What kind of boxes are you stuck in?
Back when I started my business, I had a lot of people giving me advice. Some of it was great, most of it came from a good place, some of it wasn’t so great…
I remember this one time where a kind older lady took me out for coffee and provided me with a list of the kinds of clothing I should and shouldn’t be wearing as a small business owner. Her intentions were to try and help me become perceived as a more professional business owner, especially since I was so young at the time (and portrayed a very young person with the clothing that I chose to wear) and therefore people “wouldn’t want to work with me”.
The problem was, that experience put me in a box for the next four years.
For the longest time I tried to only fit into exactly what I thought I was supposed to be. I squashed the sides of me that attract the clients I love to work with and that love to work with me. The clients I did attract were the ones that wanted the fake Stephanie, which put me in a cycle of feeling like I had to keep being that fake Stephanie to pay the bills. I never shared my love for the violin, or unique tea blends. I put my events in boxes and avoided doing unusual events because it “wasn’t normal.” I never shared my paintings, or included any sort of personal quirks in my brand.
It was miserable!
For far too long I suppressed the quirky sides of me that actually attracted the kinds of people who I wanted to work with. Eventually, I’d gone through so much growth that I shook that influence off and realized I could do whatever I wanted: it was and still is my brand!
The truth is, no one really cares about “better” anymore. There are a ton of great products on the market and services in the world, they can get whatever they want and they want someone who is like them. When I realized this (Thank you, Mike Michalowicz!), I realized that I could show up wearing yoga pants and a casual shirt. I didn’t have to wear heels every day of my life, and I could do crazy things like color my hair to match my brand colors.
And it worked!
I discovered that as I publicly embraced who I am, I attracted the kind of people I love working with. It turned my world upside down to the point that I love my brand and clients now.
Here’s what I have to say to you about this…
If you are in a similar situation, where you feel miserable because you can’t be yourself and you feel boxed in by industry standards, this is your wakeup call! You don’t have to be the person you don’t want to be.
You can build whatever kind of business you want.
Take a step toward that today. Even if it’s small – I started small with things like dangly earrings. I even used clip-on extensions of hair color before I dyed my hair. But take some sort of step to embrace who you are in your business today! You are the business owner, and no one is truly stopping you from designing the brand you love that will make the difference in your life.
You’d be surprised how comfortable people will be with your authentic self if you build it into your brand.