“What do you want me to say? What is it I need to say in order to attract customers?”
The woman in front of me is starting up in business and I’ve just asked her to sum up what she does and what makes her different.
And yet I see her answer or rather, her question, every day staring back at me from the various websites, home pages and brochures I’m reading. People care more about what the reader thinks and how to win them but at what cost?
If you were to represent yourself authentically and true to you, trust me, you would win the right customers. What does it look like to represent yourself authentically?
- You know what you offer and you don’t fudge your services. If you’re a photographer then you’re a photographer. You don’t offer a bit of social media assistance or perhaps a bit of blogging on the side – unless you’re passionate about these and have clearly marked out from the beginning that these are in your repertoire of skills. If it’s not something you do, you don’t do it – for any money.
- You know the three things that make you awesome A.F. What are they? No seriously, what are they? You should know them now. Not the things you think make you sound awesome, what actually differentiates you?
- You know your customer – you know how they look, how they sound, where they shop and most importantly, why they choose you. Don’t tell me you’re an artist – tell me what kind of art you create and tell me who it’s for
- You love your job. The moment you dread a client or a client project you need to ditch it – trust your gut and do what you love and you’ll attract more of the same!
- Your portfolio reflects work that you’re passionate about and proud of – not work you did because you needed the money
- Don’t seek approval and certainly don’t seek praise. You know when a job is good and you know when you’ve done well. If you need someone to tell you or pat you on the head, you’re in the wrong line of work or perhaps not being true to yourself.
- Be honest. When you write your web copy or speak about yourself and what you do, be truthful. Simply say what comes from your heart about what you offer – don’t embellish, don’t lie and don’t deny – be you and let it shine – someone is looking for you and what you have to offer – just as you are.
- Don’t look up, look in – instead of looking up to the “leaders” in your industry, become your own leader marching to your own rhythm. You don’t know what’s true and what isn’t so just because someone looks successful on paper, not only could it be misleading but their version of success is not the same as yours.
As I chatted with the woman in front of me I realised that she just lacked a little self-belief. She had the talent and she had the motivation but she was still looking up and not looking inward. If she listened to her own heart and what she wanted to achieve, the life she wanted to live and the message she had to get out, she would know that she, the woman with the tattoos on her skin and the fire in her belly had an incredible talent and it would be crazy to conform and say what “customers wanted to hear.”
Because real customers, the sort that would appreciate what she had to offer would want her just how she was, incredible in her unique way and comfortable in her own skin, every tattooed part of it.