So you’ve started your business (or are thinking about it) and it all feels a little out of your comfort zone.
You’re on the socials and may even have your social media strategy in place yet… something is holding you back.
You feel ‘wooden’ and you want to enjoy what you do without appearing unprofessional.
So, how do you stay professional AND allow yourself to be, well, you?
It’s a strange transition going from employee/stay at home parent/high flying corporate leader/underachieving coaster to – freelancing, becoming your own small business owner and not having a boss.
It’s easy to stick to the approved of uniform (joggers/leggings/suits/cocktail dresses) and adhere to a certain professional etiquette when you’re in that role you’ve been living in for a while (and yes SAHMs and coasters do have their own etiquette) but what about when YOU become the focus of your business?
I struggle with this daily, the weight of the online judgement made by potential clients a thought every time I post. So, when I was talking to a friend recently he said that my USP (unique selling point) is me. It’s my winning personality – his words and no I didn’t pay him. I had to think about this a bit more.
If you’re feeling like an imposter, like you’re not good enough, if you’re second guessing everything you post then you’re not alone.
Last year I really fell out of love with my online presence. I just felt like it wasn’t me, not really. Nothing online felt like it truly represented me and as a consequence, and I think quite a logical one, I began to disassociate with my online persona.
I felt professional but hollow.
Call it imposter syndrome if you like but out of everything in this freelance world this feeling has had the biggest impact on me and whether you’re thinking about freelancing, have just started up or whether you’re a more established entrepreneur, I think we can all agree that this happens to each and every one of us.
What are the signs?
For me, this negativity manifested itself in the following ways:
- Procrastination – I just dithered and dallied over everything – I even stepped away from social media entirely for around 6 months.
- Loss of self confidence in my abilities – this is a doozy if it gets hold of you.
- Attracting clients./jobs that you don’t actually really want to do – I found this a lot and began to notice that like attracts like. I.e. I was getting enquiries from people who were wooden, weren’t valuing my business and were wasting both our times. Whilst I wasn’t being a time waster online I had to come to terms with the fact that without showing who I was and with that underlying lack of confidence not being me was creating, I was devaluing myself, my hard earned and high quality skills and my business as a whole. After all, like attracted like.
- I was bored and miserable and didn’t have a clue where to start to get myself out of the funk.
So again, how do you stay professional AND allow yourself to be you?
Here’s the thing, I can give you half a dozen steps to take and suggestions for doing this but I think the main thing is this:
Do your job incredibly well and don’t be a dick. << Click to tweet!
You know what you’re doing, it’s why you felt you *could* do this in the first place, that little stirring of something in your gut. It’s not your ability that’s the problem it’s how you choose to showcase yourself and your business online.
When you share be yourself – talk like you, use words you would use, laugh if you would normally laugh etc. Be proud of your skills, talents and knowledge.
If you feel the most comfortable being made up do that, if you don’t then don’t (you don’t have to look like anyone else online, even if you fear they’re doing it better. You just need to look like you)
If you live in gym gear then bloody go for it, if I see you turn up in stories wearing a tutu and converse, if that’s your style then I’m there for it because, and this is most important, you will be bringing to the table the person I will be speaking with, giving money to, be recommending, be anticipating their next story and whether you’re a quirky Queenie or Straight Laced Sally then I’m there for it..
Tell me how your ninja skills can help me better yet show me, all whilst being you and I will more likely buy off you. The energy you give off will resonate almost more than the actual post itself – it’s certainly what will linger longest.
Most importantly, just don’t be a dick with it – if you’re uber professional that’s ok too, own that part of yourself and make the most of it.
The key to not being a dick on social media is to not take yourself or it too seriously. Try things, multiple times, see whether you enjoy doing them and whether they enable you to feel like yourself.
If you find yourself avoiding posting more often than not then the answer is that this is not the right method for you. But that’s not indicative of your business success, it’s simply about your style of content.
Would I speak like this if the client was sitting with me having a conversation?
That’s what I’m asking myself everytime I create my content (including this post).
When I look back at older content I appreciate it but there’s an air of disconnect because it’s not quite fully me. That’s ok, it’s normal as we change and grow.
Now my content will be a little smoother in style, will be a bit cheekier and will definitely have some more playful elements to it. Because business can be hard but it should also bring you joy and satisfaction wherever possible.
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Catch you later, Amy x