I am excited to share this guest post with you by Deborah Fingerlow of Riding the Dime. This is a different kind of post on Women Winning Online and one that I love! It has helped me personally re-examine how I want to help you, my reader. Please let both Deborah and I know what you think of this post in the comments below. And take a moment to check out Deborah’s other great posts on her blog!
“No one is gifted in everything.” I’ll never forget the conversation with a high school counselor I had years ago. And she was right. Much like parenting, marketing your own business and curating your success is a matter of choosing battles and focusing on your gifts. No one does everything well. The key is focusing on your strengths and picking strategies that complement you. Bottom line? To thine own self be true.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to “do all the things.” While it’s true we need a strategy, no where does it say we need to do everything at the same time. There is an order to a strategic plan.
There is chaos in a vacuum.
Having a plan doesn’t mean that your business is set in stone. It does mean that you’ve discovered the all-important why and have a direction in mind. Finding Your Tribe Online can lend you a hand finding your people, but entrepreneur Jennifer Snyder knows the why comes first. Without direction, we tend to gravitate toward every shiny object, without taking the time to research what is a good fit for us personally. We fill the empty space with whatever we stumble across surfing for answers to make this easier.
Stop. Breathe. Think.
When was the last time more stuff made you happy? Is it easier to clean your house if you bring every cleaning agent and tool to the forefront, filling your living space? It just gets in the way, so we pull out what we need for the job at hand. Your blog or business is your living space. Don’t muck it up with everything online simply because it’s free. Be picky, choose wisely and leave yourself room to maneuver.
Be the Genuine Article
I’ve been a professional writer for years. I’m a little old school in that when I started writing, technology dictated that I spin my stories for local clients, lugging a huge, black leather portfolio along to show my “clips.” Hard to believe, right?
So, when I entered the fray and began blogging and writing for clients across the globe, I wanted to be “hip” or “cool” or whatever everyone is these days. I kind of wanted to have that edgy-bad-girl feel. It was embarrassingly horrible. Thank goodness I was able to find how to delete FaceBook posts immediately. As soon as I saw the words in front of me, cursor blinking maddeningly, I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m not pink or edgy, and I text in full sentences.
Who on earth did I think I was kidding?
I am straightforward and direct, always. I will ask anyone anything, and my greatest skill lies in making connections and listening to what people have to say. I love that moment of engagement, that spark of commonality. That is who I am. Maybe a little nerdy, not enough to be trendy, but certainly enough to be disarming and trustworthy. We can converse because I am genuinely interested. And that’s when you get the best stories.
How can I be genuine when the market is flooded?
It isn’t. I used to think the same thing until I heard Sean McCabe speak. He reminded me that it just seems like everyone is in the same business, given where we hang out. Most of the world isn’t actually doing what we’re doing. It’s hard sometimes to keep that perspective. If we can back up for a “forest-for-the-trees” moment, you’ll see that maintaining your authentic voice is what separates you from everyone else.
My mother used to tell me that “not everyone is going to like you.” She was right about that. (Not to mention countless other things.) And it’s perfectly okay, and a far better choice than trying to mold yourself into something you are not. That’s one of the benefits of owning your own business, right? You get to be you.
But, what if I do it wrong?
We all make mistakes. We all doubt ourselves from time to time. We all wish for the occasional do-over. Keep in mind that people respect vulnerability and mistakes, provided we learn from it. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that one of Jennifer Snyder’s most read, most commented posts was when she was feeling a little overwhelmed by trying to perfectly balance work and family life. People responded en masse not because she had all the answers, but because she was honest enough to admit that she didn’t. Better yet, she shared her action plan and issued a call to action for all of us. That is genuine, authentic and it draws us in because we can relate.
Staying in Your Lane
It might sound bad when you first hear that. Stay in my lane? Shouldn’t I try new and different strategies? Shouldn’t I stretch myself, go beyond my comfort zone?
Staying in your lane is simply a reminder to be true to yourself. We each know our own hearts best. We each know that we want to grow and change and flourish. Who doesn’t? But we need to remember that success is individual to each of us. Having “all the things” won’t make us successful, and certainly trying to do “all the things” doesn’t. Finding your sweet spot may take a little time. I’m living proof that it’s trial and error.
But my sweet spot is right here, talking with you, cup of Irish Breakfast tea in hand. I am interested in your story, how you got here and where you want to go next.
The choice is yours. Keep that vision of who you are in mind as you decide what strategies will work best for you. At the start, you need to know these key things:
Why am I doing this?
Who am I, and who are they (my audience)?
Where am I going?
What three things will allow me to share my message best?
My mantra: I’m better than good enough.
And so are you. Somehow you made the decision to begin. Give yourself the same credit and respect you so easily give others. You are better than good enough.
To thine own self be true. That’s something we can all respect. So, what’s your story?
Deborah Fingerlow is a writer, traveler and explorer seeking adventures both large and small. Business to business communications and the development of authentic connections are her superpowers. You can find her at the local farmer’s market, therapy dogs in tow, camera in hand. Catch up with her on her blog at www.ridingthedime.com and check our her website at www.deborahfingerlow.com.
If you’d like to connect better with the folks around you, sign up for her free, 5-day email course, Stop. Smile. Connect. http://ridingthedime.com/lets-talk/.
“Life is a grand adventure; don’t be afraid of taking a wrong turn. Embrace it, and own your decision.”