Someday, scientists will discover the specific gene that forces the majority of the population to approach the maker nearest them and confidently inquire: “You Know What You Should Make?”
It does not matter if this is a thing even remotely related to what the maker creates. It doesn’t matter if it’s even a good thing to make. It doesn’t matter if the person receiving such information shows a modicum of interest. Due to this genetic disorder, the teller is forced, beyond their biology, to tell you what you should make.
And every time a YKWYSM? happens, I become instantly defensive.
What I want to respond to “You Know What You Should Make?”:
- A call to your therapist?
- A stiffer drink?
- Something you saw on Etsy, only cheaper and just for you?
- Let me guess…it’s ugly, right?
- If you say “hats.” “baby clothes,” or “baby hats,” I WILL FLIP OUT!
- Yes. In fact, I’m working on it right now. I spend a large quantity of time working on new patterns, projects, and plans. Would you like to hear about them, or do you just want to tell me your half-cocked idea?
I try to be really open to new ideas, but there’s something about that phrase that shuts me down. Why do I feel like it’s an attack? Why do I want to run screaming from every iteration? I’m sure it comes from some lack of self-confidence, because it’s so difficult for makers and solopreneurs to assure the real or assumed doubters that we’re running real businesses. You can’t imagine the average person running into an emergency room and yelling to the doctor: “You Know What You Should Do?” You assume the surgeon is a professional and has more knowledge than you. It’s both a benefit and a hindrance that people feel so connected to indie businesses that they freely share their thoughts and ideas.
And the worst part? Every once in a while, they have good ideas.
So, let’s view all the YKWYSM? folks as free research: they feel connected to us and possibly, our business. They want to feel helpful, and good news, we can give them what they want. And they are reacting to what they believe is the true nature of our business (something we might not be communicating as well as we think). So wall off your heart, and the next time someone says, “You Know What You Should Make?”, suppress your smirk. Try your best to fight the Pavlovian response to this inquiry that amazingly combines eye-rolling and side-eye.
Give a tiny smile, connect to your curiosity, and imagine the tall drink you’re going to have after this…
Phew, the easy part is over. Unfortunately, now you have to listen to what will probably be a ramble of knitting, crochet, glue guns, glitter, and something they saw on Ellen. Let your mind race – could you actually make that thing? Would people want it? What would be your spin on it? Craft in your mind for one blissful moment. Or, just look into their eyes as convincingly as you can until they take a breath. Now you can exclaim:
“Totally. Can you email that to me? I’m so bad about forgetting all the great ideas people tell me.”
That’s right, put the onus on them. Just think of how important they’re going to feel! Or, if you’re feeling kind, just say thank you. Then excuse yourself and grab that tall drink you were thinking about.