I’ve had several client conversations lately around finding “the line” in business conversations between professional and personal. A question I’m asked frequently is “how personal do I have to be?”
The truth is, you exist, therefore everything you do IS personal.
If you are running a business as a solopreneur, your brand voice and your personal voice should resemble each other distinctly.
One of the most compelling reasons why you must let your personal flavour flow into your brand language, one I know you’ll understand immediately, is that being the most unique YOU is the only way to truly stand out from your competitors. And the easiest way to BE you is to let the guard down a little bit more (or a lot more if it suits your business).
Another compelling reason, one that takes a bit longer to understand because you have to live in your business for awhile, is it endears your ideal audience to you. Your ideal audience is culminated from a number of factors and one of these factors is what they think about YOU! Wouldn’t it be nice to know you showed up exactly like yourself… and they love you for it? Wouldn’t it be great if being yourself is the exact reason you were hired? Get this – when you are most like yourself, and your brand voice has synergy with who you truly are, you are most likely to be instantly trusted. This means warts and all.
Personable over Personal in Your Brand Voice
Understand that you get to create the line of “how much” personal information you share about yourself. What you say is totally not the question to ask when trying to blend a personal flavour into your brand. Rather, it’s how y0u say it that matters most. Being personable – showing your quirky, funny, serious, special sides that your friends and most trusted clients know of you over time – is what you are striving to show in your brand. Keep your private business private if it’s what suits your audience and suits you. But let your personality, your special touch on how you communicate to the world, shine through in order to build your unique brand voice that will be endearing and business building.
Vulnerable not Victim in Your Brand Voice
Often, when we are running business built from the heart and with a values-based purpose, we have launched a dream based on a passionate desire to make change. Sometimes, that change is because we’ve been a victim of a tragedy or misjustice, small or large. (We all have been treated poorly at some time or another, that’s simply part of life). We have to be careful, no matter how small or huge the victimization has been, that we don’t wallow in it to grow our business. Now, I’m not being insensitive. This is business life. For a time, what happened will get you the attention you desire and it may be relevant to your business, but eventually even the most empathetic and connected champions want to see you move past it.
The value in the tougher part of your story, the part of your story that is the root cause motivator that makes you an entrepreneur, is your vulnerability! For far too long in business we have been told to be tough, don’t cry and don’t show your feelings. The time has come for you (for all of us) to let the false toughness go and let the vulnerable side show. It is showcasing our vulnerability with confidence, in an appropriate manner, that proves how tough we actually are!
Your Vulnerability Has Emotion
When you share your personality, with the extra bonus of revealing a little of your vulnerability, you instantly create a connection to people you should connect to. And yes, I’m still talking about business. Be a human being, tell your story, let your feelings show and embrace what follows. Find the line for you, but know this – the more reserved you are, the harder it is to understand you and your brand on that instinctive level where your customer or client is making their most important decisions.
Vulnerable means you are simply opening yourself up just a little bit more to trust that your story and your true self will be appreciated as you are. Believe me, as a long term “strategy” for building your solopreneur brand, this is your sweet spot. So laugh and cry with your customers. Let them see the personality behind the brand, even if it’s just enough of a peak to connect that your brand value has some truly outstanding human quality, and that once and for all, being a perfectly packaged business robot is not cool in business life.