One of the biggest fears many female solopreneurs have when marketing themselves is for potential customers to lose respect or trust in their professional ‘brand’. We worry this will happen once we show a glimpse of the person behind the business – a difficult concept to contemplate if you come from a generation where people were expected to maintain separate professional and personal lives.
In social media we are told that being ‘social’ is the new way to be. But being social for many means being ‘personal’ and that can be scary!
Are you too in hiding? Do you try to protect your personal information, your weaknesses, who you socialise with, so people think of you as the perfect person for the job or project?
That’s what I used to do. For example, as an excellent English speaker, I used to try and play down the fact that I am German… quite silly really given that I have a long, foreign-sounding name!
But then I discovered that precisely because I am German (and different), I get projects that other people can’t carry out in the same way, like working with expats and international businesses. Clients appreciate my ability to ‘get’ their issues and solve them, quickly and easily.
As a solopreneur you both own and run the business, and it means that in reality you have one, not two separate identities. Most people find this quite difficult to grasp but YOU are your brand. Your brand is how you appear to others, the way you look, speak, act, work – all this is what makes you different.
Since people or businesses that buy your service, actually buy into you, they need to know and trust that you are a real person, not just a nice logo.
For example, I used to know a woman who changed her persona to fit in with her current boyfriend – in her desire to be liked she was never truly herself. At some point this always backfired on her when the man got bored or saw through it.
If you try to behave like you expect a “great” solopreneur in your industry to behave, you will construct a facade which may come across as insincere, fake and inauthentic. It will cause confusion especially when someone meets you virtually first and then for real later.
Why try to be something or someone else? This doesn’t build trust, quite the opposite! As Oscar Wilde quite rightly said, “be yourself, as everyone else is already taken.”
So when marketing yourself, drop the facade and show a little of the real you. You don’t have to bare all, just a little more of the person that leads your business.
You will then attract real people to you, as well as the right people for your business. And if it puts some people off, then perhaps they’re not the right customers for you anyway.
So don’t blend in any more, dare to be different and dare to be you. Trust me, it will enhance your relationships, foster trust and create better business outcomes.
If you would like to have a complimentary conversation about what being truly authentic means for you, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a 30-minute slot!
About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King helps busy women to be well connected, visible, effective and profitable in business. Connect with her via Twitter, the Success Network Community on Linkedin, or Success Network Recipes on Facebook. Or sign up to the monthly newsletter at Success Network.