Doing Your Own Thing

I spoke to someone yesterday about their business model.  They were really excited to be starting their own business, but there was something in the way this young lady was talking about “what” she was going to do that just didn’t ring true.  She would talk about her ambitions and her aspirations with infectious excitement, but when it came to explaining exactly how she was going to do that, she seemed really flat.

The reason was pretty simple and I didn’t even need to ask her – she’d basically copied her entire “go to market” plan from every other fempreneur out there today.  She was going to be “balls to the wall” and show everyone just how “special” she was – the phrase she used at one point was, “I’m going to show everyone how bright my light can shine.”

When she trotted out that line, I openly laughed.  I’ve known this lady for about six years and that is, without question almost the antithesis of who she is as a person.  She’s reserved, considerate and unquestionably intelligent – I’d hazard a guess and say she’s MENSA level smart.  She has a gift for analyzing problems very quickly and cutting right to the heart of a problem.

Most of all, she does it in a subtle, friendly and quietly confident way that gives her a certain gravitas when you deal with her for any length of time.  She’s formidable without being overbearing and gruff.

But this business personae that she was telling me she was going to adopt was nothing like her and listening to her talk about it, I knew that she knew it too.

I did what I do… I called her on it.

For a few minutes, there was silence on the other end of the Skype call.  I’m going to be honest, I didn’t hold back, I kicked her straight up in her pretend ladyballs and by the awkward silence, I knew my shot had hit the mark.  Any man reading this will know that feeling you get when you get pegged square in the gonads, I reckon that’s what she was going through in a mentally and emotionally.

The next words she spoke were a bit softer than even her normal soft-spoken tone, “But for this to work, I need people to pay attention to me and everyone is telling me that I need to be more outspoken.”

We had a lengthy conversation at this point that I won’t go into the detail of, but the crux of my comments were, “How many people that you spoke to have had the level of success you want to have using that strategy or for that matter any strategy?”

You don’t need me to tell you the answer to that one because you probably know it already – I heard this referred to this past week as “unqualified noise”.  That sums it up perfectly.

My advice to her was, “Do your own thing.  You need to be you!  Just be slightly ‘more’ you than perhaps you normally would be.  If you try to be someone you aren’t, you’ll fail.”

Why am I so sure this advice will work?  Because I took it myself about three or four years ago when it came to my own businesses.  I looked at what I was doing, realized that I was emulating a bunch of things that weren’t really true to who I was.  I decided that I would just focus on being myself and let the chips fall where they may – at least if I was going to fail, I would fail being true to myself.

It’s also deeper than that – with Casual Marketer there were a bunch of people who gave me unsolicited advice on what I should be doing.  The overwhelming majority of those people haven’t really had much success with anything, so in essence what they were telling me to do was what other people had told them that works.

That’s exactly what was going on with this lady!  Several people had told her that she needed to change who she was because the way to be successful was to be someone she wasn’t.  They were just spouting off rubbish that they’d heard and read elsewhere.

That’s just dumb.

Having said all that, there are those naturally gregarious people whose personality is just exploding out of their body all the time.  There are people who are by default really outspoken and loud so that’s them just amplifying who they are already.  Being this way is easy for them because that’s how they are and changing would diminish them.

My simple advice for anyone starting their own business is to just do your own thing.  I’m sure there will be things that you do in your business that won’t work and you should have probably taken some advice, but you’ll never die not knowing.  When you do your own thing and be yourself, you’re actually giving yourself the best chance of success because you’re able to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to guess what someone else would do and whether you’re doing the right thing.

You be you, that’s all you can be.

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