How Being Yourself Leads to Business Success
A common struggle that many business owners face is the idea of “being yourself” while still being able to run a successful business. People are afraid to be themselves in public because being yourself may lead to backlash and criticism. They are afraid they will alienate others if they choose to be themselves. This is also left over from old-school business practices where being yourself wasn’t exactly valued in the traditional work world. For example, as a head of a company you were expected to have a certain persona and behave a certain way.
However, things have completely changed. Thanks to two events:
- the rise of the internet and
- the most recent global recession.
The rise of the internet, which led to the rise of social media, has allowed people to connect and find anything they want simply by click of a few buttons. Furthermore, individuals have become accustomed to sharing every area of their lives online—from their family life to what they ate for lunch. As such, it’s now almost expected that people (and particularly those running online businesses) be an open book to the world.
The global recession has affected this in a completely different way. Simply put, people became distrusting of the systems that got us into the mess to begin with. As such, how a company operates and how its leaders relate to people has become very important. For example, now you’ll see some of the top company executives sharing things about themselves and their lives on Twitter. This makes them more personable in the eyes of their customers.
So what does this have to do with your business? It’s simple. The more you embrace “being yourself,” and the more you, that you become (and also the more willing you are to share that with the world), the more successful you will be.
Why being yourself is important
Besides the reasons mentioned above, being yourself in your business is important because that’s what separates you from your competition.
There is absolutely nothing new under the sun, and the only angle you have is your experience because no one else lives your life.
As a result, being yourself and sharing parts of that with the world, gives you the necessary angle that separates you from everyone else. People relate to people. See, they have to trust you . . . before they buy from you.
For instance, I have a coaching client who is a health coach and independent consultant for an eco-friendly network marketing business called Arbonne. If you pay attention these days then you’ll easily notice that there are a lot of health coaches these days. You may also know at least one person who has recently joined Arbonne. As a result she was struggling with differentiating herself from the pack.
After some coaching around her story and why her business is a form of service we discovered some very important facts about her life that help separate her from everyone else and give her brand a powerful identity.
- She had a near-death experience from getting sucked into a crash diet, which explains why health is an important issue to her and why she wants to help others.
- She identifies as Wiccan which is a form of earth-based spirituality, that would explain why she cares so much about eco-friendly products.
These two facets—which are a major part of who she is—are what help her stand out from the crowd as well as give her business her own authentic, unique flair.
It also helped her create marketing content. People pay attention to powerful stories, and she certainly has one having been so close to death. Furthermore, her faith helps her cater to an entire group of people who also identify with that faith. She even ended up finding a community of like-minded individuals on YouTube!
As such she’s been able to start creating free content that caters to the needs of her market—anywhere from “how food affects the body” to “how to create a ritual for Winter Solstice.”
Through this content people are able to get to know her and trust her. And since a big part of her business is building relationships, sharing parts of who she is helps her to do that.
So now that we can see how authentically being yourself can boost your business, it’s time to start figuring out what authenticity looks like in your life.
Identify your story
A good place to start is to lay out your story in relation to your business.
- What’s the deal?
- Why do you care so much?
- Why are you so passionate about what you do?
- Why do you believe that your business can help other people?
Often times businesses begin because someone (usually the founder) encounters a problem in their own life and can’t find a solution. As a result, they end up creating their own solution and sharing that with others. Or, perhaps the founder has an extreme life experience that changes the way they see everything.
So what is that story for you?
You may find that your story has multiple layers to it. For example, my client having had a near-death experience was a result of a crash diet she did because she didn’t feel amazing in her own body. That is a lot of content to work with! There is also a lot passion and power behind it, which is one surefire way to know it’s authentic.
Embrace your quirks
Everyone has quirks, and truth be told it’s what makes us truly who we are. For my client, her faith could be considered a quirk simply because, while it’s had a resurgence since the 20th century, it’s certainly not mainstream and there are several misunderstandings surrounding it. By loving this part of herself she is able to share it with the world and teach from her unique perspective.
As such I urge you to see which quirks you have and embrace them.
What are the little things that make you who you are?
Identify your skills
Of course, the last part of this recipe is to ensure that your story also takes into account the skills you have that can solve someone else’s problem.
Don’t worry, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You already have your unique story which will give your perspective. Now you just have to identify your skill set.
- How do you help people through your business?
- What problems do you solve?
- What skills do you bring to the table in order to be able to do this?
For my client, she’s a health coach and recommends eco-friendly products. Her skills include being able to identify how food affects parts of the body, such as your skin. This is in total alignment with her story of having had a near-death experience because of a crash diet. Furthermore, her faith highly values the earth . . . so that adds an extra layer of expertise.
You see how that works? The reality is by getting clear about our stories, and sharing it with the world, we can enhance the message of our business.