The Business of Being You!
As an Image Coach, I often meet incredible women who run their own businesses and who ask me to teach them how to boost their self confidence further by tapping into their potential and showing them their natural assets, both physically and mentally.
One's image, for me, is not just about what you see but what also comes from within which is why I practice an holistic approach.
So on one hand, I could help with their professional image and wardrobes (see how to get work-wear savvy here ) and on the other, by improving their mind-set and confidence or teaching them how to embrace their bodies in a positive manner .
However, I'm also asked to help give insight into their personal business branding too, maybe give it some colour, oomph or identity, in keeping with their business and personality.
In many arenas of life, first impressions count. whether we like it or not, but for me the key is to tune into our 'self' and embrace what we already have in order to show the world and then step out with it.
This is a process I use for both personal, social and business arenas and always encourage it in my clients.
Through my own personal business journey, I have also applied the same foundations consistently and believe that authenticity, confidence and identity are the 3 most influential and important parts of business development, especially for an SME, because for the most part “YOU” are your business.
By working on yourself, you work on your business in a positive and more healthy manner that can only deliver successful results and incur progress the more you do it.
Being you gives your business a meaning, a voice and creates clear messages so that potential clients can hear, relate and buy in. IDENTITY
Seeing a logo/brand makes something visible and gives it a name but it can be brilliantly relative to many potential clients out there who share the same values.
In addition, your personal image can also help translate that brand/logo further by showing “you” to others more effectively and help boost your esteem at the same time. AUTHENTICITY
Feeling passionate and believing in yourself shows others your professionalism and skill-set as well as showing that you mean business and no more so than when your inside matches your outside. CONFIDENCE
So you see, in this world where people do buy from people it’s a great time to be yourself and learn to "Rock What You’ve Already Got" so don't be afraid and stand up and be noticed.
It’s time to step out from amongst the noise of competitors and make your mark with everything you have to give, Something that we often forget to include... the thing that makes us most remarkable is YOU!.
Sometimes, we believe that we are not very interesting, have nothing unusual to offer or provide a service that is a bit 'run of the mill', but I'm a strong believer that we are ALL amazing and have individual talents.
Your business is always evolving and finding your niche and your voice can take time because for the most part, it's not always clear from the get go. So don't be afraid to drill down from time to time.
As consumers and people, we love to see the human side behind everything and social media platforms encourage this through their “story” options, so what’s yours and are you sharing it?
Are you a passionate and cat-crazy person who wants nothing more than to wear quirky prints or jewellery and appeal to like-minded feline lovers with your kitty themed wares?
Maybe you are what you wear? Look at Jojo Siwa and her millions made from making her own brand of hair bows from just wearing them on a tv reality show. (See Dance Mums)
Are you a life coach who loves to dance? What a great way to show prospective clients how they can break down the big things into smaller steps.
An accountant who is great with numbers and practices magic in your spare time? What a great pairing to show clients how well you work miracles on their books.
Do you have distinctive features or assets, a unique dress sense or love anything with hearts on it…? These could be a great basis for a brand, shop or line of products relative to you. You only have to think of Lulu Guinness or The Rolling Stones for their use of lips in this example.
All of these are gorgeously unique and believe me, you can apply any of these things to your business and brand in order to personify your message, whatever that might be.
So, with all this in mind, let's do a little bit of brainstorming and find out how my Top 3 Tips for identifying potential hot spots can aide your self-development and tune them into your business ideal. Identity, Authenticity & Confidence.
You can get clear and align yourself with your message and/or USP (unique selling point) and get some synchronicity. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or well established it's a good practice to carry out.
Let's start with Who You Are..
What does this word mean to you?
Definition: "Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that makes them different from others" (Cambridge English Dictionary)
This lady is one of my all time inspirations and at the fabulous age of 98 ( at the time of writing this) is noted as being the 'Accidental Icon' due to her eclectic dress sense and rejection of blind fashion ideals.
Iris loves being different, collected many fabrics, jewellery and objet d'art as an interior designer and inspired many to dig deep and wear their personality, often attending fashion shows in her own unique style and then going on to give lectures on all manner of inspiring angles of fashion and style her way. Look her up, she's awesome.
With Iris in mind, think about finding your "Visibility in Business" for this section...
Let's have a think about who you are and what you do now... Go grab a paper and pen and try to honestly answer the following questions in as much detail as you can.
I love stationery so I have a beautiful notebook dedicated for all my mind maps and brainstorms and often update them or go back to remind me of my goals and see my development.
Do you have a personal story that encouraged you to start your business? Maybe you overcame or were inspired by something or someone?
Why did you choose your area of expertise?
What is your Why? Why do you do what you do? Core values etc..
What makes you unique?
If it helps, you can read my story here at Sticks and Stones Built My Business..
Now, write down any of your talents, assets, likes, loves, interests and passions. You can write loads or just list random words to get you started and they don't need to be relative to your work either. Some might not be obvious so give it some thought as many of us don't spend time thinking about the good stuff consciously.
Maybe you love a certain colour and have it in all of your branding or wear it all of the time? Maybe you have a pet with character or work a certain way that gives a unique perspective?
You can become synonymous with any one thing, no matter how big or small and use that to your advantage.
You could ask others you trust to give you feedback on what they believe your strengths are and what they believe your business is about. This can help get focus if you’re unsure and will show if people understand what your business is about.
If you're a visual learner, you could create a Pinterest Board to capture memes, inspirations, ideas, topics, themes, looks and biz nuggets that ring true for you and then your business.
This might help you have a "eureka moment" and link the dots, helping you relate to your personality, passions and your business, if you haven't already.
You can visit mine and check out my different board subjects here that relate to my areas of interest that tie in with my business ideals.
Lastly, try and answer the following question whole-heartedly:-
What's your message to potential clients?
How can you relate to them with your story, solve their problems with your skill-set, fulfil their needs or add to their passions with your products.?
This might provide some answers as to where to look for them and the type of people that need your product or services.
Once you've written this out and can see it before you it can help you mould your business to tell the world and give you clarity too.
I re-wrote a lot of content on my website a few years ago to use keywords that tuned in with my truth around body positivity and my love of holistic approaches and positive psychology tools in my practice to set me apart from others.
That in turn helped me shape my services and create Style Journeys and set up workshops, groups and marketing within the same vein.
My aim is to always be as inclusive as I can in the field of style, fashion and mind-set with the women of today and their body acceptance challenges.
Here's an example of my workings, that I used in one of my early presentations to a group of women, to explain how I used my thoughts on my identity to relate to my business.
Examples of how to APPLY YOUR IDENTITY to your BUSINESS
Apply your Story to your business grass roots and build from there. Show Your Why in all that you do.
Use your likes, themes, colours, branding, logo to shape your posts and keep your messages clear on your website.
Be consistent with the above so your brand is clear and recognisable. Check your social media Bios.
Work to your strengths and do more of what works. Popular posts (polls, questions, memes, interactive, video) and mix it up a bit. Use the right platforms where your peeps hang out the most.
Go where your clients go. If your business is dog grooming you should be sharing the dog love. Joining lots of doggy groups/forums. Getting involved with country shows, doggy products, events and breeders. Relate to your dog if you have one.
I think this quote sums it up nicely...
It's all about the "Translation of your Identity" into your business in this section...
"The quality of being real or true, Not copied or False"
We all have experienced comparing ourselves to others and it's pretty deflating isn't it? The self sabotage kicks in and we start questioning our whys and believe that we are lacking in success compared to others.
If we look at it rationally though, it really is a waste of our time and resources because it's not a valid thing to do.... You can't compare one flower with another because they are completely unique despite not obviously seeming so at first glance. One business is not the same as another and nor should it be.
The secret is to take something and make it different by using your identity as outlined earlier.
Not only does this create synchronicity by allowing one's inside to match the outside but it shouts your values loudly and can be reflected in your business.
That's why it's so important to also collaborate with others who hold the same integrity and core beliefs as you. thus strengthening your voice.
Adding value in this way not only shares insights but supports others and allows all parties to benefit in sharing in a larger pool of audiences.
All this also cements relationships and builds strong bonds to help you shout your message above others. Authenticity breeds trust.
So BE TRANSPARENT & HONEST.
People love to see the face behind a business along with the everyday workings as it creates transparency and trust, so a set of genuine head-shots and images showcasing your work and your environment adds to your authenticity further.
Big companies love to use individuals to create the personal touch too, look at Howard from the Halifax this gives great grounding to people and gives a feeling of relatability and helpfulness.
Even companies use animals to represent their story or suggest qualities by pulling on the heart strings of an animal loving nation. It's amazing how running black horses can give you a feeling of not being a number in a massive bank.
Think about local businesses that you know or work with that stand out for you with their messages that you like and give you feelings of authenticity and trust. How are they getting it out there?
Applying your authenticity
Write posts, blogs, articles and website text using your own voice and that of your brand/message. Personality and writing style is key whether that's formal/professional/funny/matter of fact/casual or flowery.
Share images, memes, articles that are relevant to you and your business but are from other sources. Having similar tones and messages adds weight to what you’re about.
Give your comments/spin in forums/groups, on topics, events, current affairs especially if you can make them relevant to your business. Even if you disagree.
Don't ignore the power of a video. Facebook lives, Periscope on Twitter or Youtube shows your authenticity and identity beautifully.
Only work with or collaborate with clients, people, products or businesses that share your grass roots and message. Don’t dirty the waters.
Don’t worry about messing up. If you do, apologise and put it right(clients) No mistakes, only lessons. No such thing as perfection, it’s destructive.
Being you gives your business a voice and creates clearer messages so that potential clients can hear, relate and buy in.
The word confidence comes from the latin word ' fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one's self. Wikipedia
Look at Oprah Winfrey for example, she just oozes it when she speaks and this comes from a passionate belief in her truth which she practises herself and throughout her work.
She was dubbed the "Queen of all media" and deemed one of the greatest black philanthropists in american history and probably one of the most influential women on the planet. From poverty to richness, losing a child, being abused and more, she sought a confessional approach to life on her journey and applied it to her work.
A prime example of how identity and authenticity grows confidence in oneself and reaches out to others.
From this process we can also give light to our businesses through confidence and hence the courage to do more challenging things...
Since positive emotions are fleeting and don't hang around for long, it's important to be mindful of them and bask in their loveliness when you can, rather than dwell on or recycle the negative ones.
So, record accomplishments, celebrate your wins no matter how small, Mementos, photos, certificates, reaching a goal, thank yous and testimonials are great to stick up in your work-space and share.
Having them around you is awesome sauce and they are strong anchors to reinforce your confidence in times of need.
Feeling passionate and believing in yourself shows others your professionalism, skill-set and drive.
A few ways you can apply confidence to your business
Change your log in passwords to something that will build you up and remind you of how great you are and who you are.
Give yourself an exceptional title.. You are an expert in what you do, Don't sell yourself short. Ensure this is on your email signatures, bios and networking 60 seconds.
Use positive memes or images on screen savers, on your office walls, do a dream jar/vision board to keep you strong and motivated.
Surround yourself with positive peeps who support, inspire and motivate you. Follow people on social media who do the same or attend groups with the same drive. I co-run a Wellbeing Inspiration Network (WIN) in Derby for this very reason.
Learn to like yourself a bit more, invest in self care, reach out to other professionals and up your personal development. Appreciate all that you can be, learn and do.
Try not to dwell on the icky stuff, a positive life was never built from a negative mind.
Make a list of a few things that you really want to do in your business but have yet to conquer. Pick one and approach it in tiny steps. Once you manage it, you’ll move onto the next with more confidence.
I hope you can take away at least one thing or useful action from my post and would love to hear what your experiences of being you in your business are.