When I first started out with my business, my website was blander than a bowl of quinoa.
I’d left the corporate world but hadn’t shaken off the metaphorical shoulder pads.
It was all muted colours, stuffy language and stock photos of unrealistically attractive people shaking hand in glass meeting rooms.
I’m wincing now to even think about it.
(The website and the shaking of hands. Will we ever do that again?)
But at the time it felt professional.
No-one would hate it, I reasoned.
But of course, no-one desperately loved it either.
You can’t love anything that bland (don’t tell me you love quinoa, you weirdo).
Safe isn’t sexy. Middle-of-the-road isn’t irresistible.
But getting our personal or business brand ‘out there’ in all its glory can feel terrifying. It’s no wonder we play it so safe. We worry about so many things like:
- ‘What will ‘they’ think’ of me? My old boss/friend Karen/partner might not like it.’
- ‘I’ll look like a show off and everyone will hate me.’
- ‘I’ll seem unprofessional if show my personality. No-one wants to see that.’
- ‘I’ve got nothing new to say – it’s all been said before, by people much smarter than me.’
- ‘What do I even want to say? Argh!’
Round and round these thoughts go in our heads so we become paralysed.
We stay invisible and silently seethe when we see our not-half-as-good-as-us colleagues or competitors winning the promotions, the clients and the glory. Grrr.
Now I’m not the kind of person that’s going to tell you ‘The world needs that special gift only you offer!’ because that kind of woo-woo language isn’t on brand for me (my brand of today or my quinoa brand of yesteryear).
But I will tell you these things:
1. Life’s too damn short not to get out there and show the world what you have to offer.
As someone clever said -disappointment is fleeting, regret lasts a lifetime.
2. People are too wrapped up in their own stuff to worry too much about you.
(Really, if everyone we knew read every LinkedIn post we wrote I’d be out of a job.)
3. Thinking about it is way scarier than actually doing it.
I know from experience. Getting ‘out there’ can actually be a lot of fun.
4. People respond to personality – they want to know exactly who they’re dealing with, not interact with a faceless entity. Even in the corporate world, personality sells.
5. Just like in life, not everyone will like you.
That’s ok. In fact, you don’t want everyone to like you – it means you’re saying or doing something interesting.
Remember: you can’t help people if they don’t know who you are.
So try some baby steps to get your personal or business brand out there. Can you pep up your LinkedIn profile with more personality? I bet it’s a little quinoa right now….