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Transparency builds trust is one of the hallmarks of Profitable Popularity. What this statement means, essentially, is that you interact with your online communities (and potential clients) with authenticity and genuineness. Transparency is a very attractive quality, and one that we all might want to cultivate more of.

Transparency, the way I think of it, is about bringing your best self to your interactions- and letting the ideas, causes, and people you value shine through. I used to feel that my business was more significant or more meaningful because I had built it mostly alone.

But the truth is, it was also lonely and isolating. And didn’t feel that good.

It’s been much better as I’ve continued to become more and more transparent online. There is, increasingly, less of a gap between my online and offline persona. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I share *everything* in my life- especially not about people in my life who might not appreciate it. But it does mean that I, increasingly, filter my content through my own eyes and my own lenses and I share more from my perspective.

My goal in doing this is to help you know me better, as you come to know yourself better too. And this, truly, is the point of transparency.

People will always trust someone more when that person has been open and honest about their foibles or mistakes. They won’t trust someone more when mistakes is all that person talks about. So, as a content creator and promoter, you have to find that “just right” balance of being real, and being an expert.

Your life experience is valuable, and can be the source of your expertise. In essence, you can be your own best testimonial for the services you provide. Although, for many of us, our business’ needs come after those of our clients (the so-called “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” metaphor)- it’s important to spend some time on your business first, at least every now and then, for this becomes the foundation of how you move into the world and what your clients see.

Potential clients are becoming more internet savvy, and they are getting better at seeking out information. They are more quick to notice things that aren’t right- what I call “disconnects” in our marketing and approach. I don’t think, anymore, the concept of “fake it ’til you make it” is going to work.

Instead, it may work better to share honestly about your experience, and know that the right people will be attracted to your transparency and openness. The flip-side of this, of course, is to not underplay your achievements or accomplishments- just because you only did them for yourself.

When you seek to become well known and to monetize your communities, you will want to use transparency to build trust. Share what you’re comfortable sharing, and realize that people will have an interest in your process, especially as you relate to how it will help them achieve their goals. That’s how you travel the line between transparency and creating value.