Are you being true to yourself in your business?
When I first heard the quote from Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, I thought it was one of the most brilliant things anyone had ever said.
Maybe I was just ready to hear it.
I was fresh out of college, working in my first job as a merchandise buyer and ready to take the world of retail by storm.
Of course, growing up I know people had echoed that same sentiment to me in many forms. “Be yourself honey, don’t try to be like someone else.” my favorite aunt used to say to me. “People will like you for who you are. And if they don’t, they’re not your true friends.” said Fergie (a friend of the family, who was “Fergie”, way before the singer “Fergie” or Fergie the Duchess of York became famous.)
But for some reason it never quite rang true until I heard the quote from OscarWilde.
I think it was the “everyone else is already taken” that really clicked with me.
I remember thinking to myself “yah they are already taken”. And it was in that moment that I felt like someone had given me permission to be myself.
So if everybody else was already taken, I may as well be me and enjoy it!
It made sense.
I started thinking about this the other day, when I was thinking that maybe I should switch from pronouncing the word niche (rhymes with switch) to niche (rhymes with quiche).
You see I’m interviewed a lot on the radio about the topic of niche markets. And over the past couple years, I’ve noticed more and more, the people who interview me are pronouncing the word “niche” like “quiche”.
So on interviews it sometimes feels like a game of “niche-niche tennis”. The interviewer says niche (rhymes with quiche) and I reply with niche (rhymes with switch). 🙂 And I can just imagine our audience listening in and laughing at the niche – niche banter.
A few years ago no one, except my friend Robin Cowie, former president of Worldwide Brands and producer of the Blair Witch Project pronounced niche like quiche. But with Rob it sounded good, because he grew up in South Africa and has one of those totally awesome accents that makes plain old English words sound like something special.
However, over the past few years, I’ve noticed that everyone seems to be now pronouncing niche like quiche. Maybe it sounds more sophisticated.
So a few weeks ago, I decided in the interest of radio interview compatibility, I’d better start pronouncing niche like quiche and not niche like switch.
The first few interviews, it went OK. I had to stop myself from pronouncing niche like switch a couple times.
But it was fine… until this afternoon. When I gave a 90 minute energy filled teleseminar called “15 Creative Ways to Make Money on eBay”.
I started out saying niche = quiche, but then I got so wrapped up in showing people how they can think our of the box when it comes to making money on eBay, that niche just automatically popped out like switch.
“Great “I thought, “now I’m having a game of niche-niche tennis with myself.” LOL!
90 minutes later I wrapped up the teleseminar totally psyched because I knew I’d expanded people’s vision of how they can use eBay to make some money.
And you know what?
They didn’t care if I said niche = quiche, niche = switch or niche = nicho (the Spanish pronounciation). What people cared about was that I gave them 15 great ideas about what to sell on eBay and how to sell on eBay.
And it was at that point I thought of Oscar Wilde’s quote. “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Right then and there I decided I was going to pronounce niche = switch like I always have. I was not going to rework the pronunciation.
Niche = switch is who I am. My favorite food is pizza. I don’t like “nouveau Northwest Cuisine”. But I do like to shop at Nordstrom. No rhyme or reason. It’s just who I am.
How about you?
Are you being true to yourself in your business? Or are you trying to be someone you’re not?
Are you trying to copy someone else’s style because you think they have “it” and you don’t? Or do you think there’s only one persona you can adopt to “make it” online.
There’s a big difference between observing a successful person’s behavior and modeling what they do within the context of your own personality. Versus completely squashing your true essence in the name of “success”.
So are you building an online business that reflects your authentic personality? I hope so. Because it affects the kind of customers you attract. And if you attract the wrong customers your sales will suffer.
Something to percolate on. And if you ever feel yourself tempted to be someone else in your business other than who you really are… remember – everyone else is already taken.
“Am I being true to myself?” That is so powerful, one of those questions I should ask myself, in business, and almost any endeavor. Thanks for the reminder, especially since everyone else is taken.
Great! The only competition or standard to use for measuring is with oneself.
Thanks for the clear and timely reminder!
Somehow I thought your post would have me smiling and that dilemma you have with the niche=niche banter certainly did. But your point is very valid. One can pretend to be like someone else for only so long and people have an amazing way of seeing through any attempt at pretense.
While there’s nothing wrong in copying some of the tactics or strategies that successful marketers have used, we have to incorporate those into our personality, not the other way around. Great reminders. Thank you.
Thanks Lisa for this great post! I sometimes think that if I am more like that person I’ll be successful but I have to stop myself and say “That’s not me” I’m finding out in my online business that being me is a good thing because people really do like me and if they don’t like me than they are not the kind of people I want to surround myself with anyways.
Yes, there is a difference between modeling successful people’s actions – who are doing what you want to be doing versus remaking yourself into a version of them.
Given your goals for your business model, you’ll want to look for people/sites who are successfully doing what you want to do. So you might see that they blog, contribute articles to certain niche publications, have a discussion forum on their site etc.
This will give you some starting points to ask the question “Should I incorporate these too?”
But you need to make sure that your decisions are right for your business model, not just because you see them doing this. Because from the outside looking in, you never really know why they are doing a particular thing.
And you also may like the way they communicate with their market. Maybe they have a lot of spirit or zest or an tough love or go get ’em approach. Then say to yourself – how do *I* want to communicate with my customers. Let’s say your message is “go get ’em, you can do it”. THEN you can look at other business owners and learn from how they communicate this message BUT you put it through the Tina filter so it becomes you.
But let’s say that you don’t like the “go get ’em you can do it” message, you have more of an encouraging empathetic message – then forcing yourself to talk in the “Go get ’em” talk will not feel right to you, nor will you be successful at it.
So while you can and should learn from others you admire or aspire to achieve something similar to – always preserve what’s unique about you.
And about hanging out with the people who don’t value or appreciate you for who you are? In business and in life – that’s a no win situation. Because there are people out there who will resonate with you and visa versa. And those are the best connections in the world!
That’s a great point…be yourself. However, there are those who haven’t discovered who they are online as of yet. Unfortunately, I’m one of them.
I’m still working at finding myself & getting focused. I know with your help, I’ll get there one day.
It is definitely a process. And I’m glad you brought this up, because most people coming online don’t know who they really are and what they want to do. In fact, I often say “If you want to bring up all your confusion and “stuff”, just start a business!” LOL!
But it’s true – creating an independent stream of income makes you ask yourself questions that you wouldn’t normally ask of yourself in a day-to-day job.
When I came online, I had an idea of what I wanted to do/who I was. But it was based on the information about myself that I had at the time.
And what’s happened over the past 8 years is that I have changed and grown as a person, and my business has grown too. Sometimes the business has grown ahead of me and I have had to grow to catch up!
But, when I got started, I was very nervous about being myself. In fact, I was convinced that I needed to “be” a certain way in order to be successful. Part of that came from being in corporate America where image is important. So for example, in my previous jobs, I would not show my silly side as much – I would be very professional.
Having the courage to take bold action was another big change for me.
But the only way you will find out who you are online is to focus on immersing yourself into one Internet income discipline and see if it fits for you.
Let’s take blogging for example. You might see successful bloggers and think – “Wow, there’s a way to make money! I’ll do that.” But you don’t like to write or do video blogs.
In this situation, blogging would not be the right business model for you. I was talking to a very successful Internet marketing friend of mine and had noticed they’d removed their blog from the top level domain. I asked “Was that a strategic move?” They said “I switched it because I don’t like to write/blog and so it wasn’t the right fit for my business model.” They drive traffic in completely different ways.
George in your case, you’ve tried a few different types of marketing and have realized that physical product sales is the right fit for you.
Now, we need to take that one step further and dig into what niche/product line is something that you can sink your teeth into (like we’ve been talking about on the Business Growth Group coaching calls.)
And of course, the first place to start is with your interests and hobbies and experience. There may not be a market there, but you need to rule that out first, before looking elsewhere.
One thing is for sure – as long as you know that you don’t have to be a carbon copy of someone else to be successful, you’ll start to recognize the unique things that you bring to your business.
As usual, you have nailed it! I have had some issues with this myself and I guess I am experiencing divine guidance because everywhere I turn recently I find some variation of this central theme. As for you, your personality comes across as caring, helpful and unpretentious, but also very savvy. Just wanted you to know that you have been a pleasant voice of reason in my life.
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks,