Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting. For me, it came with the thoughts of location independence and traveling the world. However, this wasn't always the case.
When we go on the entrepreneurial journey, as women, there seems to be one thing that happens frequently that results in a long uphill battle to building a business we love. A lot of us are hiding behind our business.
How do I know this?
Because I did it too.
When I first started my journey as a web and graphics designer, I created business names that were so far from being me but it felt safe. While they didn't reflect my work or personality, they did sound nice and professional. It was never enough though. I would keep changing my business name, logo, and design with the hopes that this was going to be the hit.
During this time, I noticed a recurring pattern. By having a website that didn't resonate with who I was, I was also attracting clients that didn't resonate with me either. Either they would be difficult to work with, forget to make payments or, I found myself working on projects that I sadly lacked enthusiasm for.
"That's business, Jess." I would tell myself. I honestly didn't know that I was creating these situations because I was afraid to put myself out there as me. You see, I wanted to please everyone (as most of us do) and putting myself out there was too much of a risk. That included my branding (I kept my design as neutral as possible) and even having photos of myself on my site.
"What if they don't take me seriously when they see my photo? I can hardly use pink on my website, they'll think that's too girly!"
It seems silly looking back at it now but it can be so easy to create these invisible "rules" that we think everyone else in the business world is following.
So with that being said, the one thing I want you to realize is that you should never be afraid of being you in your business. Not everyone is going to click with you but the ones that do, really do. Since I rebranded my website to truly reflect who I was (yes, pink banners and all), I have been so fortunate to continuously work with incredible women on projects that I absolutely love.
Coincidence? Not a chance.
So now I'm going to go through some important tips to help you step out from behind your business and shine as the brilliant entrepreneur that you really are.
1. The "Name Game".
If you are not happy with your business name (and do not want to use your own name), have some fun brainstorming words that inspire you next to the problems that your products or services solve. Some great examples of business names that have done this include:
• Wellness Mama (A holistic blogger that helps moms and their families live a more natural lifestyle).
• Damsel in Defense (A bubbly lawyer who helps entrepreneurs understand the legal aspects of their business).
2. "People Buy From People".
I'm sure you have heard this saying before and it couldn't be more true. Don't be afraid to have photos of yourself on your website. Whether it is in your banners or throughout various content areas of your website, show your web visitors that there is a real person behind the website! It will help them better connect with you and the things you represent.
3. Don't Copy Other Copy.
Part of rebranding your business and website is to make sure your content is really connecting with your audience. On my old websites, I wanted to make sure I came across as professional (read: boring) as possible and tried to mimic what I thought was "good copy". No humour allowed, no "open and honest" blog posts...the list goes on. That being said, I kept being drawn to entrepreneurs that spoke from their heart and weren't afraid to add their personality in their copy.
4. You're More Than Your Business.
It sounds silly but I was genuinely scared to incorporate my passions and hobbies on my website. I was afraid that if my hobby did not directly involve me sitting behind a screen or coding (cliché?), that I would seem less professional. The truth is, I have been dancing since the age of three and even danced professionally fresh out of high school. Even though I wanted to share every aspect of me I still thought... "Who would take a 'dancing' web designer seriously?"
So I decided to do an experiment on my About page and add one extra section to the page. It included a few fun facts about me that most people would never know. I even took the plunge and shared the flash mob video I did for my mom's birthday (see: dancing in the street, by yourself) to really test things out.
After I released my new About page, I received so many messages and even subscribers from women who had apparently signed up after seeing the page. The lesson? You are more than your business, don't be afraid to show people that!
No matter what you do, there is no one else like you so embrace that and let it shine through your website and brand!
Now over to you, have you ever felt like you were hiding behind your business? Start the discussion by leaving a comment below!