By now, I’m sure you realize not everyone likes you.
That’s a bit harsh, now isn’t it? Well hold tight cupcake. This conversation is going to be the best thing that happens to you this evening.
You run in a way that some people find annoying. You have questionable taste in music. Your voice is a little high-pitched. And your political views will, undoubtedly, raise eyebrows (but will remain unspoken due to recent, still-open-wound events).
These little quirks are what make you, you. Your laugh, your smile, your ability to jump from one subject matter to the next without any linear thought pattern—these things make you Elizabeth, Francis, Hannah, Joan of Ark—whoever the hell you may be. And no matter how adorable your friends and family may find these little traits, I promise you one thing: Somewhere, someone out there absolutely despises these things about you.
Which brings us to the big, fat, honest truth: You are not for everyone.
Understand your audience
By day, I work in marketing. My specialty is segmentation. Meaning, I’m the girl who sits behind a computer and says, “Let’s say this to that person and that to this person, because he’s a he and she’s a she. And while he lives in the Midwest, she lives on the East coast; so let’s say this to him and that to her…” My job is to understand how each person is different. Every person on this planet has different preferences, wants, and beliefs.
Let’s say a new clothing store opens on your block. You grab your wallet, ready to support your booming neighborhood. But the minute you walk in, you realize the shelves are full of purple suede pants, lime green scarves, and pink-checkered shirts. I do not care how loyal you are to local businesses—chances are, you’ll never go back.
You are not the target market to that store. However, as we are painfully aware, there is a sizeable population out there with questionable fashion taste ready and waiting to stock up on some purple pants.
Love em or hate em, that store will seek out their target audience—the people who appreciate their one-of-a-kind style.
You are not for everyone. But you are for someone.
In marketing, you always aim for your target audience. You’ll have to work twice as hard to sell to someone outside it.
Your target audience is filled with your friends, family, significant others (as long as you’re not dating an asshole), and the diamond-in-the-ruff coworker who doesn’t suck. These are the people who find your questions interesting, your jokes hilarious, and who don’t get offended by your sometimes-explicit innuendos. These are the people who value you. Therefore these are the people you should focus on.
If there is something you want, go for it. Don’t think about the people outside your target market.
When I started this blog a year ago, I wrote a solid dozen posts before sharing a single one. I thought people would think I was—well, weird for one. I thought they would think I was egotistical, or that I had some ulterior motive. To this day, I haven’t started a blog-focused Facebook page or promoted my site on Instagram because these stupid, little fears still pick at my brain.
The biggest breath of fresh fucking air came when I realized, “Why yes, I am 100% positive someone finds my writing to be extraordinarily weird. I am sure someone thinks each post is the most annoying piece of literature to grace the internet.” But guess what? Those people aren’t my target audience. And just as you would never go back to that store with the purple pants, readers who find my writing obnoxious will not frequent my site. Unless they really need a hobby.
If there is something you want, go for it. Stop worrying about whether someone might not like your work, because there will always be those people. There will be people who put you down, belittle your accomplishments, and talk badly about you. You have to let that be ok.
You are not for everyone. And you should thank God for that.