The first rule to modern entrepreneurship is to understand that people buy from people. But, do you have to sacrifice your privacy for the privilege of becoming a business owner?
“Authenticity requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.” –Janet Louise Stephenson
The internet proves there is nothing new under the sun. No matter what you sell, consumers can always find an alternative deep within the throes of Amazon and Ebay. Sure, standing out against your competition plays an important part of your branding, but it isn’t the determining factor of your sales. What matters most of all is how deep of a connection your customers feel they have with you. As an introvert, that concept might seem a little scary. But, you can maintain your privacy and be open at the same time.
Start with a riveting About page
Things are ah-changing. Gone are the days of obscurity and stuffy corporate professionalism. Now, people expect a certain level of transparency from small business owners. Being open about your life gives you an undeniable level of credibility. I’ve had to strike a maintainable balance between what I’m willing to share and what I have a responsibility to share. Although being open can be a challenge at times, it also makes running a business more… fun!
Think of it this way — by being open from the beginning, you’re designing a life where it’s okay to be yourself.
The most visited location on SipBlack is my About link. Believe it or not, it’s also the page I spent the least time on – and I’m very, very private. I hoard my privacy like you’d hoard water in a hurricane. As an early entrepreneur (before the digital boom), I learned how to manually inject my personality into every business I owned. I quickly discovered that people tend to be skeptical and naturally a bit distrusting. They have every right to be. Our mission is to break through those barriers and make customers feel like they’re in good hands.
The secret is very simple. Just be honest.
Your About page is an introduction to who you are and what you’re about. Visitors aren’t just looking for an entrepreneur — they’re looking for a friend, a comrade… they want personality.
Here are my top 5 tips for finding inspiration to write your own About page:
° Loosen up before you begin writing. My About page is the result of two glasses of wine and my favorite candle burning nearby.
° Don’t try too hard. If you think too much about what you want to say, you end up stifling your natural voice. Just write and edit later.
° Read it aloud. If anything sounds uncomfortable to you, remove it completely.
° Add links! After you’ve made your introductions, give visitors a reason to stay. If they like what they’ve read, they’ll be expecting more. Here’s your first chance to guide them.
° Remember, you can always change it. As you grow and your business evolves, so will your About page. It represents who you are and what’s a priority for your business right now. It isn’t static.
No one expects perfection from you
You don’t have to share everything, but whatever you do decide to share… be honest about it. Don’t give half-truths, don’t over exaggerate, and don’t downplay the facts. Especially if you’re telling your story.
Your journey may not be the same as your tribe, but they can still identify with the emotions you felt along the way. When you aren’t honest, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to be understood. You’re also robbing yourself of the opportunity to make mistakes. Once they’ve connected with you, they understand you may not always hit the mark you aim for. They’ll be more forgiving in your failures and more ecstatic for every milestone.
Honesty opens the door to build a genuine relationship with your community.
Transparency (not privacy) is the ultimate VIP pass
Your brand is a society of people who “get you” in ways that most won’t. They believe in you and trust you to lead them to a common goal. Anybody can fake it. Literally, anybody. It takes something special to show up exactly as you are — even on the days when you want to be someone else.
Don’t hold back from your own community. Otherwise, you’re nothing more than a copy of the other well-manicured, phony wantrapreneurs online. Before people can believe in your product or service, they have to believe in you. And if you want them to come back — to be present and active in your self-made society — then they have to feel a part of something remarkable.
Originality is brilliant
Back in the day, I could close up shop at the end of the day, grab a drink with friends and keep both lives separate. Psh, not anymore. Now, even when I’m socializing, I’m networking. Anyone I meet, there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll Google me. That’s another reason it’s so important to be transparent with your audience. I don’t necessarily have to worry about being “on brand” because I am my brand.
If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’re selling a lifestyle. Across the board, more people are buying online than from traditional brick and mortar stores. One of the biggest reasons for the massive shift is because consumers can take their time and really get to know a business. It’s easy to throw a few items in a cart and take a look around before completing the transaction. If they aren’t satisfied with what they find, leaving is as simple as a little black X in a red box. Hassle-free. No questions asked.
Online businesses give a new meaning to leisurely shopping. There are options now. Tons of them. No longer are people restricted to the same stagnant stores in their neighborhood. No way, now they can order anything from anywhere.
They don’t NEED you, so you have to find a way for them to WANT you. Your job is to show them they’re buying into more than a product or a service — they’re buying into a better life.
The best way to create such a vivid reality is by giving them a glimpse into your own life. Live what you love, then show the world.
Your truth will always be your truth
You’re in control. No one gets to know anything that you don’t want them to know. You pull all the strings and make all the decisions. We all have our flaws and most of us don’t want to place them on a pedestal, open to judgment and criticism. But, I’ve got to admit, there’s power to owning every part of yourself and making it a part of a bigger story.
It’s an incredible feeling to share pieces of yourself and for people, in return, to give a damn about it. You become a fountain of inspiration and motivation. Your customers forge a bond wth you that translates into loyalty. Loyalty is their way of saying, “Thank you.”
You owe it to your community to be yourself, unapologetically. A brand survives through the small group of people who identify with it. Your business doesn’t cater to everyone in the world. Your truth is never something to be embarrassed about because it’s exactly what makes you original as you are.
Change your perspective. As consumers, we want to feel a connection with the person behind the business. We crave kindred souls and are constantly on the search for people we can relate to. People don’t buy simply because they need the product. They buy because they want to believe in what a company is setting out to do.
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