Episode 5: Big Pants, Being You And The Power Of Community: How To Put Yourself Out There
IN THIS EPISODE I COVER:
- Why we need to be visible online
- How everybody has to start somewhere
- Getting rid of fear
- Why being you is the most important thing
- Embracing community
- Putting big girl pants on and being brave!
LINKS AND REFERENCES I TALK ABOUT
The Happy Creative podcast episode 2: Uncover your business story
Mothers Meetings – just the best experience for creative mums.
Jenny Scott on Instagram
Junie-Poonie on Instagram (check out her beautiful stationery).
READ THE EPISODE HERE:
Does the idea of putting yourself OUT THERE, whether that’s on Instagram or in real life freak you out more than if Frankenstein was crossed with Freddie Kruger? I get it. I’ve been there and so has almost every creative business owner I’ve ever met! Period. It’s like looking over a cliff edge and diving into a void, right? A big, unchartered star spangled universe.
But there’s a couple of big reasons why we need to work through this, starting today, right now and get you out there!
Firstly, if you have a big creative dream and you want to work for yourself, whether that’s because you want to work at home all day in your pyjamas, or make the school run every day, or travel the world or cos you just want to be free then you’ve got to be visible to people and your have to put yourself out there both online and irl.
Secondly, once you start putting yourself out there this will probably happen: You’ll love it and want to give yourself ultimate high-5s. You’re going to feel epic. You’re going to realise that you are infinitely more capable than you ever thought you were. And that’s powerful because it means you can reach higher and higher and dream bigger and bigger. So, in the last episode I talked about bridging the gap between where you are now and where you wanna be and this fear of putting yourself out there is a big part of that gap.
I know it’s a big deal to you.
So, if you’re thinking how this is relevant to you, I want to share some things that people have said to me.”:
“I feel like I can only be successful if I show up on Stories or Facebook Lives.”
“I really want to start a freelance writing business but the pressure I feel when I think about putting myself out there makes me implode.”
“I don’t think I have anything to say.”
“I’m never going to be as funny, or brave, or on-point as this total amazeballs person I follow.”
Does this resonate with you? I’m sure you get the picture. But the reality is that everybody has to start somewhere and very few people feel comfortable when they are just starting out.
So today I’m covering the new rules around putting yourself out there online and irl because if you’re listening to this podcast or reading it on my website, then I know you’re ready to forge a life less ordinary. That you’re on the verge of achieving but you need some help in getting there. You need someone to hold your hand.
So I’m going to be Sonny and you can be my Cher. I got you babe! Let’s get started….
#1 Firstly, you’ve got to give yourself permission to be released from fear.
We grow up spending our lives asking for permission. From our parents, our teachers and then our employers. So it makes sense that we continue to be wired to expect permission. But in YOUR life you are the boss so you don’t need to ask anybody but yourself!
So maybe your fear is that people will think you are stupid, or irrelevant or not their kind of person. Or maybe you are scared of the unknown, of unchartered territory or you are scared you won’t be able to pay your bills. Let’s just take a second to acknowledge that fear…
just take a second to say out loud what you’re afraid of.
Now we’ve acknowledged it just give yourself permission to release that fear. Because the only person you have to ask is you. I’m going to ask that you say it out loud to yourself.
“I release the fear of……”
Ok, well done! Now we can move on……
#2 The most important thing: Be more you
So I went to my first Mothers Meetings this week, choosing to sit in a room with 100 other mums was definitely a big deal but I knew it would be amazing and inspirational. When I heard Jenny Scott say to the audience of creative mums something “just be you” it really resonated because I say that all the time.
We are ALL unique, we are ALL made up of all the little quirks that make us us, the mistakes we’ve made along the way, the people we’ve loved and the stories we’ve immersed ourselves in.
So why, when it comes to “putting ourselves out there” do we clam up?
What I always say to my clients is just to think about who you really are. Don’t try and be a professional version of you, or a “business” version of you, or a version of you that you think people are looking for (because they’re not). Just be you!
So how this might translate to your business is to be really clear on who you are, who you are here to serve, your why and your values.
Knowing your story means it’s easy to be yourself and all it takes is a bit of practice. I talked about uncovering your story in episode 2, so check it out if you haven’t already! A few ways that you can be you online is to practice writing like you’re talking to a friend, not a client. Write like you write in WhatsApp or an email to them. Talk about whatever it is that you are an expert at or something that you love to do, just talk or write in a natural way.
I love to read people’s different styles of conversation on social media and think you can learn so much so I’d suggest immerse yourself for a few hours in thinking about how you want to make people feel (inspired, empowered, confident etc) and then develop a few content streams (or topics) that you feel comfortable talking about and that reflect you as a person.
The end goal is for people to get to know you! It’s all about building the like, know and trust factor so help them get to know you in any way you can.
For me, how that looks like is to talk about creative life and also a lot about travel and adventure because that’s a big part of who I am and it’s my big WHY. I work for myself so I can travel as much as I want to. And I want to make women have a positive mindset so everything I write is designed to achieve this. Be funny, be zany, be inspiring. Don’t be afraid to talk about the mistakes, the none-perfects part too and what you learned from them.
If you can, think about how your friends would describe you and then look at how you can inject that into your business, whether you’re telling the story online or in real life with your clients.
#3 Embrace the power of people and make a community
I went to my first networking event YEARS ago in York. It was a complete disaster. I’m not going to mention the name of it but I have to say there weren’t many like-minded people. I was a newbie blogger who’d moved up from London and wanting to connect after moving back to my hometown. Everyone felt a bit intimidating, they all wore suits and brandished business cards. I’m sure they were all nice people but they just didn’t feel like my kind of people. I was horrified!
But this time around I knew I needed to make some real life connections after living abroad for a few years and I had always wanted to go to a Mothers Meeting. From the second I walked in the door I knew this was a happy place filled with like-minded women (over 100 of them). And we started with a meditation, and a power pose and the panelists admitted how nervous they were and then we just all had a complete laugh. I felt so lifted up by finding people on my wave length and I can’t wait to get to know them better.
So I guess what I’m saying is lookout for a way of connecting that feels right for you, listen to the tone of their message, check out their content. If the idea of irl meet ups totally freaks you out too much, that’s cool but you do need a bit of a community to support you in making it happen. Maybe you have a small network of friends doing the same thing and you can use each other as support, or maybe you want to be part of a small membership group or an online workshop or course.
By making some new business besties you are harnessing the power of people, making new-friends and opening your heart and life up! Because, working on your own or at home can be lonely and it can be hard to stay motivated on the crap days. I can promise you that the people going through the same as you are going to be much-needed friends when you’re having a bad day or launching something new. And you can use your super-powers to serve them too, to help other people out with the things they struggle with.
So, imagine what your ideal community looks like? What kind of people are they? Where are you going to hang out and what are their beliefs? Once you know all this finding a tribe that’s going to work for you will be easier than you think.
#4 Show up for your business in a way that feels right for you
There is NO cheat sheet for how to run a business! Of course there are the must-have’s like being able to take a big picture view, make sound financial decisions and attract clients but other than that there are no rules.
One thing I hear all the time is “I’ve got to go Live or talk to camera to grow my business.” I just want to reassure you that this is not true! What I do know is that you have to be visible but you can do that in way that’s right for you and your business.
Some people share everything across lots of channels and that’s perfectly OK but don’t put this pressure on yourself. If you think about it, there are some people who’s lives we feel like we know intimately, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you would buy from them. Think about the people you buy from, look at how and what they share and think about what channels you like to hang out on whether that’s You Tube or on blogs.
So for me, I like to get my message out there through this podcast because for me it’s a powerful way to connect. I love podcasts and I know that having something short(fish) to listen to in their own time is going to help busy creatives have the confidence they need to grow their businesses. I don’t feel the need (yet) to talk to Instagram stories every day (although that might change) or to use too many social media platforms. I’m feeling my way through this and I hope you can too.
#5 Set little goals and rewards
As long as you’re making progress then I’m happy! Because this process is going to be different for everybody. If you’ve never done anything like this before then it can be really scary so my advice is to start small and work up.
Maybe that looks like setting up a social media account, or maybe it’s about attending a small event, or just meeting up with someone who does something similar and swapping stories over a cuppa. Just taking the first few steps will feel so good and breathe energy and the human factor into your idea.
Whatever you choose to do, setting small goals will help you towards achieving those things. So I’m going to challenge you to go write a few little goals with deadlines in your planner or journal. Maybe you’re going to be brave enough to reach out to someone in a similar area who you admire, or maybe you’re going to talk to the camera for the first time, or start to write more personality-driven Insta posts or you really want to go on a workshop run by someone you think is great.
And although I know the biggest reward you’ll get is that lovely warm feeling of friendship, it’s also useful to set little rewards along the way too, whatever floats your boat!
Please, I’d love for you to share any of the goals you set yourself over on #thehappycreative so I can follow your journey!
#6 Being brave (AKA putting your big girl pants on)
At the Mothers Meetings yesterday I felt the most incredible energy from all the creative women I met, most of whom were new mums wanting to pursue a creative business idea or blog and ALL of whom totally got it when panelist and designer @Junie Poonie called it “putting your big girl pants on.”
To grow as humans, as creatives and as business owners we have to take those steps. We owe it to our dreams to work through our fears and doubts. We have to move forward because what does the alternative look like? And going back to what I said at the start, when you start to connect with people you are going to get the best, most juiciest feeling. Like when you meet a friend for life, or you’ve spent time laughing with your girlfriends, this is going to feel so good!
Because we put those fears to one side and we start taking baby steps (or big girl steps if you prefer) then we are making PROGRESS and it’s most definitely a case of progress over perfection.
So now I’d really encourage you to start to work towards those little goals you put on. To make some meaningful and intentional connections with people who are going to make you feel good, to put your big girl pants on and just get on with it for the sake of you, your business or idea and, well your LIFE!