The cake part is what you do–your services or your products or the information you’re sharing. It’s the part of your business that’s got the substance and the nutrition (well, the carbs and calories at least). It’s the core thing you offer – like coaching, consulting, design, knit items, clothing, jewelry, and so on.
It’s also the same basic “thing” that others offer and that people can shop around for. Hear me out before you tell me how you’re different. To someone who doesn’t know you… A life coach is a life coach. A marketing consultant is a marketing consultant. A website designer is a website designer. A knit scarf is a knit scarf. A candle is a candle.
If everyone’s offering that same cupcake without frosting, then what’s the comparison point going to be? Will people shop based on convenience? Price? What will cause them to choose you over the other options? Or, how do they know you’re the right cupcake for them?
A cupcake without frosting… is… bland… boring… missing something…
How can you stand out? You need frosting!!
The frosting is YOU. It’s your personality, your perspective, and your uniqueness. You’ve got to throw YOU into your products, your blog, and your business if you want to stand out and succeed. You’re an entrepreneur. You ARE your business. And YOU are what’s going to attract people to you.
100 people can write an article or blog post on the same topic or all create the same basic product type. But they’ll all be different (except the copycats who won’t get anywhere anyway, so please don’t worry about them or let them bother you). Which one will stand out? The one that’s unique.
And for different people, different ones will stand out! Because we’re all drawn to different styles, different passions, different perspectives.
Look at that cupcake picture above. Try not to drool on your keyboard. One or two look particularly yummy, right? The rest are awesome, but you aren’t drawn to them (or maybe you’d eat them all, so just think about which one you’d go for first). Our businesses and blogs are the same way. For some people we’re that perfect cupcake. Not for everyone. And that’s okay–great, actually, because it means someone else is their perfect cupcake and there is enough business (or readers) for us all.
If you want to draw ideal readers to your blog and ideal customers to your website, be more you. When you express a point or share a lesson, don’t try to word everything so “professionally” and carefully that it erases your personality.
There’s always something unique. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that you are the same as someone else and don’t offer anything different. You do – you’re you! And everything you’ve been through, all that life experience, and your personality and preferences make you unique. That shows in the way you create, the way you innovate, the way you share what you share. It will come out through a product or service that IS different and innovative in some way, but only if you allow it to.
I know, for some of you reading this, it’s going to be like… “Yeah… and I already knew that.” Cool. You’ve already found your groove and that’s awesome. Keep going! And just move on to another post. This particular post isn’t quite for you (but there’s lots of other great stuff on my blog so do stick around).
This post is for those of you who, like me, get nervous about stepping up and sharing who we are and what we care about.
A few weeks ago I mentioned Vulcan mind melds in a blog post and article. As silly as it sounds, I had to fight myself over that. I wanted to include it because it illustrated the point in a humorous way. But I worried what people might think. And I got over it and hit publish anyway. Turns out I got social network messages and emails about how it made people laugh.
One of my life lessons is disapproval fears. I struggle to express anything that I think might disappoint or upset someone else. And I’m learning to get past it. Because you know what? Those aren’t the right people for me to be working with or spending time with anyway. I’m realizing more and more that I am not the right person to work with or support certain types of people and even if I wanted to, it wouldn’t be a good arrangement for either party. So I’d be crazy to worry about whether I’m upsetting them in what I say. They’re not my “tribe.”
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss
I’m finding more and more than when I let my personality out, it might cause a few to leave my blog or not work with me, but it’s also forging deeper connections with the right people and giving them a chance to get to know me.
I’ve got a profile pic at Facebook with a flower in my hair. I’ve had two people now mention that it made them feel comfortable working with me. I almost didn’t post that photo (my inner critic told me it wasn’t professional).
I chose a Naturopathic Doctor yesterday based partially on the fact that her website mentioned she has a daughter. That connected with me since I was looking for an ND to take my son to and it’s important to me that the person understand children and have that “mom” perspective (you know, so they get it when I overreact to something like a case of hives–I’m a “better safe than sorry” mom). Of course, the solid cupcake part of her training and credentials mattered, but when I compared several who all appeared to be great NDs, then it came down to the feelings of which one I connected with–the frosting!
Speaking of websites and “about” type pages… I’ve always been one to say “keep it professional” and I’ve used that as an excuse not to share personal information. I’m realizing that’s bad advice! Professional is good, but don’t let it become an excuse to hide who you are. If you’ve got a flair for the dramatic, be dramatic. If you’re a laid back kind of person, then don’t try to change that. The right people are going to connect with you and want to work with you and you’ll both be happier than if you’re working with people who aren’t right.
Express yourself through your business. You can strike a balance between staying professional enough and being you. Know your tribe. Embrace them. And don’t worry so much about what others think of who you are or what you do.
“Don’t let possible rejections keep you from the life you want.” Richard Unger, Lifeprints
Go be the frosting! (And tell your inner critic to sit down and be quiet.)
Hit the comments box below and share your thoughts. Or just tell me which cupcake in the picture you want to eat. Either one is fine to share. Share something and you’ll get a link back to your blog plus a link in that top commenters box on the right side of all the pages on my site. Go ahead. Speak up!
P.S. This line of thinking was brought to you by…
- Post was partially inspired by a post at ProBlogger, so go read it:
- And partially inspired by my teleclass with Michele Scism about getting traffic to your blog and my taking off on a tangent during the Q&A regarding going off-topic on blog posts and somehow I ended up talking about the above ProBlogger post and Lady Gaga. The replay is free if you want to listen in: http://onlinemarketingwithmichele.com/how-to-get-traffic-to-your-blog