You Are Not My Audience

I finished reading Erika Napoletano’s THE POWER OF UNPOPULAR while sitting alone in an isolated booth at a bar known for its goth night and hipster art fest runoff. I was there to show my face at a fundraising event, and your teetotaling narrator had arrived sans company, because well, that’s her lot in life.

I only mention this detail because it amuses me. All you really have to remember is that I mentioned “Erika Napoletano’s THE POWER OF UNPOPULAR”, because it is a good business-y read, and if you’re a business owner or project leader, it’s likely to give you hope and make you feel less alone in this world. Here’s what I loved about it:

  • It gives you permission to be yourself.
  • It gives you permission to make mistakes, and to be nimble enough to turn mistakes into opportunities.
  • It gives you permission to identify who the right client is for your business, and to adjust this assessment at any time if need be.
  • It gives you permission to stop wasting your time trying to please everybody, which includes many people who are not your audience.

I realize my repeated use of the word “permission” could be a turn off to some (or a turn on to you BDSM devotees out there), but sometimes it’s nice to have a respected marketing guru tell you “It is perfectly OK if you do this! Civilization will not crumble to the ground if you do, and you will be better off for having done it!” Feel free to swap “permission” for “two thumbs up” and it’s the same difference.

As a small business owner with an edgy business name in an up-and-coming neighborhood where certain suburbanites still fear to tread, these are all valuable reminders — with the last two points holding special significance as of late. While at my shop, I welcome friendly visitors and explorers with open arms, and I’ll happily answer questions and discuss the day’s events from bell-to-bell. My (mild and admittedly self-indulgent) irritation arrives with the rare yet reliable strangers who feel it’s their place to impose their multiple, unprovoked sales objections on me when they’ve never spent a dime in my establishment.

You demand that I perform couples massages in my tiny 140 square foot treatment room that quite obviously contains only one treatment table? And you’ve never been in here before, and you’re not buying anything today? And you also demand that I offer services that aren’t currently on my menu, in addition to providing you with a discount? And after alllll this preaching, you still haven’t bought even the least expensive item I sell in my little, local, one-woman-army owned and operated dream business?

Well my dear, you are not my audience.

And that’s a wonderful thing.


Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.