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Lessons from Being Called a “Scammy White Guy”

I asked for some feedback the other day on our new recommendations page on our website and got this response.

Looks like a recipe for “overconfident white guy gives scammy advice.”


A Defensive Reaction

My knee jerk reaction was to point to the tens of thousands of followers who follow this site, and to all the testimonials I've collected from people who I've helped. That's a defensive reaction though, one that comes because I take pride in my work and the hundreds if not thousands of hours that have gone into creating all of this.

A Fresh Perspective

After giving it a little more thought, I got what they were saying. It wasn't the feedback I wanted to hear, but it was what I had asked for. It's not about me after all; it was about the new page and the impression it left on a new visitor.

A new person coming to our website doesn't know me from Adam. If I'm recommending a product, they have no way to know that I don't do that lightly. They haven't seen how many ad offers I've rejected to show because they don't add value to our readers. And they wouldn't know that this was never about the money for me, it was about giving back and feeling like I've helped one more person today, which is what keeps me going.

Nor do they have any clue on my background and why I might be qualified to speak on specific topics as opposed to a twenty-year-old kid who is scamming people out of their hard-earned cash by pretending to be an expert.

Use What You Can

Today I'm taking some of my own advice. LISTEN to those who would tear you down, but don't LET them tear you down. There will nearly ALWAYS be someone that will say something negative regardless of what you do so you can't take it too personally, but you can use whatever grain of truth that might be hidden behind those comments and learn from them.

In the end, I ended up taking down the top opt-in banner, which was in your face asking for your email any time you came to the site. If people want to join our personal growth community and read our articles, they can find the opt-in. Probably should have listened to Ryan on that one even though the statistics show more people sign up when it's on top.

I also made a few other adjustments to the page, trying to look at it as a new user who doesn't know me might.

It's not perfect, but hopefully, the page is a little less “scammy white guy” looking now. I even ended up making a new friend out of the deal after they realized I was actually listening. I appreciate the feedback…I think.

Remember this next time someone says something negative to you.

Take what you can from your naysayer's words to make things better, then move on. You will NEVER make everyone happy, but you might as well learn something from the feedback you get whenever you can. Who knows, you might even change their mind. But don't hold your breath.

Yours truly,

Mr. Scammy White Guy

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Don Smith

Don Smith is a former bank director, general manager, and a business coach. Happily married with five children, he lives in Springfield, Illinois. To work with Don, please click here.

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