Monday, 12 September 2016

What's your why? Now that one I can answer...

Day 2 Challenge - Why do I do what I do?

What's the reason I get up in the morning? It might surprise you (but I'm pretty sure that when you read this you'll get it, and hopefully get behind me achieving it too).

A couple of Januaries ago (2015)... I came across two different people online. One was Belle Gibson. The other was Jessica Ainscough. Both were high-profile wellness advocates who promoted alternative cancer "cures". Both were frauds.

But what happened next was an unexpected journey and the kernel of a very bold dream.

I bumped into Belle and Jessica's work online. I was suspicious but interested because I was undergoing chemo myself.

By March, Jessica had died from the cancer that she believed for a long time, had been cured. By March, the rumour mill around Belle was in full flight and by April she had admitted she lied.

So there were two cancer crooks. Both Aussies. And I watched both stories unfold over a small number of months.

Yet what struck me was that they were two very different people on the face of it.

Jessica believed she had found the cure. And there's no doubt she profited from her business, "The Wellness Warrior". There's no doubt she led people astray. But I reckon she found herself caught in a lie too big to reveal when she had to face the very personal truth that her cancer hadn't been cured after all.

To her credit (or her family's credit), the fact that it took only 2 days after her death to find almost every piece of content she owned, gone from the Internet, speaks volumes. I have huge sympathy for her friends and her family (and I don't mention your loved-one out of spite).

Belle is a different story. She set out to deceive people and faked cancer for commercial gain. She used real cancer victim's experience to pad out her lies and deliberately gave out false hope to the most vulnerable.

Belle has shown no remorse (in fact she has to date, ignored court summons three times).

Both equally actively diverted vulnerable people's resources to snake oil.

So what has this got to do with my 'why'?

I was angry. Like everyone with a scary disease I'd been inundated with snake oil suggestions. I wanted to do something to stop the cancer crooks. And the more I mused, slept and wondered... the angrier I got.

I'm not medical, I have no profile, I'm not smarter than the average Jo (even if I do try to keep learning). So what could I do? Very little.

And as time went by... and I got back into my work... and as people heard I was back working... they started bring their copy problems to me:

  • There were stories about SEO campaigns that cost thousands but delivered no return. 
  • There were stories about thousands of dollars spent on websites that had never delivered a single lead - let alone an actually paying client. 
  • There were print costs and marketing consultancy fees that had never earned that small business owner a cent!
  • And over and over again these small business owners were showing up at my door, pleading for the copy magic that would change everything.

I'm a copywriter. Copy can do a lot. But it can't change bad planning, bad coding, bad design or bad advice.

What a copywriter does do though, is take complicated info and make it really easy for people to understand...

See where I'm going with this?

I realised that while I can't fight the cancer crooks - I can do something in my own industry!

In my own industry; there are both kinds of snake oil merchants - the innocent deceivers like Jessica and the sociopathic mercenaries like Belle.

That's my 'why' right there.

And it's right there that I decided to get off the cancer bed and start making a difference.

The only thing that can stop a person being vulnerable to a 'Jessica' or a 'Belle'... is knowledge. And it has to be knowledge gained from a place that you can genuinely trust.

It's taken a while. There's been lots of talking with people who know more and are savvier than me. But we've started. We've started something amazing!

What we're building is a collective of marketing professionals who are prepared to stand up and be counted. A collective of expertise that is willing, able and ready to work with small business owners at their level and their price. And because we're a collective - we're all working together in a place of trust.

Together we're building resources to educate and help those over-abused, small business owners push those snake oil merchants back into their holes.

  • With knowledge, they have power. 
  • With our help, they have a thriving future.
  • And together we're building a powerful legacy for the next generation.

So what gets me up in the morning? Usually another great thought about how do we do better? How do we reach more people? How do we bring in more experts to help?

And to do that, I need to do a little better at taking care of myself. It's a big plan. But of the nearly 500,000 businesses in New Zealand (we'll get to the world, in time), 97% of them are small.

That's a lot of Mums and Dads, Uncles and Aunts, Brothers and Sisters, Cousins and Friends, to wake up to each day.

That's the reason I get up in the morning. How 'bout you?

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2.

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