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As business owners, we want to attract clients we love and that means getting visible with them online. These are all things we think of when we talk about online visibility:
👉Creating a stunning logo and beautiful website
👉Adding content to our blogs
👉Sharing things on social media
👉Networking with people in online communities
You may call it building awareness or online marketing, it doesn’t matter what you call it — they’re activities we engage in that allow clients to see us, (hopefully) like and trust us, and eventually, buy from us.
*Record scratching sound.*
Hold up. Let’s rewind for a sec and go back to the part where we “allow clients to see us.” Because I think what doesn’t get said often enough is that it takes courage to be seen.
And I don’t mean it takes courage to set up a Facebook page and post things to it. I mean it takes courage to truly be seen for who we are, to tell the world about the amazing gifts we have to offer and to really–I mean really–put it out there.
The Secret to Visibility: Having The Confidence To Truly Be Seen
What if instead of focusing on all those usual things, you focused on developing the confidence to be seen in a much bigger way than you’re allowing people to see you now? I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur (and in my line of work I can tell you I meet a lot of them) who isn’t holding themselves back in some way, making themselves small
(This includes me, by the way. I’m working on it.)
One of my favorite questions to ask my clients, business colleagues, and myself is…
What are those things you KNOW deep in your heart will get you visible with the right people but you’re just not doing them?
We all have those things. They’re there in the back of our minds, those fleeting thoughts we quickly suppress that start with, “I should really_____.”
- Host a workshop
- Attend a conference or networking event
- Give a speech
- Lead a Facebook group
- Get on Facebook live and share a tip
- Create and promote a webinar
- Connect with influencers in my industry to see if there’s a way we can collaborate
- Reach out to prospects and invite them to get on a call
- Start a blog, podcast, YouTube channel
- Write a book
What is YOUR thing? What’s holding you back from doing it? What things are you doing instead that aren’t doing a damn thing to help you get visible?
What Does Your Comfort Zone Look Like? As soon as those thoughts appear we quickly push them to the back of our minds and focus on something else, some activity that feels safe… an activity that’s not going to get us visible.
👉Checking analytics, seeing how many new followers and subscribers you have.
👉Reading blog posts that promise the secrets to achieve our goals.
👉Taking yet another course.
👉Checking out the competition… man, they’re killin’ it.
👉Getting completely overwhelmed, shutting it all down, and turning on Netflix.
Those things you know you need to do? That’s for later. That’s for when you feel more ready.
The Most Common Ways Entrepreneurs Hold Themselves Back
I want to dive into some major ways I see my fellow entrepreneurs hold themselves back (and the ways I hold myself back, too). As you read through them, and where you recognize yourself in them, I want you to ask yourself…
If I could overcome this limiting belief, how would that change the game for me?
Then I want you to visualize your future-business and in turn, your future life… how is it different? What would you be able to do for yourself, your family, your community–even the world–that you can’t do now?
Ready? Let’s figure out you can get from where you are now to that vision-board version of your business.
#1 Imposter Syndrome
- You feel like everyone else knows more than you do
- You feel like if you put yourself out there in a bigger way, you’ll be exposed as the fraud that you are
- You attribute any success you have to luck–that somehow you’ve fooled people into believing you’re more capable, talented, and/or intelligent than you really are
Fun Fact About Imposter Syndrome: It’s most prevalent among high-achieving people.
How Imposter Syndrome Affects Your Visibility:
- You may feel uncomfortable with self-promotion
- You may feel anxiety about sharing your views or work
- Or you may struggle with imposter syndrome’s cousin, perfectionism
Here Are Some Ways To Cure Imposter Syndrome
#1 Take the focus off of yourself
Instead, think about the people you can help. You are capable of helping others even if you’re only one step ahead of them, so you don’t have to wait until you’re the leading expert in your industry to get out there and help people.
They need you to show up. They need to hear from you. What they don’t need is for you to be perfect, a leading expert, a guru, or a ninja.
(And by the way, you become an expert through practice and experience.)
#2 Recognize when your ego is playing tricks
It’s helpful to be aware of the stories you tell yourself because our ego means well and tries to protect us, but that doesn’t make the stories we tell ourselves true.
When you catch yourself thinking, “Who am I to put my voice out there? Somebody else is already doing it better!” that’s your ego being a trickster.
You are enough. Today. Right now. So see #1 and do something to get more visible with the people you can help.
#3 Remember that the most successful people you know are feeling the exact same way
It’s easy to think that everyone else has it all figured out, but they don’t.
When someone achieves success in one area, they move on to the next challenge. As soon as they conquer Imposter Syndrome in one area, a new one crops up.
“Who am I to do this thing? Somebody else is already doing it better!” starts all over again.
Conquering Imposter Syndrome is a process. It all starts with being aware when it’s holding you back–that’s probably your signal that it’s the very thing you need to get over in order to get visible.
- You feel like everyone else is so much further ahead than you there’s no way you’ll ever catch up
- You have a hard time articulating your own unique strengths and value
- You feel envious or inadequate when you see what other people are doing
How Comparisonitis Affects Your Visibility:
- You’re tempted to mimic what others are doing and wind up with a knock-off version of someone else’s brand
- You don’t attempt things because you won’t be great at them in the beginning
- You’re unclear about your own direction and value, so your brand message isn’t unique to you
- You feel intimidated to express yourself because somebody else has already said or done it better
Fun Fact About Comparisonitis: It’s more common today than at any other time in history thanks to social media
We rarely get to see the:
- Embarrassing moments
Here Are Some Ways To Cure Comparisonitis
#1 Give yourself a personal challenge
What could you accomplish if you really put your mind to it?
Imagine your future-self one year from now: you’ve dedicated yourself to learning or mastering a thing and you applied regular, consistent effort toward that achieving goal.
Where could you be? That’s the vision you want to hold in your mind, and when you want to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to where you were a month ago, six months ago, a year ago.
#2 Celebrate your micro wins
We don’t give ourselves credit. When one person signs up for our mailing list it’s like, “Ugh, only one person signed up for my mailing list, Julie has 50,000 people on hers!”
Celebrate that one person who raised their hand and said, “I like what you have to say and I want to hear more from you.”
That’s not a tiny thing, that’s a BIG HUGE THING, so celebrate the hell out of it.
Those micro wins are signals that you’re on the right track and tell you that you need to keep going, double down, amplify.
Big wins don’t just happen… they’re an accumulation of hundreds and thousands of micro-wins along the way.
#3 Practice gratitude
Be grateful for what you have now. For every person who trusted you enough to hire you or buy from you, for every person who followed you on Facebook or visited your website… be grateful for them. It’s too easy to look at our stats and forget that there are real people attached to those numbers.
The more grateful you are for the people who have raised their hands and said “yes,” the more people will be attracted to you and say “Yes! Me too!”
#4 Conduct this “IT’S OKAY TO GROW AS YOU GO” experiment
One thing we forget is that people don’t start out being super-mega successful. They start at step one. But for some reason, people insist on comparing their step one with someone else’s step 1000!
Gosh, just stop doing that! 😉
Here’s something you can do. Step inside the Wayback Machine over at www.archive.org and search for your business or brand heroes. Go back in time and see where they were in the beginning…
Here’s one of the internet’s leading thought leaders, Marie Forleo. This is how her website looks now — BEAUTIFUL!
But back in the early days when she was just getting started, it looked very different…
What she teaches her students about running a successful online business comes from the experience of building a successful online business. The things she advises people to do with their websites today are the things she was doing all wrong in the beginning.
Even Marie Forleo didn’t have it all figured out on day one.
It’s okay to grow as you go.
I don’t think less of Marie because she didn’t come out the gate with a perfectly polished internet empire. In fact, I respect her more for keeping her brand and domain name the same so we can see the evolution.
#3 Fear of Failure
Ooof, this is a biggie. Ready?
- You’re afraid of what other people will think
- You actively avoid disapproval, criticism, the “thumbs down vote”
- You avoid situations where you’ll be judged
- You fear looking stupid or making a fool of yourself
I’m just going to say it. Fear of failure is just another way to say you’re prideful. It’s great to be proud of yourself when you accomplish things, but it’s not very helpful when it comes to tackling something new.
It can stand in your way of doing something because you fear you’re not going to be universally praised for it and that’s only going to hold you back. (You already instinctively know that, right?)
Fun Fact About Criticism: The only things that aren’t criticised or judged are things that ARE. NOT. SEEN.
How Fear of Failure Affects Your Visibility:
- You’ll play it safe (which is actually not safe at all)
- You’ll say NO to the very things you should be saying YES to
- You’ll feel stuck or ashamed because you know what you need to do, you’re just not doing it
Here Are Some Ways To Cure Fear of Failure
#1 Get yourself a vision that makes you tingly all over
I mean really go for it and be specific. “I’d like to make more money” isn’t gonna cut it. Envision your future business and life transformed in a way that gets you psyched.
When I struggled in my business, the only goal I really had was to get work and pay my bills. I think a lot of us get stuck there from time to time and we forget to DREAM.
It’s when I really got clear about how I wanted my future-life to be that things started turning around for me, and I started applying relentless and consistent effort toward achieving those goals.
I wanted to make more money, yes, and to get out of the “feast or famine” lifestyle… but I also imagined things like:
- Retiring my husband so he can focus exclusively on making art
- Purchasing a seaside home and art gallery on the coast of Croatia
- Having the ability to take extended vacations and travel
- Feeling rewarded in my work because I’m doing the things I’m meant to be doing and helping great people
These are all things that are far more important to me than any one person’s opinion.
Notice the trick? Motivation. Get yourself some great motivation and fear just simply can’t stop you.You can't pay your bills with other people's opinions.Click To Tweet
#2 Accept that you’re just not going to be for everyone
And you shouldn’t try to be! Trying to appeal to everyone means you’ll say the same recycled things everyone else is saying and that’s not going to help you build a brand that gets noticed or get you visible with the right people.
But you’re for someone, and they need you to show up.
#3 Practice the art of being vulnerable
I can tell you that being vulnerable–putting yourself out there and being unafraid to reveal that you just don’t have it all figured out — is one of the most liberating things you can do.
Not only that, it’s effective marketing. People don’t respond to stiff, perfect, corporate robots… they respond to humans being humans. We’re all in this and it ain’t always easy or perfect.
When you have a chance to let your expertise shine? Do that. But don’t be afraid to share stories about areas you struggle with.
An expert isn’t someone who knows everything. An expert is willing to say, “You know, I’m not sure, I don’t have any experience in that area so I can’t speak to it. But I can look into it and give it some thought.”
Ironically, by being transparent and real and imperfect, people are more likely to trust you.Being vulnerable isn't a weakness, it takes tremendous courage. Click To Tweet
#4 Conduct these “EVERYONE WITH ANY AMOUNT OF VISIBILITY IS GOING TO GET CRITICIZED” experiments
The Amazon Experiment
Go to Amazon.com and pick any book, your favorite book, a classic or a bestseller… Look for the one- or two-star reviews. Here’s one:
Imagine if the author had been afraid of reviews like this and decided not to publish the book at all.
What a pity that would be, because this is the book…
The YouTube Experiment
Go to YouTube and search for your favorite inspirational speaker…
I guarantee that you’re going to see “thumbs down” votes. Imagine if they stopped giving speeches because they were afraid of those?
Brené Brown is a personal hero of mine and she’s had a big impact on the way I view the world. I’d be pissed if she let her haters stop her because I need her!
The people who need you are the ones who count, not the critics.The way to BRAND BRAVELY is to be aware of your limiting beliefs and to DO IT ANYWAY. Click To Tweet
What are you going to do to get more visible?
I hope this has helped you figure out where you’re holding yourself back, and if you recognized yourself in any of these areas I just want you to know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Please leave me a comment below if you have a story to share, I’d love to hear it!
If this post really hit home for you, you might check out my workbook, The Client Attraction Mindset. It’s filled with exercises you can do to get clear about the brand you want to build and how to feel more confident about getting visible with the right people so you can build that vision-board version of your business.
Go out there and BRAND BRAVELY!
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.