Why Authenticity is Your Biggest Advantage in Business
Writing was my first passion. Before I ever picked up a camera, I wrote my first fictional short story in fourth grade- a tale I found quite enthralling at the time.
Since then, writing became my solace, how I made sense of the world. I started blogging as part of a high school English assignment, designing a simple Blogger website I called Traveling Sunshine.
Looking back, some of these posts were a bit over dramatic and angsty, but I’ll never delete them. They’re a part of my history. I believe that in an “Instagram worthy” world, what we need most now is honesty. The honesty I’m talking about is the courage to admit that not everything is sunshine and roses, because it’s through our struggles that we experience our greatest achievements, and these set-backs may be what someone else needs to hear to dig them out of a dark place.
Traveling Sunshine has since evolved into Miss MegaBug, but unfortunately the necessity for time kicked me out of my habit of writing. Until recently.
A couple of weeks ago, anxiousness was my reason for insomnia one night. At 4 a.m. I had enough and decided I might as well be productive, so I revised a Facebook post I had already scheduled. Instead leaving an inspirational quote in the caption, I decided it was time to get real. I revealed how prone I am overwhelming myself, and exactly how I was feeling at that moment.
And the post received the most comments of any of my recent Facebook posts. Check it out here.
My audience was surprised at my deviation from pure positivity and curated thoughts to the insight into how I really felt deep down.
They say that we only post what we want people to see on social media- success, a seemingly perfect family, pretty things- and while I’m all about maintaining a positive outlook and celebrating our achievements and expressing gratitude for what we have, it’s important to acknowledge that there are big buckets of suck in life and by letting others in, we don’t have to go through it alone.
So I vowed that from then on out I would reveal some of my struggles and challenges in the hopes that could be an inspiration or a help to others by showing I really don’t have it all together.
When I was first getting started in business- and even now- the mentors and gurus I looked up to seemed like they had it all figured out.
Just today I stumbled upon a STUNNINGly beautiful website that made me question the months I had just spent redesigning and rebranding my website. I honestly contemplated jumping ship and transitioning to a completely different website platform. This led to thoughts of “other people are farther along than I am and offering similar content and services, so what am I doing here?”.
But deep down I do believe that there is room for everyone and that while you may offer exactly the same product or service as someone else, there are still customers out there craving your take on it.
So in that moment of overwhelm, I opened a new browser window and started composing this blog post. I’m reacquainting myself with my first passion in life (other than my inextinguishable love for cats) and am utilizing the power of writing things down to make sense of it all.
And the thing is, when you write from a place of authenticity, there is no such thing as writer’s block.
These words, like that Facebook post, flowed with more ease than I’ve felt trying to write two lines of some basic Instagram post.
And not only that, you’ll build a deeper connection with the people you’re trying so hard to connect with. People follow you or buy your service not only because of what you offer, but because of who you are. Therefore, you’ll attract more of them by being authentic.
When I was a wedding and portrait photographer- a ruthlessly competitive and over saturated industry- I was hired not only because of my skills and style, but because of me. My clients wanted me for my joyful personality and boundless energy. The way I made it easy for them to laugh and smile as well as my care in helping them feel comfortable in front of the camera. And while others may have considered me “too much,” they weren’t the type of people I wanted to work with anyway. ;)
So be you and don’t be afraid to get real. You’re more relatable that way.
How to Be Authentically You
• Know your why. Why did you create your product or service in the first place? What is the problem you’re trying to solve? Your offering likely alleviates a pain point, one that you’ve probably experienced. Include your why in your product descriptions and about page. Show how your offering helps more than you tell what it does.
• Infuse your personality into your brand, especially in your copy (the words you write). Write like you’re having a conversation with someone and don’t shy away from being you out of fear of not seeming professional. If you’re a quirky gal like me, you won’t want to work with stiff people anyway.
• Write about your life. Your family, your recent vacation, a memory, and then make it applicable to what you’re trying to get across. Check out this example. You don’t have to sell with every post. Focus on connecting with your audience first, so when you are ready to lay down an offer they’re all over it. Example here.
• Show your face. I’ve tested this, and the posts containing pictures of me received way more engagement than photos of client work, pretty things, or even my cats.
You are your biggest advantage when it comes to your business. So let that authenticity shine!