Genuine. Real. Legit.
Nobody like a fake. Living an authentic life has become a popular topic with bloggers, religious communities and self-helpers. Thanks in no small way to the fantastic research and writing of Brene Brown, many of us have caught the bug and are attempting the radical experiment of being genuine…real…legit.
And it’s not easy.
The false self is so comfy, warm and seductive. It promises to give others what they want, which will then (we hope) give us what we want; admiration, respect, acceptance. Plus, the alternative is so scary. Who wants to risk conflict, judgment or misunderstanding by being real?
But this I know…everything good that has ever happened to me was when I rejected the pull to shrink back and fudge the truth about who I really am and when I instead, pressed into authenticity.
So…what does this have to do with your business?
Being successful in business is about bringing in more money than you spend, and in the online arena the way you handle your story will determine how money moves in or out of your wallet. This is especially true if you are a start-up or small business owner, where you ARE your business and your story is your most important marketing collateral.
You get to choose how you will construct and tell your story, so you need to know that:
People are fed up. Fed up with spammy, junk filled websites where you have to pick through the ad-laden space to find any genuine content. Aaaaand, people are overwhelmed with their packed inboxes, full of email marketing campaigns that scream for their attention.
At some point, people stop listening.
In the last few years, newsletter open rates have plummeted, which I think is a big signal that people are shutting down. There is so much information coming their way, their senses almost cant handle it anymore. But if you have a product or service that will help them…really help them…then you have to figure out how to stand out and be heard.
Here’s an idea. What would happen if you didn’t position yourself to be like one of those? What if you were careful not to construct a facade that masquerades as your story. Here’s an idea. Don’t be plastic. Don’t be like everyone else. Instead, reveal something of yourself that connects you to other humans. Share some ideas that might be outside of the norm, laugh at yourself, show some flaws and admit when you’ve made a mistake.
Being Fake Will Effect Your Bottom Line
Clinging to the safety net of fake-itude will cost you more than it gives, eventually affecting your bottom line as you lose. Here are three reasons that you can’t afford to be fake:
Reputation & Respect
Your business and personal brand rely on your reputation, and if you use the web in any way to spread your story, you better be prepared to remove the mask. While people place a high value on story, there is no mercy for those who are revealed as phonies. Chronic fake-ery destroys trust and will eventually cost you the respect of your employees, colleagues and customers.
Your Valuable Time
Being fake is exhausting and takes a lot more time than just being yourself. Certainly it might be easier at first to put up a front and copy someone else’s thoughts and ideas, but eventually it creates a tangled web that has to be maintained and defended. People who aren’t very authentic are often also very afraid of how they are perceived, so they spend a great deal of time doing damage control and spinning their PR when there is a problem. If you set yourself up as bulletproof or as an unteachable expert, then you have a lot of explaining to do when the cracks start to show.
Your Unique Value Proposition
Your customers have a choice. There are so many options available, you have to give people a reason to choose you. Being real is the most fundamental way to differentiate yourself. Authenticity fosters connection precisely because it is so rare and winsome. When you construct a false persona, you have edged out the very unique things you bring to the world.
Read more about why we focus on authentic story.
As the web becomes more noisy and everyone is sharing the same advice and tricks, I believe that it will be the real, genuine and legit entrepreneurs of the world who will rise to the top. There is a freshness and lightness that comes with an authentic encounter that is good for everyone.
Stand up as the real you and stand out.