For new coaches, mentors and therapists...(or any other business really)...There is a difference in being unpopular and unlikeable. A massive difference. And I suppose it is true in any business...it's just that I aim my focus on the previous mentioned entrepreneurs.
Aiming to be unpopular is okay and can be very good for business. Vying to be unlikeable is detrimental to you and your business and should be avoided at all costs.
Unpopular I believe is when you simply voice your opinions without fear. I think you have to be unpopular with a large section of the public. You can't please everyone and neither should you even be bothering to try.
It doesn't matter what you do, you will always get people who fall into the first three groups. You should be seeking to get more people in the fourth category! This means you are being you. Not purposely alienating others, as that is something you want to try and avoid, but by being authentic.
Being unpopular can be very powerful for your business. But some entrepreneurs get these two very different groups of people mixed up. Anyway, briefly, here are all the groups.
Group 1 Evangelists
Some people will love what you do and how you come across - these will be your evangelists - and best clients. These people rave about you. They love you to bits and pieces. You can never do anything wrong (Even when you do) in their eyes. These are are your best people.
To them you are almost a demigod. Oh we all love this group. The larger the better. But unless you are an international powerhouse, this group will usually be quite small. Nonetheless, they can generate a lot of business. They will also defend you against the worst group; The Haters (Further down)
Group 2 The Likeables
Some people will just like what you do - but may never use your services - although they will recommend you to others, share your posts and pass comments about you that are generally positive. They can and will, help your business grow.
However, when this is the largest group, maybe you aren't being your authentic self? Maybe you are trying to please too many people?
Group 3 The Neutrals
Some people will be neutral about what you do - they are just apathetic towards your services. They just don't care either way. You are neither unpopular or unlikeable with this group. Sometimes they will recommend you. But on the whole with this group, you are simply not in their short or long term memory banks. You have made no impression, either way, on this group.
Group 4 The Dis-likers - These Can be Great for Business (This is when you are unpopular)
Some people will dislike what you do - your views and opinions, what you stand for, will be unpopular with this group. However, they will mention you in their social groups, including their social media groups - mistakenly thinking that their peers will think the same as they do about you.
But this isn't always the case. This helps you. Why? Because obviously your name will be spread around their group. It gives other people the opportunity to make their own minds up about you and what you do.
And because you are not upsetting this group (Only making yourself unpopular) they are not talking about you in a bitter, vile tone. This gives their group the freedom to choose and form their own opinion!
So express your opinions freely, even if it makes you unpopular!
When you are Unlikeable, You Will Automatically Form this Group of People - Which You Want to be Miniscule
Group 5 The Haters
Some people will despise what you do because you are unlikeable. I hear a fair few entrepreneurs talk about this group. "Oh, it's just the haters. Every company gets them." Well, one or two yes. But when this group grows, there is something about you that is, quite frankly, unlikeable.
The aim should be to keep haters to a minimum. This does not mean you change who you are, but it does mean that something you are doing is not right. Your actions are upsetting this group.
When they feel like this they will talk about you in more destructive and venomous terms. Other people will take more notice of this kind of talk and will be more inclined to be influenced to think the same as their peers.
So what are you here? How many of your followers, clients and customers are falling into the last section of people? If it is too many then maybe you need to review something? Your message or how you are coming across in your marketing or just your simple posts should give you great feedback.
Also bear in mind that it is not necessarily how you really are but how your groups perceive how you are. So if too many people are perceiving you in the wrong way ( By having too many Haters) then you should change something.
You can still remain authentic. As an entrepreneur, you should be flexible and actively seeking feedback from your followers, clients and customers.
Remember some big companies, when they started out, were unpopular with the general public (Apple automatically springs to mind) but went on to be great, household names.
But they weren't unlikeable.
Robert is an NLP Practitioner, Life Coach and Business Coach for New Coaches, Mentors and Therapists.