How to Get (the right kind of) Feedback

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This contributor post was written by Tiffany Moore.

A friend of mine recently wrote a beautiful blog post, and when I complimented her on it, she replied that she was worried about it because her husband had suggested she leave a couple key components out.

My response: “He’s not your target market.”

In creative businesses, we often have to make things up ourselves as there are not abundant points of reference to draw from. This usually leads us to asking those closest to us for their opinion and advice.

This is a terrible thing to do.  While these people do love you and do have your best interests at heart, this strategy nearly always leads to self-doubt and insecurity.

Unless the people that you are asking for an opinion are part of your key target market, their advice is meaningless to you in your business.

Instead, when asking for a second-opinion or feedback, how can you reach out to people who are most like your current customers?

If you do not already have your own community of people, one option is to see if there is a group that already exists. There are so many groups on artists on facebook and etsy that offer feedback and advice. See if there is one for your particular craft, jump in, and start talking! (Bonus: if these people are so similar to your target market, more eyeballs on your biz could mean more sales!)

Alternately, you can create your own group. Reach out to a few etsy sellers you trust and admire or email some crafters you know to see if they might be interested in starting something like this. OR leave a comment on this post, check out who else comments and then make it happen. Remember, we often have to create what we need for our businesses. This is your chance. (Yes, this option might be scary. Do it anyway.)

What kind of support do you need in your creative business?

PS. When you receive advice or feedback that you disagree with, a simple “thank you.” is a sufficient response. You are under no obligation to take anyone’s advice. Ever.

*image via BS and RS: letterpress “thank you card”

Tiffany Moore, CPCC is a life & business coach for highly-creative people who arent living the highly-creative lives they want. Just yet. With provocative questions & hard-edged encouragement, Tiffany helps skittish someday-ers become fiercely focused creators “” and proves that dreams do come true. But only when you demand it.

27 comments | Click here to reply

I often find it hard to keep a focus when writing my blog or when designing for my craft business – in the ‘real’ world (as opposed to the virtual blogging one) those I’m surrounded by aren’t really my target audience, and as a result they aren’t as interested in my blog as other costume/textile enthusiasts would be. This post has been really helpful – I’ll be taking these points on board for sure!

Megan, http://www.blogspot.com/showtimestitches

Megan | September 4th, 2012 at 10:57 am

Glad to hear that Tif’s post was helpful for you Megan. Thanks for stopping by!
-Brittni

papernstitch | September 4th, 2012 at 10:59 am

Love this post! My husband always gives me advice too and he does know a lot about business so I tend to listen. I have never put that together, that he isn’t my target customer, and even though his advice comes from a good place, it might not always be right for my business.
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Gina_AcuteDesigns | September 4th, 2012 at 11:19 am

You hit the nail on the head Gina, “even though his advice comes from a good place, it might not always be right for my business.” Glad you enjoyed Tiffany’s post. Thanks for sharing your story.
-Brittni

papernstitch | September 4th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Good reads. Yes, that is so true husband is not always that helpful with business advices. I usually listen, but not necessary follow his recommendation, since I’ve learned hard way that they don’t really work that well for me. Also I think he is a bit over protecting and foreseeing potential negatives. I , on the other hand, like to take more risks. I definitely lean towards listening to my clients . Thank you for reassuring my choice 🙂
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Aneta | September 6th, 2012 at 10:13 am

I found this post to be highly enlightning, and like the other ladies, I do tend to take advice from my husband because I value his opinion and he’s more objective usually.
I also appreciate that with the post you included solutions and alternatives to the advice of those closest to you, coz let’s face it: We also ask the people around us sometimes because we do not have access to any other feedback.
Thanks again for sharing 😉

marcha | September 6th, 2012 at 10:14 am

Very good advice! When I ‘qualify’ for Etsy teams, I hope to join about a million of them (exaggeration). Everybody says that teams are a great way to promote your shop and to get experienced advice! But I’ve got to wait a while…… Age limit is 18, and I’m a few months shy of that. 🙁
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Dolly Madison Designs | September 6th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

SO HELPFUL — my boyfriend (who thinks weddings are silly) doesn’t understand why I don’t always want his advice on my wedding photography. 🙂 Thanks for validating why I don’t always necessarily agree with the opinions of those who might not be buying my product anyway!
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Emily @ Anna Delores Photography | September 6th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I have a new post up at @papernstitch all about how to get the right kind of feedback for your biz: http://t.co/HWVHKELq

(@tiffanycmoore) (@tiffanycmoore) | September 6th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I couldn’t agree more with this! My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but when we talk about my business we both end up feeling frustrated. If I’d followed his (well-meaning) advice, I never would’ve opened up my shop, and I would be sad. It wasn’t until I realized that he isn’t my target market, and therefore can’t relate, that our discussions became more productive. I now ask for his advice on business topics that aren’t specific to my target market. We are much happier 🙂

Thanks Tiffany!!
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Wendy T. | September 6th, 2012 at 6:44 pm

RT @tiffanycmoore: I have a new post up at @papernstitch all about how to get the right kind of feedback for your biz: http://t.co/HWVHKELq

M Blanchard Designs (@MBDesignsVA) | September 6th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

How to Get (the right kind of) Feedback http://t.co/PCHVSURe

(@savvyjulie) (@savvyjulie) | September 7th, 2012 at 9:08 am

This is SO spot on! I tend to ask way too many people for advice – from loved ones to nearly strangers, mainly because I often find decision making difficult, but also because I love talking about what I do, so I go bla-bla-bla-ish and end up with a huge bucket of opinions which, yes, leads to self-doubt and indecision. When I realize this, I take a period, where I avoid asking anybody – which means my creativity also slows down, cause other perspectives are so important.

So of course, as you state, the answer is to (try to) find and ask the target group 😀

Guess I need to re-read this post from time to time. Thanks 🙂

Best wishes
tina

tina | September 8th, 2012 at 7:47 am

I have found this to be so true: http://t.co/21xPqBYA How to Get (the right kind of) Feedback via @papernstitch

(@dsbrennan) (@dsbrennan) | September 10th, 2012 at 8:30 am

I really appreciate this post! I’m a singer-songwriter and I’ve recently started to share my newer material with my girlfriend. As much as I love her I’ve found that she has hurt my creative energy at times because she has spoken on her distaste for some of my songs that I’m really excited about!

I highly encourage everyone to find a sounding board that they trust, whose opinion is held in high regard for what it is that you are trying to create!

Thanks again for the reaffirmation!

Travis Ehrenstrom | September 18th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Fave Read of the Day: How To Get (the right kind of) Feedback http://t.co/GgnaKaaL via @tiffanycmoore @papernstitch

yesandyes (@yesandyes) | September 19th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

How to get the right kind of feedback on what you make or do: http://t.co/JfzRyVSv

Market Day (@marketdayiowa) | September 20th, 2012 at 9:00 am

RT @marketdayiowa: How to get the right kind of feedback on what you make or do: http://t.co/JfzRyVSv

CaraJeanne (@CaraJeanne) | September 20th, 2012 at 11:16 am

RT @marketdayiowa: How to get the right kind of feedback on what you make or do: http://t.co/JfzRyVSv

Jon Pianki (@b_e_creative) | September 20th, 2012 at 11:17 am

RT @yesandyes: Fave Read of the Day: How To Get (the right kind of) Feedback http://t.co/H0fF3Eks via @tiffanycmoore @papernstitch

(@teahousestudio) (@teahousestudio) | September 21st, 2012 at 7:25 pm

RT @yesandyes: Fave Read of the Day: How To Get (the right kind of) Feedback http://t.co/2IMJRhiG via @tiffanycmoore @papernstitch

(@tiffanycmoore) (@tiffanycmoore) | September 21st, 2012 at 7:25 pm

RT @tiffanycmoore: RT @yesandyes: Fave Read of the Day: How To Get (the right kind of) Feedback http://t.co/2IMJRhiG via @tiffanycmoore …

Ashley Jennings (@AshDotJen) | September 21st, 2012 at 7:55 pm

RT @marketdayiowa: How to get the right kind of feedback on what you make or do: http://t.co/wU5omdAQ

Lindsay Alderman (@LindsayAlderman) | September 24th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

What to say to family and friends that give biz advice http://t.co/NVVfpaLJ

Lacey Lemmert (@CBPaperie) | November 14th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

How to Get (the right kind of) Feedback – must remember this one! (target market, target market, target market!) | http://t.co/pc3wgTmd

Jess from VPHG (@VPHandmade) | December 9th, 2012 at 3:12 am

[…] written before about getting feedback from the right people, but today I want to address another feedback conundrum that I see frequently: becoming a feedback […]

Are you a feedback junkie? | Paper & Stitch | June 4th, 2013 at 8:01 am

Very useful article. I needed advice for this. I have been working to keep the reader updated with new product and tutorial but there is always lack of feedback which sometimes bring down the spirit.
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Scraper | June 9th, 2013 at 2:37 am
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