The one where we learn when to take the advice of others

(The irony is not lost on this one.)

Hi friend,

I took a short hiatus from writing after the excitement from the Govalo launch and having to work through some difficult changes at The Taproom completely wore me out. As I mentioned in a previous email, patterns are good, but self-imposed deadlines are malleable and can and should shift (or be removed) as needed. (I write these emails also as a reminder for myself, and greatly appreciate the friends who read this who remind me of my own writing when times are difficult.)

Whether you’re aspiring to be an entrepreneur or you already are one, chances are that you’ve been absolutely inundated with advice, both solicited and unsolicited. It can sometimes be difficult to sift through the amount of “generous” feedback we get, especially when (1) we don’t ask for it, and (2) it’s contradictory. While most advice is coming from a good place, unless it’s someone who has a full grasp on your situation, the advice may not be fully what you need.

So here I am, telling you about how to take advice when you didn’t ask for it. :)

Understand who is giving you the advice. Some people have more experience than others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received business advice from people who have never run a business. Management advice from people who have never managed. Life advice from people who have never experienced the difficult situation I’m trying to process. If you’re looking for an outside opinion, this can be extremely beneficial. But if you’re looking for tangible feedback on how to approach a specific situation, know who you’re talking to and their background and experience and proceed with that bit of knowledge in your back pocket.

If asking for advice from several people, reflect before taking action on the advice you received. When Rhian and I set out to possibly begin fundraising for Govalo, we spoke to so many people who have been in our shoes before. Do it! Don’t do it! Your valuation is too high! Your valuation is too low! Your pitch deck needs more details! Your pitch deck is too detailed! If there’s a spectrum for each area in which we were seeking feedback, we hit both ends of it every single time. This is why it’s so important to take down ALL of the feedback, reflect on it, and then decide which action to take.

If advice is unsolicited, you are well within your rights to tell someone you are not looking for their feedback. Might they react negatively? Maybe. But that’s not on you. You’re under no obligation to hear someone’s take on how you run your business (or your life!) if you did not ask for it. We live in a world where people are so eager to talk about their lives and their experiences without stopping to ask if the person on the receiving end even wants to hear it.

Take all advice with a grain of salt. A mound of salt, even. In this house we like salt. Everyone’s experience is going to be different from yours. There is so much we can learn from others – especially those who have been in a certain space for much longer than we have – but we bring so many unique qualities to every situation in life, so no two experiences are likely to be the same. At the end of the day, this is your life, your career, your company – whatever you’re asking about – and you choose which steps to take. You choose what’s best for you.

Until next week,

Kelly