What if you just committed to being really, truly, deeply annoying? What if your goal for 2023 was just to find anyone who will send you an email and tell you, “You’re annoying. Shut up”? That was actually my goal in 2014. Today we’re going to talk about why and the impact it had on me, then and now, many, many, many moons later.
I was reminded of this episode initially a couple months ago when I was in a private membership as a guest teacher. I came in and I talked about podcast production in a membership for someone. Someone in the group had listened to a version of this episode that I released, I don’t know, 130-ish episodes ago, probably three years ago, and they had listened to the episode and it really resonated and they were asking me questions about it. I thought, man, so much about that experiment—that started in late 2014. My goal for 2015 was to be annoying. Then I did this episode, I think probably in 2019 talking about it—and so much more benefit from that year has happened and I want to talk about why it’s my goal again, as I talk about going into 2023.
To shut down my fear of being annoying, I decided to work at it.
In 2014 Q4, I was prepping for 2015 and I was starting to think about what I wanted my business to look like that year. Let’s have some greater context here. I have initially started my business in 2011. I was offering VA services. I shifted into social media management and marketing. Probably about a year and a half in that, I narrowed my focus to that. By 2014 going into 2015 I was starting to sell courses, I was starting to sell how-to guides, we call them Rockstar guides. I was working under the branding Hit the Mic Marketing. That was the name of this thing then.
I kept running into this trap in my brain of not wanting to annoy anybody, not wanting to bother anybody if I talk too much about a salesy thing or if I talk too much about anything, which honestly now I would figure out is really just my ADHD, and rejection sensitivity disorder working together. But I spend a lot of my time worrying about bothering anyone, worrying about being annoying. I don’t know if you’ve gathered this. We’ve done nearly 600 episodes of this show. I talk a lot. I didn’t want to be annoying. I didn’t want to bother anyone but I had big goals for what 2015 was going to look like because 2015 happens to be the year that my husband quit his outside of our house job.
January of 2015 is when he gave notice. His last day working for someone besides me was January 25th, 2015. As I’m preparing to go into 2015, I’m freaking out. I needed to see big growth. I wanted to see big growth. I wanted to see some things change in my business. I wanted to focus more on teaching and less on providing services. I had no team at all. I was taking a big swing, and the plan was that Charles was going to be helping behind-the-scenes. He transitioned from that job to working for me, but that wasn’t going to be a big lift. I had managed to exceed his income. I had managed to make sure we kept our lights on but can I keep doing that?
So it was scary, but I decided I needed a big scary way to look at that. I needed a goal that wasn’t money, that wasn’t structured in a way that was so pass-fail. I needed something in my head. I needed something to combat that “But what if I bother them?” So I decided, what if my goal was to be annoying? Then if I am told by someone I’m annoying, we’ll celebrate. But also, it’ll allow me to show up in a way that I never have before because I will have this ability to counteract the idea that I’m being annoying and say, “Yeah, that’s the goal.” No one’s told me that yet. Let’s see if we can get somebody to do it.
I went into 2015 committed to being annoying. Guess what? It was one of the biggest years I’ve ever had in my business. I doubled my business between 2014 and 2015. In 2014, I had done enough business to replace my husband’s salary. It’s not like I went from like $5,000 to $10,000. I essentially doubled our household income in a year and what I was able to pay myself. Now granted I didn’t have a lot of overhead at the time, I had just Charles and I as a team and so I was running super lean and real profitable, which was great. But it really came out of my ability to show up and shut off the voice in my head that told me I might be being annoying.
What being annoying actually looked like.
I made some big ask, I showed up on some cool podcast and more than anything, I talked about what I sell and what I do a lot. I pitched awards, I pitched on stages, and I got a lot of yeses, and it was a real turnaround year for me. It really established my ability to figure this stuff out. It led to me then rolling into 2016 and saying, “Cool. I don’t want to live in the state anymore.” We were living in Arizona at the time. I want to live in Southern California. I wanted to live someplace else. In 2016, we moved to Southern California. That was possible because of the way I had been showing up.
Also in August of 2015, I think we had launched Hit the Mic Backstage, the membership site. No, we had to have launched that in 2016, I don’t know either 2015 or 2016. I had gone full into teaching. At that point I was not providing done-for-you services anymore. I had a couple. That’s a lie. That’s a lie. I was still providing done-for-you services for clients I had been working with a long time. I still have clients that I provide done-for-you social media services, one left and she’s retiring this year. I have one left and she’s been with me nine years.
Honestly, one of the best ways to build a little confidence in doing things that are totally new is not burning all the way down to things behind you and keeping it on. I have had steady retainer income from the beginning. It’s one of my favorite little confidence tools. Also, that gets really easy when you find incredible people to work with who you absolutely adore. I’m so excited for her and her retirement and it’s really cool that I’ve been a bit of a big part of her career and chapter of her career. Anyway, I was only providing done-for-you services for a select few clients at that point who I had been working with for, at that point, many years.
I had mostly transitioned. The only thing I was selling day-to-day was trainings and the membership and speaking. That’s what I did and it was great. I really enjoyed it for the time in which I did it. Then in 2018, I kept where I was going to reach with what I was willing to do. I needed to be annoying again. But I didn’t really want to be annoying in the way I had been annoying. I wanted space to not have to be so annoying so often. I also really wanted something to exist outside of me and so we launched Uncommonly More and shifted focus and I was able to quiet down a little.
I still do really annoying things.
I still have to remind myself I’m trying to be annoying when I ask for things. It still remains a goal I use every year, but the recent place and the reason I wanted to update this episode and where I want to transition this conversation to is how I use it now because in 2020, we again got out the matchbook and burned a lot down. In fact, I burned down a lot of what I had built out of my initial desire to be annoying. We closed the membership site, I shut down pretty much everything that existed under The Stacey Harris, and focused completely 100% on Uncommonly More, and I took it a step further by really narrowing what we did.
That took a lot of “I’m willing to be annoying” conversations in my head again because this idea that I was going to shift and narrow my focus out of a thing I was really known for, and still in fall of 2022, get regularly asked for, which is social media advice, support strategy, it’s not something I do, it’s not something we offer anymore. Again, I have a couple of clients who I still work with on it. But those are unique cases for people I have worked with for a long time. It’s not something I sell and it’s not something I talk about a lot, and when we do talk about it, we talk about it through the filter of podcasting. We talk about it as a tool and a mechanism to support a show.
I was worried about disappointing people. I was worried about bothering people. I was worried about saying no. The idea of telling someone “No, I don’t want to do that. I’m not going to sell this to you” was scary. I had to pull that same “Cool. What if the goal is to get them to be mad at me? What if the goal is to get them disappointed? What if the goal is to get them annoyed at my choice? Let’s see if it happens. Let’s do it. Let’s go for it.” Guess what, no one did. No one sent me an email telling me I was terrible. Many people I’m sure didn’t even notice, as evidenced by the fact that I still get these requests. It’s really interesting because this idea that I wanted to be annoying, this idea that was the goal has allowed me to make a lot of asks.
Now that we’re in 2022 and we’re going in 2023, I’m looking at this in a new way. Where does my being annoying show up now? I have personally some very cool content creator-y things and ideas I want to do. I spent a lot of this year being like, “That’s going to be messy and annoying. If I talk too much about this thing on Uncommonly More channels, will it confuse people? Will it bother people? Do I need to do it over in this space? And will it annoy people there that I’m doing something that is different than I’ve ever done before?” Objectively, it’s not that different from anything I’ve ever done before but it’s a conversation I’ve had to have in my head all over again.
That’s really what I want our conversation to wrap up with today is this idea of being annoying, this idea that I might bother someone doesn’t actually go away. Even as I’ve consistently looked at it, been aware of it, and found ways to navigate it, it’s shown up in new clothes, because now it’s “Well, all I talk about is podcasting. Is that going to annoy anyone?” All I talk about is podcast production because we really only have one primary offer. Every once in a while we open up strategy calls. This fall I have an idea that I’m going to float out as a little tester. If you want to know what it is, send me a DM on Instagram and say, “Stacey, I want to test out that weird idea you talked about in that episode because I’m in for it.”
But there’s really only the one thing I talk about: “Hey, do you want us to produce your show?” 100 times a year I feel like. That’s that new layer of annoying and now it’s this “I want to try something new. I want to test out this new way of providing support and service in October. Will that bother people that I’m not going to do all of the production? I’m just going to support them with some strategy for 2023?” By the way, it’s like a VIP-day setup. Anyways, it feels like I’m doing the most passive aggressive promo in the world today. Is it annoying?
Finally being told I was annoying
What’s really cool about this, and this is a little side tangent, which also is potentially annoying, in the membership where I was doing this teaching, this class I came in as a guest professor, and somebody brought up this episode, the best thing happened. The woman who hosts this community had a last-minute emergency. One of her team members hosted me on the call, but she listened to the replay later. She emailed me afterwards and called me annoying. I was like, “Yeah, I’ve done it.” It was very funny and I enjoyed it a lot.
Anyway, but as I look at this as I move into next year, whether it’s just this offer that I want to play with in October, that might be a bigger part of 2023, I don’t know, right now, it’s just something that I want to play with. But also I have some content ideas and I have some things I want to roll out, the podcast that never actually launched this year that maybe you noticed is one of those things that I spent a lot of this year afraid to go have some of the conversations I wanted to have to get that show off the ground, because it’s in a space I’ve never been in and I was afraid I was going to bother someone. I didn’t want to annoy anybody.
There’s so much going on. There’s so much of this endless amount of unprecedented times. I didn’t want to be annoying and go make these asks, and so guess what? That show never came to be at this point in the year. It’s very much so going on my 2023 list. It’s very much so something I’m going to start working for in Q4.
But it’s because I’m having to reengage with this “What if the goal is to get somebody to tell me I’m annoying?” as I sit down with podcasters all the time, and we talk about strategically building content, and we’re talking about we’re building this to sell this and so we need to be talking about, we need to be sitting offers, we need to be talking about ways to work with us, highlighting the value in working with us, bringing in case studies, not featuring guests that don’t move our listener forward in making a decision around whether we’re the right next step for them or not.
We have to have this conversation of “So what if it did bother somebody?” What if it did annoy somebody? What if somebody emailed you and said, “Would you please stop talking about podcasting? It’s so annoying”? Well, we’d laugh. We’d say, “Well, then stop listening to the show, d*mb sh*t. Like, seriously, just don’t listen.” But guess what? The world won’t end and in the meantime, work towards that.
Be so well known for the same thing that somebody’s like, “Oh my, talk about something else.” Because in all likelihood, you won’t hit that point. In the meantime, you will make so much more progress than you will when you sit in self doubt of “What if I bother somebody? What if I annoy somebody?” And that’s absolutely where I’m sitting with a couple of things that I have on my “I really want to do this” list.
I share that because again, this just wears new clothes over and over again. This is not something that you and I are going to get rid of. It is something however that we can work with and work ahead of “What if I use that fear as momentum? What if I use that possibility as just a jet engine? What if I work towards that outcome and I see what happens?” Because the world won’t crash down. I promise. I guarantee, you’ve gotten less than positive feedback and wildly unconstructive criticism before. I’ve gotten it. I had pink hair for five years. I’ve cussed on the show occasionally. Whatever I do, I get an email from somebody, a DM from somebody, it drives me crazy. But guess what? The world doesn’t come crashing down. The world doesn’t end.
In the meantime, I have some things that really excite me. As I’ve been thinking about some of the things I want to do at the end of this year and moving into next year, visibility wise for this show, for other shows, content stuff, offerings maybe even, I’m excited in a way I haven’t been for a long time. Because there’s some new possibility, it feels like, “Ooh, yeah, that’s just the right amount of scary,” because it is a little scary. All right. I’m going to put the soapbox away. I hope this episode was helpful for you. I hope it resonated.
If you’ve had that pull of “What if I’m too much? What if I’m annoying? What if people get sick of me? What if that was the goal?” I want you to look at where you can be taking that energy through the end of this year. Because there is a whole lot of 2022 left. It’s only the middle of September. We have a lot of time left together in 2022. We all know how much can happen in 14 weeks. A lot. A whole world can change. We’ve seen it happen, I don’t know, six or seven times this year. How are you going to be using this as you roll through the end of 2022 and into 2023? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.
FYI, one of the scary things I’m doing right now, one of the things that I feel is potentially annoying, I’m playing with some stuff on TikTok so if you want to check out that and support that, go over and look up Uncommonly More on TikTok and you will see what I’m doing. If podcast production is on your to-do list for 2022 to work with us, make sure you book that call. Because these are the last couple of weeks that I will be signing contracts for 2022. We’re only taking a few more clients before we wrap up the end of the year, make sure you book those with me. That’s it. That’s our show. I will see you next week.