As soon as your friends and family learn you’re making money online they all want to know how to make their own website. After the third or fourth time you sit somebody down and try to teach them the process you’ll realize that most people have no intentions of following through and you’ve just wasted a lot of time and energy.
So what do you do when you’re repeatedly asked this question? How do you weed out those who are just making polite conversation from those who really want to know?
Practice a reverse elevator speech for friends and family
An elevator speech is a brief explanation of your business. Just three or four sentences that can be delivered in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator up to the top floor. When a potential client asks you what you do or what your business stands for, most have a brief answer based on their company’s mission statement: What they provide, how they provide it and how it benefits the end-user.
Putting together a powerful elevator speech is one of the first things you learn in marketing class. Most people have more than one, geared toward different audiences, and it’s a “canned speech”, like a form letter. It’s prepared in advance so they’re always ready.
Prepare a reverse elevator message for your friends and family who are always bugging you to help them make their first website but really don’t plan to follow through. Instead of focusing on specifics, be as general as possible. For example, when someone asks, “How do I set up my first website?” you could respond:
“I created my first website at Blogger.com. It’s the perfect place to start for beginners because it’s free and they walk you through it every step of the way. In about a half hour you can have your first blog up and running.”
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute. That’s not how I started at all. I bought web hosting and a domain and…” But if you start off supplying all this information then you’re going to have to explain it all. What’s web hosting? What do you mean by “dedicated servers”? What’s a domain name? Where do I get it? Can I get my own name? And on, and on.
Instead, offer just enough information to answer the question and if he’s really interested in pursuing the matter your friend will ask you to elaborate. “Yeah? Blogger.com, huh? Is that how you’re making money?”
Again, offer just enough information to answer the question and maybe even shut down the conversation. “No. Now I have a dedicated server that costs me $200 a month.”
Now, if your friend is really interested he’ll ask you another question. But you and I both know in most cases he’s just asking questions to have something to talk about. As soon as he hears it’s costing you $200 a month to run your website he’s probably going to change the subject. Fast.
But if he doesn’t, you’ll know he’s really interested. As the conversation continues, keep offering general answers that don’t require you to go into a lot of details, because we all know there’s a LOT you need to know before you set up your first website. If it gets to the point where your friend or family member seems genuinely interested and really wants your help, don’t get pulled into a discussion yet.
Instead, suggest that the two of you get together at a later date so you can schedule plenty of time to answer all his questions and help him get started. After all, he’s basically asking you to help him start a business and he shouldn’t be infringing on your time when he does it. And you’ll both want to be focused when you have this discussion.
If your friends are like mine, they’ll brush off that offer because that means they’d have to make a commitment. Don’t feel bad about this and start offering him advice. You and I both know how much commitment is required to make a go at an online business, and if he’s not willing to commit time now so you can help him get started then he’s certainly not going to stay committed for the long haul.
When your friends and family ask you for help starting a website you’re doing them a disservice when you try to convince them to make the leap and you’ll end up wasting a huge amount of your time that you could have spent working on your own website.