One of the hardest things about being a solopreneur is that it’s all you.
There’s no boss or team of minions to hide behind.
It’s just little old you as the face and mouth of your business.
And deciding how to present yourself can be incredibly tough.
“I’m running a business, not a popularity contest.”
At first I got it all wrong
When I first started in business I saw many other copywriters wearing fluffy jumpers, smiling winningly at the camera, and writing lovely, jolly posts about colons.
So I did the same.
I pumped out vanilla posts about nothing much, created kitten based inspirational memes, was extraordinarily nice to clients (even when they drove me crazy) and never expressed a strong opinion about anything.
But it just didn’t feel right.
Those who know me would probably say I am brutally honest, have an odd sense of humour, am fairly generous, and work faster than hamster on crack.
So I decided to embrace the me-ness of me.
Now my emails are straightforward, my processes tight, my feedback pulls no punches, and my clients talk about my no-nonsense approach, sense of humour and efficiency.
But I know my approach isn’t everyone’s cup of chai.
I’ve been through my fair share of client break ups.
I’ve suffered from seriously nasty social media comments.
I’ve survived a negative SEO campaign.
And a few months back someone unsubscribed from my email list because of my ‘potty mouth’.
But I’m 100% cool with that, because I’m running a business, not a popularity contest.
I believe succeeding at what you do is realising some people are just not that into you, and that’s okay.
We’re told time and time again that the key to good online marketing is to ‘be yourself’.
But I think being authentic is also the key to running a successful business.
Your you-ness should flow through everything you do, from first contact through to final invoice.
Of course you should always:
- Be polite: There’s a fine line between honest and downright rude.
- Be clear: Give clients an upfront, honest understanding of how you do business.
- Be realistic: Rants about politics or religion on your social media page may do you more harm than good.
- Be professional: While a touch of quirk is fine, downright craziness won’t win you business.
- Be self-aware: Take legitimate criticism on board and realise that haters gonna hate.
In business, just as in life, most of us realise pretty quickly that not everyone is going to like us.
In the schoolyard some kids didn’t want you on their football team, and in the business world some clients might not want to work with you.
But if you’re being authentic, and true to your own values, personality and beliefs, having the odd client you don’t gel with won’t make you lose any sleep.
Being myself has made running my business far less stressful and far more enjoyable. I am who I am, and my clients can take it or leave it.
Are you brave enough to try being authentic too?
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You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.
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This post originally appeared on The Flying Solo website.