Keeping it Real: Being Authentic in Business

Checkpoint: 

Determine the Heart of Your Business 

Level:  

years of experience

Samantha-Johnston
POST BY

Samantha Johnston

I’m Samantha, the founder of Neapolitan Creative where I’m a bootstrappin’, brand developer for female entrepreneurs. One of my favorite things to do is helping people be comfortable with who they are and connect the puzzle pieces to build a successful and fulfilling brand.

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From a young age we’re encouraged to be unique, think for ourselves and to not follow others. Growing up we heard cliche metaphors like “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” So why should it be any different now that we’re adults running our own business?

 

Starting a new business can be scary, exciting and at times confusing. It’s easy to look to others for guidance and direction and even easier to compare what we’re doing to what others are doing and eventually falling into the trap of information overload and copycatting. The truth is your clients aren’t looking for the same thing that’s already out there. They’re looking for different and unique. So be YOU, think different and stand out from everyone else.

Here are some of my favorite tips to help you become the most authentic version of you in your business.

Keep it Simple

You’ve fallen victim to the information overload. From newsletter freebies to webinars and ebooks. You wanted to gather and learn from all of the information that is out there. After all learning is good for us, right? Well, yes but only when you’re doing it for the right reasons. When you start to hoard information because you might need it later or it could be a good reference guide, it starts to be at the detriment of you & your business. All it does is create clutter and that clutter becomes the fog that keeps you from seeing where you need to go. You become a sponge just absorbing everything or, worse, a mirror that starts reflecting other people. After a while you’re emulating what everyone else is doing and you’ve lost sight of what makes you, YOU. So take a minute and unsubscribe from the newsletters, delete the unread ebooks and turn off the webinars. Say no to the information overload. Stop signing up for every freebie, webinar, newsletter that remotely ties into what you’re doing. Be specific about the people you follow, connect with and learn from. Choose only those that align with your core values as a business owner. The ones that truly inspire you, motivate you, challenge you and push you forward as the best version of you.

Keep it Fun

You started your businesses because it was fun, right? You didn’t do it because you wanted to spend countless hours building someone else’s dream. You wanted to build your dream and to have fun doing it. I challenge you to do just that. Break out of your comfort zone and build your confidence. That wit, charm or adventurous spirit that hides when you’re among strangers, let that out. Don’t dull your light in fear of what people will think. Have fun and be yourself. When you’re having fun, I guarantee those around you are having fun too. Those that aren’t, well they’re not your target market. Let them go find someone who is dull, monotonous and boring. To truly stand out, you need to be you and have fun. That’s when your light shines the brightest. It’s when you will be happy, fulfilled and building that dream you saw before you took the leap.

 

Your light shines brightest when you’re having fun. Click To Tweet

 

Keep it Honest

You have those special stories, experiences that help others understand you, learn from you and connect with you. Use them. Tell your stories and how they’ve shaped who you are and how they helped you grow and learn. Show your clients how you’ve developed as a person or an entrepreneur and how that can help them be better at what they do. When you pull from your own experience you accomplish two things: you ensure that you’re being honest, true, and genuine and you allow your people to connect with you and that connection creates a bond of support, referrals and fans that shout from the rooftops about you. So open up, be vulnerable and share your stories. Your people want to hear them and get to know the real you.

 

Keep it coming from your Heart

 

You started this business for a reason. Don’t lose sight of that. Check in with your core values, your why, your mission statement. What is your driving force? Ask yourself if what you’re about to do aligns with your core. Does it feel good? Does it feel right? If you’re not sure, ask yourself why. What doesn’t feel right? Is it fear or is it intuition telling you to stop? (Not sure how to tell the difference? Marie Forleo has a great video about how to know whether it’s Fear or Intuition. If it’s intuition, listen to it. If it’s fear, move past the fear and push forward. Your intuition will guide you and keep you on track. Your core values are your markers for knowing if you’re on the right path. If you stay focused on those and create from your heart, you’ll never have to question if you’re being authentic. Your heart always knows where you need to go.

 

So, when you feel like you’re losing yourself and you’re in a fog, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re keeping it simple, fun, honest and from your heart. You can only be truly authentic in business when you’re being your most honest self. While others are being sponges and mirrors choose to stand out & think different.

 

You can only be truly authentic in business when you're being your most honest self. Click To Tweet

 

What is one thing you can do, right now, to have a more authentic business? Tell me in the comments below.

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5 Comments

  1. Amy Howard on 01/26/2016 at 11:36 am

    I definitely needed to read this! There are so many beautiful blogs and businesses out there and it takes time to decide what look you want, vibe you want to portray, etc. I am rebranding in my own biz and this post was right on time for me. Thanks Heather and Samantha!

    xo.

  2. Stephanie Williams on 01/26/2016 at 1:41 pm

    It’s funny that I’m seeing this article today because I’ve struggled with this severely since I started my blog. So when I was younger, my mother used to have two voices: her ‘business’ voice and her regular voice. My siblings and I used to make fun of her because we thought it was hilarious to hear her switch back and forth between the two… When we asked her why she had the two ‘voices’ she told us that sometimes people are quick to judge you based on who you really are. Because of this, I’ve always been very aware of how I ‘come off’ to people, and if they end up not liking me then I’ll pretty much subconsciously tell myself that it’s because I didn’t initially put on a front. Thanks for these tips! One thing I’m definitely noticing in my favorite bloggers and biz ladies is that they are 100% true to themselves without giving a damn and crushing it all at the same time. Thanks for the inspo!

  3. Carrie S. on 01/31/2016 at 11:07 am

    Wow, I feel like this post was written directly to me! I went freelance 6 months ago, and have spent countless hours scouring the web for content calendars, information, productivity tools, etc., and it HAS become a burden. I have recently begun to unsubscribe from newsletters and following people on all their channels, and it is becoming easier to navigate my way. But now I do have to deal with all those eBooks and guides I’ve downloaded on my laptop! Thanks for a great post!

  4. amanda on 02/09/2016 at 10:41 am

    I’m such an information hoarder and constant learner. . . its awesome but it does affect how quickly I can build out because I just need to learn this and that and that over there. . . Such a great story and hit home for me!

    • Heather Crabtree on 02/09/2016 at 11:11 am

      Amanda,
      So glad this article resonated with you! Yes, I think we can all relate to wanting to learn more, but it can sometimes take us down the rabbit hole of gathering information after information and then we never take action on the things we learn.

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