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Do you have ‘Baby Reindeer’ fear?

by | May 6, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Are you one of the millions who’ve been watching Baby Reindeer on Netflix?

If not, let me give you a quick recap…

It’s the sort-of ‘true’ story of a struggling stand-up comedian who works as a barman.

After offering a distressed woman a free coffee, he ends up being stalked for years.

But the story isn’t so simple as ‘good vs evil’.

The comedian encouraged the stalking because it made him feel special and empowered while his career was failing to take off.

He was also recovering from the scars of an abusive incident in the past at the hands of a top TV comedy writer.

In a sense, he was as damaged as the stalker.

That’s what made it such a compelling series.

Anyway, its release has caused a massive storm.

Amateur sleuths have tracked down the ex-lawyer portrayed in the show, who is now experiencing intrusions of her privacy.

Other armchair warriors have been demanding the head of whichever TV exec abused the star.

And others have pointed the finger at the author, Richard Gadd suggesting he is a narcissist who has taken advantage of the situation. 

He not only wilfully shared his personal story in a stage version, he wrote the TV series and made sure he starred in it, even though he was now quite a bit older.

Now he’s everything he wanted – fame, fortune and critical plaudits – all from sharing his trauma.

And it has come at a cost…

Because he’s now at the centre of a maelstrom where the real stalker is threatening to sue Netflix, and he’s getting all kinds of praise AND criticism for the show.

Yet how true was it all?

How true is anything once you craft it into a narrative, edit it, tweak it, cut and reshape it?

And what happens when you change the names and other details of the characters to disguise them for a TV show?

Anyway, this whole brouhaha got me thinking about some of the big fears people have in starting an online business – even a part-time one.

“I hate the idea of getting criticised.”

“I don’t want to share my private life.”

“I don’t want to feel ashamed or embarrassed”.

All very understandable!

Because let’s face it, most enterprises – even part time online ones – require you to put yourself out there at least a tiny bit. For example…

  • Being visible on social media platforms, forums, or niche communities relevant to your business. This involves setting up profiles, sharing content, and engaging with potential customers or clients.
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  • Launching a website or eCommerce shop page for your business to showcase your products, services, or expertise, exposing you to reviews and feedback. 

 

  • Promoting your products or services, running ads, participating in promotional campaigns, or reaching out to media outlets for coverage. 
  • Contacting and communicating with suppliers, collaborators or freelancers.

 

  • Sharing your thoughts and experiences through email and blog content, with the option for people to reply or leave comments. 

These ‘public-facing’ online elements are needed for a successful business.

People connect better with businesses on a more personal level when they can relate to the person behind them. 

This is why sharing personal stories, insights, or behind-the-scenes glimpses into your life can help build trust and foster deeper connections with your audience.

But this act of sharing can really worry people…

You might feel a fear of being criticised, judged or getting others into trouble. 

And if you felt that, then you might be looking at the fallout from Baby Reindeer with clammy palms and sweaty brow, thinking…

‘Richard Gadd might have made a lot of money from it – but was it worth it?’

Well, let me reassure you….

You Are In Control of Your Persona

First off, understand that Baby Reindeer got over TWO MILLION viewers within its first few days on Netflix.

That’s why the personal life of Richard and the other characters has come under such scrutiny.

If you were to get 2 million YouTube hits, or 2 million followers on Instagram, or 2 millions email subscribers I can promise that the money you’d instantly be making, hand over fist, would quell some of your worries.

More likely though, you’re looking at hundreds, or a few thousand, people coming into contact with you.

And they’ll be doing so because you are offering something useful and of value to them in terms of a product or service – NOT because they are desperate to find out about you. 

Secondly, understand that I’ve been at the forefront of Canonbury and What Really Makes Money a long time (over 20 years) – right out there with my face plastered over website and sales promotions, and my name beneath articles and letters.

And while you get the occasional grumpy customer, unfair criticism, or picked up on mistakes, the feedback is OVERWHELMINGLY positive.

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People subscribe or follow a business because they feel invested in it, excited and nourished – NOT because they want to throw rocks at it.

The emotion I get when I receive emails from readers is happiness and pride, not fear and shame!

What’s more, when sharing personal details online, you’re in full control of what you decide to share and what you keep private. You set the boundaries and reveal only what you’re comfortable with. 

  • You can share relatable stories, insights or glimpses into your life that help build connections without oversharing or compromising your privacy.

 

  • Think about anecdotes, interests, or experiences that connect to your service or product without giving away intimate private details. 

 

  • Start small with positive stories that give people a window into your world as someone running a new business, or developing a new product.

The trick is to present a version of yourself that you’re comfortable sharing…. and which most connects with the kind of person who you want to sell to.  

This is known as your ‘persona’.

It’s the character you should be in all your materials, from your blog posts and emails to your social media posts and customer replies. 

Make this persona the version of ‘you’ that is trying to succeed online and is looking to the future. 

Don’t worry about the version of you in the past, at school, in your old job, or in your former relationships.

And if a story involves others, offer to anonymise them before sharing (with their permission – if they aren’t happy then don’t do it!)

Over time, you’ll get a feel for what resonates with your audience and what to keep sacred.

If you need some help doing this…

A quick start guide to persona creation

There are seven broad kinds of persona taken on by people who write blogs, create services and run membership sites or newsletters. 

  1. The ENTHUSIAST You’re passionate about your field of interest/ business and like to gather useful information. You enjoy the thrill of sharing what you discover. 
  2. The SEEKER. You’re on a journey of discovery. It could be that you’re learning new skills or aiming to improve in some way. You share what you learn as you get better and better. 
  3. The PROSUMER. You buy, try, test and review all the latest products and services on the market to share your findings with others. 
  4. The CHAMPION. You’re so passionate about your service, special interest, business or industry that you are compelled to share it with others. 
  5. The PERSUADER. You’re looking to solve a social, environmental, spiritual or political problem. You have a deep connection to a cause, with ideals, passions and ambitions. 
  6. The PROFESSIONAL. You are an expert willing to share your story and insights with those who are in the same field or who want to be in that field.  
  7. The TEACHER. You are someone who is paid to train, advise, coach or instruct, whether that’s in business or a field of interest. 
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Once you choose your persona, you can add quirks and interests based on what YOU are willing to share (you can hide those aspects of yourself which you don’t feel comfortable with).

Here are some examples….

  • Critical (you’re always testing, reviewing and analysing) 
  • Rational (you approach everything scientifically and methodically) 
  • Compulsive (you act on instinct and emotion)  
  • Obsessive (you can’t let anything go, you’re a workaholic or super-fan) 
  • Philosophical (you think, muse, consider, weigh things up, look on the bright side) 
  • Impatient (you’re so keen and hopeful, you want  everything done now, always looking for the  shortcut) 
  • Sociable (love meeting people, always replying  and questioning online)
  • Fun-loving (it’s all a big adventure) 
  • Self-deprecating (pointing out own flaws and mistakes) 
  • Optimistic (you’re always certain there’s a positive outcome) 
  • Honest (pull no punches, say what you think) 
  • Serious (determined, focused, earnest) 
  • Irritable (you’re a bit short tempered, don’t suffer fools) 
  • Sceptical (you’re suspicious or wary of being scammed, sold false promises, or being duped)  
  • Opinionated (you have strong principles and beliefs)
  • Angry (infuriated by misconceptions and prejudice) 
  • Socially conscious (trying to help society, always thinking of the big picture) 
  • Nerdy (you’re unashamedly a geek)
  • Traditionalist (loyal to certain values and virtues)

These are just a few options, but hopefully they’ll get you thinking about what kind of character you want to present.

So it DOESN’T mean revealing your worst aspects for a show like Richard Gadd, or spilling the beans on past traumas or wrongs that have been done to you. 

Just be the version of you that connects best with the person who might benefit most from your product or service. 

I hope this helps you overcome shyness or ‘Baby Reindeer’ fear!

But let me know your thoughts – does the risk of criticism or judgement affect you? 

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