As a brand new online business owner, I was eager to learn about blogging, shopping cart systems and WordPress. It seemed like the first step was to put up a website, build it, and they would come. Little did I know that the foundation of my business would be….me. Not trying to create a salesman persona or a slick copywriter personality, but working to uncover and BE the real me. Eventually I discovered the tremendous power of authenticity in business.
The first step is to realize that marketing and business are not about trying to persuade, manipulate or otherwise coerce someone into buying your stuff. Instead, your marketing and business consist of putting YOU in the view of people who already need and are looking for your services and products. You don’t have to force anyone or fool them, and you don’t have to be someone you’re not.
False Beliefs That Block Authenticity
You might hold some false beliefs about yourself that block authenticity in your business. For instance:
I’m not an expert or authority. You are always farther down the road than someone else out there. Your experience and study, along with your passion, is valuable. You don’t have to be arrogant and claim to be all-knowing. You can simply share what you know and share your excitement.
I should copy someone successful. Sure, you should find someone who is doing what you aspire to do, and copy what they do to a great extent. Don’t re-invent the wheel. But don’t try to copy who they are. Do what they do, with your own twist and personality. You do you.
If people get to know the real me, they won’t like me. This belief can stem from previous rejection in your lifetime, but don’t let it hold you back from the success and adventure that awaits. It’s true that not everybody is going to like you, but do YOU like every single person you’ve ever met? Don’t take it personally, just be who you are and be glad for the many people who WILL like you.
I’m not _______________. Fill in the blank with your own brand of insecurity. Not smart, not pretty, not funny, not outgoing….you know the things you say to yourself. Most people underestimate themselves, their talent and their value, and use that false information to stay squashed into a little box.
“If you think about it, many business problems are simply personal problems in disguise.” ~ Michael Port
Why Authenticity in Your Business is Powerful
There is power in being true to yourself in business, and here’s why:
Your unique qualities come naturally to you. It’s a lot less work to do what comes naturally. You don’t have to cover up or remember to be fake. Tell your true story, because people are drawn to real stories.
People will sense lack of authenticity. Even if people only see you online, they will get the vibe. Your false identity will eventually show itself and then you’ll lose credibility.
Marketing, Social Media and Business will be easier. Rather than try to figure out who to be this week, you can speak from your own voice. You already know your own quirks and personality, and it’s much easier to let this shine through than to constantly make up a script like a character in a play.
You will attract (and repel) the right audience. When you write and speak authentically, people can easily figure out if you’re the right person to do business with. They will know whether you “click” with them. That’s a good thing, because you don’t want an audience full of people who don’t really like you. The ones who stay will connect with you, and the rest can go find someone else who fits better.
Practical Action Steps for Authenticity
If you’ve been trying too hard to hide yourself and become someone you’re not, here are some tips to step out and be authentic:
- Start small with Social Media posts. Make them reflect YOU: choose quotes, tips, humor and even colors that appeal to you and represent your personality, beliefs and sense of humor.
- Realize that not everyone will resonate with you, but some will LOVE you!
- Continue your own personal growth to be a better you. Find a mentor or coach, read books, listen to audios and work on yourself. The improvements will show up in your business.
It may seem hard to be vulnerable and authentic with your audience. In reality, it’s freeing and exciting. You’ll feel the difference in motivation and productivity when you are true to yourself. Discover for yourself the power of authenticity in your business!