How to build your business by being yourself

How to build your business by being yourself

I love this week’s question asking for social media advice on getting over inhibitions and giving yourself permission to be yourself online and overcome fears. I’ll give you my advice on how it can have a positive effect on your business!*

Can’t see the video? Watch it on youtube.

Katie asks:

I really admire people who are just themselves online. I think it takes a vast amount of courage. I would love to be like that too, but I worry too much about what other people think and that they won’t like me being me. This makes me very reserved with my personality online. I really think this is holding me back and I’d love to get the confidence to get over this. Any advice please?!

First of all I’m going to put this bit of advice at the top of the bill.

Never, EVER, let anyone, real or imagined, stifle who you are or your personality. You cannot live like that, whether that’s online or offline. Be yourself.

Never let anyone stifle your personality. Social media advice on how to use your personality to build your business.

So, you are worried people won’t like you.

Guess what? Not everyone is going to like you. Just as you are worried that people won’t like you being you, have you thought that some people might not like this ‘muted’ version that you are portraying? And what’s happened? Nothing! Just as you don’t like everyone you meet, not everyone will like you. And that’s OK!

What you are doing now is muting yourself, or turning down the volume on your personality. You are still being you in a way, but a timid version of yourself. Who wants a muted personality?!

By being reserved and self-conscious you are putting on an act.

You are worrying about what you say and how you say it for fear of offending anyone and that takes a lot of effort. You’ve got to trust yourself not to do anything really dumb that will turn people off. And you won’t. It’s not going to happen involuntarily. Trust yourself! Give yourself a break too. All that ‘acting’ is exhausting and you are putting extra pressure on yourself when you already have enough to do with running your business!

Besides, won’t people get a shock when they actually do meet you and get to know you? They are buying into one personality, and then you present yourself as someone else when you actually meet people. That’s going to be confusing and misleading for people.

You are your business!

It needs to reflect who you are. Your personality is going to differentiate you from your competition. Also, it’s going to help you to attract the people you want to. When they get to know you and see your personality, and they like you, that will draw them into doing business with you. And if they don’t like you? No worries! You’re not going to be a good business match for each other anyway.

Just to help you get started revealing more of yourself online and through your business, you could try coming up with some guidelines if it makes things easier. What I mean by that is a just a little reminder of where you boundaries are online, as it might just give you a security blanket. I bet you won’t even need it.

What could these guidelines be?

How about deciding what you will share on twitter and facebook? What are you comfortable with? Sharing movies you’ve watched, post photos of your day, tell a funny story? You get to decide what to talk about and what not to talk about. Experiment and see how it feels. You don’t have to throw yourself into the deep end.

This isn’t an either/or situation. You can be professional, build your business and be yourself online too! Talk to your audience. Get to know them and let them get to know you, the real you, as well as building your industry authority at the same time!

*Unless you are that guy! ;D

What do you think? What tips have you got about being yourself online to build your business?

One of the books that has had a huge impact on me is Indestructible Self Belief by Fiona Harrold (It was through Fiona’s college course that I trained a life coach!)

If you have a social media or business question feel free to send it to me here, or we can schedule some time to dig deeper if you would like to book a consultation with me.

See you next week for another Q & A! 🙂

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This article has 6 comments

  1. Excellent post. I’ve somehow always been in the habit of controlling what about me was out there on the internet – my golden rule is that if I wouldn’t shout it out in the middle of Birmingham, I won’t put it online. I’m lucky that I did my growing up before Facebook, etc., but I do Google myself from time to time to make sure there’s nothing on there I wouldn’t want to be out there.

    As to being myself on social media – yes, indeed. OK, I don’t present myself as the mad catwoman with a fur-covered fleece that I might be right now, but I try to be honest, and “me” as much as I can be on the sometimes limiting formats of social media. My blog posts are often about something I’ve struggled with, and I “give away” a lot of information to help others (that’s for another post for you, though, on giving things away!). It’s a lot easier to say no with conviction to offers and jobs that do not suit me when I already present myself as decent, ethical and law-abiding, for example.

    • Hi Liz!

      That’s a great Golden Rule. I’m very grateful I didn’t my growing up pre-facebook too haha! I don’t understand it when people say it’s vain to google youself. I think it’s a really smart and healthy thing to do! I don’t think ignorance is bliss in this regard.

      I think you manage yourself beautifully online with a good mix of business and personal. As for ‘giving away’ information, I can only see the positive – though of course how much and with what purpose etc is another matter! That’s one of the reasons I started these Q&As this year – I can help/give away my advice once a week (which is manageable), plus it helps more than one person and it helps me – it makes me write a blog post once a week! I think you learn with time and experience, the right jobs, the right opps and the right people

      Karen 🙂

      • Indeed – I started my Word hints series on my blog because I found something I couldn’t do, found it hard to find information on how to sort it out, and wrote the post as a reminder to myself. I also do them if I’m finding I’m telling clients (how to work with Track Changes) or other people (so you fancy being a proofreader) the same thing over and over again. So it saves me time and helps other people but I retain my knowledge of how I work with their documents and texts.

        I think you manage yourself beautifully online, too – a good role model.

        • That’s it! You learn by doing, and then you are in a position to share and help and teach others. And you are building up a bank of resources to direct people too when they pose a question you have addressed already. 🙂

  2. What a great blog post Karen, thanks for sharing!

    There’s two old adages I stick to “People do business with people they like”. If you Tweet just about work, that’s one, but people DO want to know a bit about the real you and are more likely to engage with you if they do.

    Secondly, “You can’t please everybody”. You make a really good point about the fact some people will like what they see of you, others not. Accepting this is important!

    Loving your blog Karen. You’re touching on some really valuable topics! 🙂

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comment! Those adages are so true. Very wise indeed.

      Can you imagine even trying to please everyone? Impossible. We would be exhausted! 😀

      Hears to a get week working with awesome peeps 🙂

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