New entrepreneurs are worried about being wrong. Or alienating their audience. Or being unrelatable. So they opt for vanilla. They opt for safe and understandable. Their anxiety over making money keeps them rooted in what they think is safe.⠀
I was speaking to a client the other day about her brand. While I’m not a branding expert, all the work I do with my clients actually supports their brand and is the work most brand strategists wish their clients had done before they came to them.
(Also, my BFF, Linsey Valeriote, is a kickass brand strategist and so I get to learn all sorts of cool stuff from her.)
So, back to this client. When we first started working together, she was fresh out of the corporate world, with visions of sugar plums and entrepreneurial freedom in her head, and she was busy trying to craft the perfect online persona for herself.
Which is what people fresh out of corporate do. It’s ok, sweetheart.
She had an austere website design, some copy pieced together from a business person’s dictionary. Professional copy. Headshots. It looked “OK”, but wasn’t very memorable.
I asked her some unrelated questions. We got to talking about where she lived and what she did for fun. She played roller derby, and flew planes. She was goofy and sarcastic with an odd dry humour but would whip into serious pro talk in an instant. She had passion and an edge, but her envisioned brand had exactly none of that.
Where was all this big personality? The unique angles and hand-flapping excitement? Why was she so hesitant to just be herself?
New entrepreneurs are worried about being wrong. Or alienating their audience. Or being unrelatable. So they opt for vanilla. They opt for safe and understandable. Their anxiety over making money keeps them rooted in what they think is safe.
The irony is that it’s the worst place to be ‘cause all the clients would flock to them if they just knew what made them unique. But they don’t get to see anything they can relate to. There’s no secret sauce or super power. There is nothing that makes a client say “I’m with them!”
I had some long and stern words with that client and we spent months finding her voice and showing her audience who she really was. She’s wrangled that brand into something much more her. What a difference it’s made to be herself.
I know, because that client was me.
Tell me in the comments…
Who ARE you?
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