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Let’s Play Master and Servant

May 5, 2021

Why do people set up their own businesses and brands only to go on and attempt to outsource their decision making to others?


Starting your own business should be such an empowering time, one where you finally get to call the shots, direct your own life and curate your own story. So why then do so many people, when they meet or talk to me about their budding new idea say things like this:

‘what packaging do you think I should go with?’

‘which one would you prefer?’ (with regards to scents, colours, sample optoions)

‘I’m not a chemist so that’s why I’m asking you’

and

‘how should people use my product?’

Before we go on I want to make one thing crystal clear. I am NOT your servant.

And another: I am NOT automatically your teacher. I only become your teacher if teaching you is what we’ve agreed to and you’ve paid for. Consultancy encompasses many things of which teaching is only one service.

What I am is an industry and chemistry specialist who can help you gain the information you need either by producing it, pointing you in the right direction to discover it or by teaching you more about it.


Servant.

The word ‘servant’ comes from the word slave which in turn comes from the term ‘captive’.

As a brand owner, you could say that your products are your slaves in as much as they are imagined by you, under your control and produce profits for you and outcomes for others to enjoy by either taking away some of their problems or making them feel more comfortable and cared for.

Master.

The word ‘master’ comes from the Latin word, magister. If we stick to its original meaning – chief, head or director – it becomes easier to see just how fitting this description is.

You are a master, I am a master but neither of us is THE Master of the other.

I am the master of my domain, you are the master of yours. We meet together as equal but different and it’s only within the third dimension, the one that we agree on together where we assume other roles and I’ll revisit this in a moment.


Taking or seeking understanding and control is my natural orientation in the world. I anticipate that in saying that it may conjure up some weird or even perverted ideas but hopefully not – I’m talking within the context of our chat.

The domain in which I am the master is my business. I created my business through my own experimentation, thoughts, actions and insights. Things didn’t always go well and the way I initially orientated myself and presented my Queendom didn’t resonate with others – the world was neither as open or as social as it is now. Every time I presented myself as a master into the world I would face a challenge. Every time that happened I’d take some time out to process that and re-frame my strategy. Eventually something stuck and long-story-short we find ourselves here where I know what I’ve created, its boundaries and capacity and, importantly, I know and accept the rights and responsibilities, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats that come with my role inside of this.

When it comes to you as a brand and/or business owner/manager/ creator your first job is to know the same about your domain and yourself within it. Being hazy on those details leave you vulnerable to disappointment, misunderstanding, over or under-reach and reduction of potential.

When two masters meet to discuss a new, shared opportunity they create something new together – a project. That project is oriented towards achieving something. Often in the case of my clients and myself the new thing is a piece of work – maybe a new formulation, a laboratory session type project or some teaching. If my potential client knows their domain and strengths well they can clearly articulate what they are looking for and identify the gaps in their current situation for me to fill. I can then evaluate that and clearly (and efficiently) advise of what I can and can’t do, how I propose to tackle the work and roughly how long it might take/ how much it might cost. I am informed and directed by the clients vision, the client is re-assured and trusting of my ability to fill the gaps for them. Neither of us is expecting each other to turn up in our domains and take over.

Hostile take-over examples.

An increasingly common example of over-reach I find in my role is when clients come to me wanting formulation work but then, after I start the work they keep trying to get involved either by suggesting new ingredients, by questioning how I’ve done things or getting other people outside of our agreement involved in the process. It’s not that any of these actions are in themselves a bad thing, more that if they are to be a thing, they need to be identified and discussed at the start – your domain, my domain etc.

An example of how a consultant such as myself can over-reach into their clients domain is to ignore the brief given in favour of going our own way (because we know best). Again while it might be appropriate for the consultant to challenge the clients initial brief and ideas and it’s certainly part of our job to broaden our clients horizons in terms of new, different or better ways to achieve an outcome, it is not for us to re-imagine it unless that’s the title of the project.

You can’t be a master without a domain (Queendom in my case) and you can’t achieve new things if you are constantly feeling attacked and needing to defend that domain.

Mastery in action. A re-look at the things people say.

Let’s have a look at the things brand owners say again and re-frame them using this approach:

  • What packaging do you thing I should go with becomes ‘this is what I’m wanting to create for this audience, based on that information which of your packaging options would it be worth me considering?’
  • Which one do you prefer becomes ‘This is my target market profile, could you talk me through the options that would compliment or be compatible with that please?’
  • I’m not a chemist so that’s why I’m asking you becomes ‘I know what I want to achieve with my products but I’m looking for some skilled help in translating that into appropriate ingredient choices’
  • How should the product be applied becomes ‘These are the outcomes I want for my product, are there any application tips or instructions I can give that help me and my clients reach that goal with what we have here?

A master to master discussion focused on directing the servant (your current or future products).

No inappropriate domination, no hostile take-overs, just clear, direct communication.

I hope that’s a little helpful. In a future article I’m going to delve into another thing that happens with the people I talk to – the slide into servitude – but for now that’s your lot.

Enjoy your day.

Amanda

PS: Thanks to Depeche Mode for this and all of their other very wonderful tunes which have kept me entertained since the 80’s 🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2021 12:18 pm

    I believe people outsource decisions because then they have someone else to blame if it all goes wrong. 😉

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      May 5, 2021 12:19 pm

      I believe that too. I also believe that people are scared of their own power. That’s for the next article though 😊

  2. Steph permalink
    May 5, 2021 2:25 pm

    I agree with Perry but also some people could just be completely overwhelmed once they’ve decided to start – and with hindsight should have done more research before they started (unless they were just thrust into it at the deep end by outside events). Well written Amanda!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      May 5, 2021 3:43 pm

      Good point and yes, a feel ing I’m well acquaintented with. In those cases though one would hope the overwhelmed person had enough personal insight to take a step back and adjust their expectations. So often this situation turns into an attack.

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