secret sauce

Stop Being Such a Miser with Your Secret Sauce

A few months ago, my boyfriend considered starting an AirBnB. He found an open apartment at a low rental price, and, since we live in the middle of a major travel-destination, thought it might be worth a shot.

Since he knew absolutely nothing about the hosting business, he asked a neighbor who ran a successful AirBnB service for advice. For anonymity purposes, we’ll call this neighbor Sarah.

Her response?

“Nope.”

Boom. Shot down.

She proceeded to tell my boyfriend how hard she worked to build her business. “I made many mistakes that brought me to where I am now—I’m not just going to share that with you.”

Ouch, right?

My boyfriend—who was a bit defeated by her response—ended up asking me, “Is everyone like this? Is it normal to not share information like that?”

I wasn’t sure what to say at the time, but I’ve been giving it a lot thought—and here’s what I’ve come up with.

Old mentality versus the new

Let’s go back to the early days of Coca-Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. The only thing they have in common—aside from being delicious and terrible for your waistline—is that these recipes are all top secret. Grandma would rather take her cookies to the grave than let someone else bring them to a Tupperware party.

This is the old-school way of thinking—and like most old-school ways, we’re evolving past them.

We live in an age of transparency, where sharing is caring

Today, social media has created a culture of sharing. We share our stories, our lives, our heartbreaks, and our joys. You’ve seen the post where someone is struggling and others send words of encouragement and love—it’s a beautiful thing. This notion is multiplied in the professional field.

Whether you do it from a place of generosity and good-will or are simply applying the “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” this idea of business will bring abundance.

Speaking of the “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” philosophy…

What goes around comes around

Not to get too karma on you guys, but you really do get what you give. Let’s go back to our friend Sarah. Sarah’s negative response to a simple question for help and guidance was off-putting. As a result, I’d never recommend her place to any of my friends or associates—and I know plenty of people looking for a place to stay in this area. Her attitude alone cost her potential sales.

If you bury your treasure in the sand, all you get is dirty treasure

We won’t grow or improve if we hide our secret sauce. Maybe Grandma’s cookies could have reached a whole new level of awesomeness by letting another baker try their hand at her recipe. If we keep something to ourselves, there’s no chance for progress.

If you’re open and honest, people take notice

The best example of this can be seen through blogging and content sharing. When you share your expertise, and your secrets to success, others will look to you for advice and guidance.

And here’s the part where we take all this lovey dovey crap and turn it into money

While I’m obviously not an advocate for the miser mentality, I am by no means saying to give it all away for free.

What our friend Sarah could have done—and should have done—is offered to coach my boyfriend for a fee. She could have seen his question as an opportunity to write a book, start a blog, or record a series of YouTube videos—all for a profit. Instead, she’s so busy worrying about who will steal her hard work away that she’s missing out on lucrative opportunities.

So, if you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: your secret sauce, special talent or awesome product should be shared, at a price, with anyone who wants to learn more.

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