“Excuse me. You can’t have dogs in here.”
That’s what everyone with a dog was told at the Silverlake Farmer’s Market in LA when I was visiting last year.
Not by a cop.
By my 4-year-old nephew, Samson.
It’s not that he worries about food safety or crowd control. He just likes rules. They’re very important to him. And “no dogs at the Farmer’s Market” was a rule he’d heard.
(He’d also heard “no taking thumbtacks off the kitchen cork board and then putting them in your bed as a joke and then not being able to find them,” but ignored that one.)
It’s not just 4-year-olds who are arbitrarily into rules.
People in the online business world? Whoo! It’s a rule-lover’s paradise. They’re self-appointed Biz Cops, wandering around the virtual halls with flashlights and writing up citations for bizarre infractions.
Like Bobby in that Brady Bunch episode where he becomes a hall monitor and gets carried away writing up everyone for every little violation and then nobody in his school or family likes him. (And then he has to break a rule to save some girl’s cat and then he overflows the laundry room with suds trying to wash his soot-covered pants. Plus, a B-plot where Mike buys a fixer-upper boat that we never see again.)
Everyone’s a Bobby Brady these days.
I get emails like: “Just wanted to point out that you’re [sic] About page has a lot of information about you. But as a rule, you’re [sic] About page isn’t about YOU. It’s about your customer! Hope that helps, love your brand, have a great day! :)”
Or unsubscribes that say: “This newsletter didn’t have any actionable advice. Therefore, it didn’t deliver value.”
Because they read some blog post called “5 Rules For Delivering Massive Value In Your Newsletter” and #4 was “Provide 3-5 Actionable Tips.” IT’S A RULE, YOU GUYS! Meanwhile, has this person ever followed any of those tips? Doubt it.
I’m so glad I didn’t know any rules when I started this business.
I just put up a website, and then some services. I wrote my blog about whatever. I still do.
I’f I’d known the rules, I wouldn’t have a business yet. I’d still be taking the word “I” out of my About page.
In fact, I have my own business because I hate rules. “Work starts at 9 am.” Oh, does it? Middle manager, please.
What rules do you wish you’d never heard?
What rules are you following just because you heard they were rules?
And if you break them, who’s going to arrest you?
‘Member when Bobby’s pants split at the end of that episode? And Carol made a joke about a “draft, aft”? Who here thought “aft” was a Brady Bunch word for “ass”?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
ps Samson is now almost 6. Not that he’s going to read my blog, but I don’t want him hearing that I called him a 4-year-old.