear their feedback, and use that feedback to make your idea or product even better.
But if you’re anything like I was, you’ve been avoiding doing market research for a bunch of reasons. It’s so much easier to just put your head down and get to work than to put yourself out there and ask for feedback that could potentially be painful.
I’ve avoided market research too, with like 3 of my 5 businesses. Maybe 4. And there were many (hard) lessons to be learned, so I’m writing this article with the hopes that you can learn from my lessons instead of spending your own time, money, and energy and learning it the hard way.
Why I avoided doing market research for so long
There were a few reasons why I avoided doing market research for so long even though I knew the benefits.
With my first business idea, I didn’t know how to sift through google to see if my business was a viable one. I just knew that there were other people doing it, so why couldn’t I? I proudly told everyone who would listen about what I was creating. But when I started getting comments that didn’t feel all that empowering, I began to shut down little by little. I stopped sharing so often with others and when they would ask how business was, I’d grit my teeth, smile big, and say, “It’s great!” I started feeding myself pressure to succeed just so I could come back and say, “I told you so” to all the naysayers. [This business did not go anywhere.]
After that experience, I started avoiding it altogether. The second business I started, I could barely get my voice together to share it with others. I was so afraid of rejection. So for that one I completely avoided the market research phase and did zero research. I thought it was better than doing research just to find out my idea wasn’t good enough or that there were a ton of people already doing it and “there was no way little old me could cut through all that noise.” So I built my program, spent a butt load on advertising, and generally prayed paying clients would show up. They did not.
Then I got tired of creating amazing programs that nobody paid for, so I decided to give market research a real twirl. But then I’d get stuck somewhere and start feeling like a big failure. (I always got stuck at finding influencers, and today, I know why, but we’ll save that for another time.) At that point, I usually decided whether I wanted to charge ahead anyway or start looking for the next big idea.
Thankfully, by my fourth business, I had started delving deep into personal development and was learning and practicing not to take things so seriously and so personally - I was learning to separate “myself” from “ego.” I was able to receive other people’s opinions and only take meaning from the comments I found valuable and allowing the rest to pass right through me.
I started understanding that I avoided market research, whether on Google or in-person, because I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of finding out that my idea wasn’t good enough for the market, which I took to mean that I wasn’t good enough.
Does that resonate with you? Let me know if the comments.
Once I became aware of this fear and how much it permeated my life and business, I was able to slowly release it. Market research became easier and I started to see just how crucial and valuable it is if you want to build a successful business.
Connecting with the right people preserves your mental and emotional health, which is crucial for business success
By the time I started my fourth business, I had built up a good list of supportive, empowering individuals and entrepreneurs that I felt comfortable asking for feedback. Most of these people I didn’t meet at those dreaded networking events, but instead online in Facebook groups and friends of friends. And the feedback they gave me was often surprising and contained questions and information I had not even thought about that would make my product even better. The more I practiced sharing and being detached from others’ opinions, the more honest and valuable feedback I received.
Not only that, but my emotional and mental health is WAY BETTER than anything it was before. The hope-and-pray method can only get you so far, but when you’ve done your homework and you have a group of people you know will be there for you when there are disappointing or frustrating days is GOLD. They are the ones who will help you stay the path instead of your usual reaction of running for the hills.
They remind you of your value and how much the world needs you and your service or product. They remind you that one disappointment does not mean you’re a failure. They show up with their presence when you just need a compassionate ear. They remind you of your big vision and encourage you to keep going.
Take time to find the right people to connect with
Getting feedback from the right people is crucial, not just for your business, but for your mental and emotional health. So give yourself time to find these people before charging ahead with market research.
I agree that getting feedback from your target market is the best kind of feedback you can get, but this was often very overwhelming for me. I joined forums and Facebook groups, but there was a voice in my head that constantly fed me, “Who are you to ask questions in this group? They have bigger problems to worry about than to help you with your research. There are so many people in here, they’re just going to ignore you, so forget about it.”
If this sounds like what you’re going through, I suggest you hold off on participating in these groups just yet and take time to find a group of supportive people you feel connected to first.
Look outside of your friends and family
For me, this actually didn’t really involve my existing friends and family. I come from a background where everyone values job security and had a hard time relating for the “risk” I was taking by being an entrepreneur.
So I joined one or two Facebook groups for entrepreneurs and just observed the people in it for a bit. When I happened to come across someone who really spoke to me, for whatever reason, I listened to my intuition and reached out. It was often just a simple private message (and it’s SO IMPORTANT not to PM people to sell your stuff! That’s bad manners and you’ll get reported by group admin.) just saying thank you for their amazing post and how much I resonated with it. Sometimes this sparked further conversation that turned into beautiful friendships, and sometimes it fell flat, and that’s ok. You just move on to find someone else. If anything, joining these Facebook groups just tells you that there are a TON of fish in the sea. :) So if one person isn’t responsive, you have thousands of others to choose from and connect with.
If you’re going to avoid anything, avoid isolation instead
Like I’ve said in other posts, isolation is the number one entrepreneurial killer. This doesn’t mean that you have to be an uppity extrovert. I am admittedly an extrovert, but from observing my introverted friends, I can say that oftentimes, introverts actually connect on a deeper level much faster. As an extrovert, it takes some time to cut through the superficial exclamation marks to establish a real connection, lol.
So I would say that not only is market research important, but connecting with others who are supportive and compassionate, whether they are a part of your target market or not, is crucial to building a successful business while maintaining your own wellbeing.
And I think all of us get into business because we want to be more in control of our wellbeing instead of relying on a boss or company to provide it for us. So yes, build your business because you’re passionate about it...while putting your mental and emotional wellbeing FIRST.
If you’re looking for a compassionate and supportive community to join, I have just the thing for you. Subscribe to my newsletter below and join my community of multi-passionate entrepreneurs from all walks of life who are all joined by the desire to create a positive impact on the world. I hold regular online events to help people connect with each other as they build their businesses, and I’m excited to get to know you!
If you are looking for more help in overcoming the fear of rejection, I invite you to check out this post.