Let’s get two things straight:
First, no matter what people tell you, there really is such thing as a stupid question. As an entrepreneur, you surely know this because you probably feel like you get asked stupid questions all the time… by customers, investors, partners, employees, and so on.
Second, if people are asking you stupid about your startup, chances are you’re the one causing those stupid questions. At least, that’s what I argue in this issue’s featured article.
More importantly, if you’re tired of getting stupid questions, you need to learn how set yourself up for better questions, which, incidentally, I also explain in the article.
Of course, all of you readers seem to know a thing or two about asking great questions since I keep getting tons of them. Thanks, as always, for sending those. As you’ll see below, in this issue I’m tackling one about promoting stuff on TikTok. Speaking of which… have you started following me yet?
I Became a Better Fundraiser When I Stopped Forcing VCs to Ask Me Stupid Questions
Investors always ask questions during fundraising pitches, but they’re not always good questions. When they aren’t, it’s probably your fault.
The Teacher Who Pioneered E-Learning
You might think "Zoom Classrooms" and #EdTech are new things, but they aren't. People like Yvonne Marie Andres -- the guest on this episode of Web Masters -- have been teaching video classes for decades.
Hear the full story now on:
…or search “Web Masters” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
Why Great Entrepreneurs Get Bad Grades
In the spirit of a podcast with an e-learning pioneer, I figured I’d share an article about grades and why entrepreneurs often struggle in school. As someone who teaches lots of entrepreneurs, I see this issue often. It’s not a problem so long as you’re prepared for it.
Office Hours Q&A
I’ve been creating TikTok content for a while and over the last six months I’ve been lucky to have some content go viral and it’s really been helping grow my audience on there. I’ve recently started having brands and companies reach out asking if I’d promote their products.
I don’t just want to promote any company that’ll pay me. I feel like that wouldn’t be fair to my followers. At the same time, I would like to make some money off my popularity. Do you have any advice for how to choose which companies to work with and which products to promote?
Thanks, in advance, for your advice,
First off, this is a great “problem” to have. Congrats on having a large enough audience that you can start thinking about how to monetize it.
People are going to advise you differently here based on their own personal beliefs and biases about monetizing a social media following.
Some people think social media fame is so fleeting that you need to “strike while the iron is hot” and monetize in whatever ways you can. Other people are more conservative and believe in being patient with monetization to avoid scaring away audiences too soon.
I personally take a more conservative approach to promoting on social media. I think of social media audience building as a marathon, not a sprint. The core currency is trust, and you build trust over the course of years and tons and tons and tons of posts. Why risk ruining that trust you’ve fought so hard for by taking the first cash that’s thrown on the table?
However I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with promoting products to your audiences. If anything, it provides a bit of legitimacy. For example, my podcast has been sponsored from Day #1, and that sponsorship adds credibility.
If you are going to start incorporating promotion, just be sure to adhere to the following rules:
Rule #1: The product has to be something you believe in and something you’d personally use. If you wouldn’t use it, telling your audience to use it is an unpardonable sin.
Rule #2: Don’t promote too often. Your audience started following you for your content, not your sales pitches. It’s certainly reasonable to promote things to them, but limit that promotion to a minimum and focus on continuing to provide whatever value you’d been providing that helped you grow your audience in the first place.
Honestly, if you follow those two rules, I don’t really think there’s a “too soon” or “too late” to start promoting content on your social media accounts. As long as the things you’re promoting have genuine value, and as long as you aren’t over-promoting, the act of promoting products on social media isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing. After all, you can’t keep putting out great content if you can’t pay the rent. Audiences understand this and shouldn’t begrudge you trying to pay your bills. If someone does, then you probably don’t want that person in your audience.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!
Excellent points, Aaron. I would like to add my 2 rules to what you said:
1) Don’t EVER lie to people who trust you
2) Don’t EVER trust people who lied to you
You also mentioned: “If someone does, then you probably don’t want that person in your audience”. How true. And Dr. Seuss said it the best: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind”…