I have a secret to share with you, one that has taken me many years to learn: You are more successful in business when you are being who you are.
It sounds simple, but, actually, is pretty complex.
You see, as a business owner, you are constantly forced to take stock of your service and your products, and, therefore, of yourself.
If you sell consulting or other professional services, you almost constantly have to strive to differentiate yourself from the marketplace. You need to stand out in some way, to be faster or better.
Sometimes, this push to be better doesn’t really let you be who you are, so running a business seems foreign and strange.
You may feel like you have to get up each day and put on a happy face, even when you don’t feel like it.
You may feel that you have to behave a certain way or espouse certain beliefs in order to remain competitive.
In some ways you do: your business persona should always line up with how you want to be viewed by your customers, and your competitors.
But this doesn’t mean that your business persona should completely squash who you really are.
Like, in my case, for example: I’ve loved blogging since it first began. I have always loved product creation. I’m also an expert in facilitating human change. One of the problems for me has always been how to reconcile each of these facets and find a business approach which feels just right. It may seem obvious to you (isn’t it always like that when you look at other people?) but it’s taken me some time to understand that I really love teaching people, and I love sharing ideas, and I love creating new products.
So I’ve built a business, now, which allows me to express each of these facets within it. I teach people through my speaking, and I share ideas through my blogs, and I create new products and programs regularly, both for myself and for clients.
(In fact, I have a few new products I’ll be rolling out shortly,–more on that in another post.)
My business has begun to shape up to let me be who I really am, and it’s become more profitable as a result.
Do I still have things to learn? Of course. Do I still sometimes wonder if I’m doing this right? Absolutely. But it’s much easier- it feels much better- to build a business that lines up with my strengths and interests, even if it looks different than I thought it would. For myself, I needed to let go of what other people thought I should be doing.
On more than one occasion, for instance, I’ve been told: "You went to school for all those years….why are you wasting your education by blogging…?" (Though, really, blogging lets me share my expertise in a much wider platform than I would ever have in working directly as a therapist!) In a way, I guess what I’m saying is that business success comes more easily when you build a business that showcases your unique talents and strengths.
Then you don’t have to fight so hard to stand out, because you are, after all, unique. How have you shaped your business to reflect your uniqueness? I’d love to know.