Who to Feature in Your Telesummit

by Lisa Sasevich

A telesummit is primarily a list-building event, where a host interviews a collection of experts on a specific topic over a designated period of time, while a virtual audience tunes in for free.

While most telesummits end up being a huge win-win-win for the listeners, the guest experts and the host, occasionally you’ll hear hosts complain that their telesummit didn’t deliver the leads or mojo that they’d hoped for. With a little deeper investigation, I usually find that if a telesummit had disappointing results, it wasn’t mercury in retrograde, the stars, or fate. The problem, almost always, was the wrong balance of speaker types.

That’s right. An optimal balance of the four different types of speakers will not only help you attract your ideal clients, but will encourage them to stick around, learn as much as they can, and eventually invest to go deeper with you. If you’re following our Ultimate Telesummit Formula, you’re looking for 12 speakers: four a day for your three-day virtual event.

A balance of 4 speaker types will attract your ideal clients to your telesummit.

Here are those four types of speakers that you want on your telesummit lineup:

1. Draw Speakers.

You want to get as many people to opt-in to your telesummit as you can, because that grows your list. So, ideally, you want to have two very well-known speakers who will draw in the audience. Now, draw speakers may or may not help you promote your telesummit by mailing to their lists. In fact, some of the big names don’t even have a list. But their name alone makes them worth inviting.

2. Content Speakers.

Your draw speakers don’t always provide the best content, so you want to make sure that you also have, ideally, three really good content speakers. Your listeners may not have heard of these subject matter experts, but they’re going to love their content. Plus, content speakers often turn out to be great promotional partners. In fact, people with smaller but well-targeted lists in your topic area sometimes do way better for you than your draw speakers.

3. Reach Speakers.

Reach speakers are experts with a big email list or large social media following in the same ideal client group as you. Often, your reach speakers will be so excited about the opportunity to be on the same lineup as your draw speakers, that they’ll promote the heck out of your event to their substantial list or following. That’s why you want half of your speakers to fall into this category.

4. Positioning Speaker.

The positioning speaker is that one special guest who really represents the promise of your telesummit as a whole, and is another huge draw that can double your opt-ins. For instance, when I did my How to Sell to Women telesummit, my team and I brainstormed about who really represents selling to women for us, and we immediately thought of Zappos. Now, I had no idea how I would make that happen, but I committed to the idea, and at a course I signed up for, guess who I was sitting next to? A director at Zappos. I got the interview, and it was a huge hit of the event.

If you want learn a lot more about how you can structure your telesummit for ultimate success, I have the opportunity for you. I want to invite you to attend the first class of my Ultimate Telesummit Formula training at no cost to you. This is not a promo. It’s module 1 of the actual training.

If you love what you do, but hate the "sales part," sales conversion expert Lisa Sasevich will show you how to attract new clients, expand your reach and grow your profits with no additional time or marketing budget...and without being salesy. Get your FREE Sales Training and Sales Nuggets now at www.FreeSalesTrainingFromLisa.com.

Forget Facebook! 5 Other Ways to Market Your Business Book

by Deborah A. Bailey

If you're already a published author, you know that marketing it the tough part--even (in some cases) tougher than writing your book. Without book marketing your book will not sell. You have to let your ideal reader know that your book is out there.

In a crowded media marketplace, it's harder to be seen and heard. Which is why you have to find ways to build your platform and your audience. Social media is an important part of book marketing, but if you're only relying on Facebook, you're short-changing your efforts. With changes in the algorithm and the shift towards buying ads and promotions, free promotions are no longer what they used to be.

And if you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed that other platforms are also offering paid promotions to those with pockets deep enough to invest. So, if you aren't in a position to spend a lot on ads and promos, what are your options?

As it turns out, there are more than you might realize. But, be prepared to be patient as you build your media brand. Quick and easy is not the approach to take when you're creating a foundation for your  book. It represents you and your business. So, you've got to take your time and do it right.

There's nothing wrong with using social media, of course. But supplementing those posts with some other options will only increase your chances of being found by your ideal readers (and prospective clients).

forget facebook! 5 other ways to market your business book

1. Blogs  - Social media did not diminish the importance of blogging. You don't have to write daily posts. Weekly or bi-weekly will work as well. As long as you're willing to keep posting on some sort of schedule so you can build a readership. Offer options for readers to sign up on a mailing list of some kind, so they get your updates.

Use your blog to re-purpose excerpts from your book and include links back to your book's sales page. Write posts based on concepts from your book and share them on social media. For instance, I use Twitterfeed to send my blog posts to Twitter. You can also re-post on LinkedIn (if you have access to the blog feature).

2. Amazon.com author pages - If your book is on Amazon don't neglect your author page. It's another opportunity to promote your website, your book signings, other books and products, your blog and social media links. You can also track book sales down to the geographic location.

In addition, you can also add book trailers and other graphics. It's a way to give readers a bit more detail about you. One thing to note, however, you'll have to update the author page for every one of Amazon's sites. As it turns out you can use the same login, but you may have to translate the pages that are in different languages.

3. Training classes
- You can present classes online and in-person to share the concepts from your book. A while back I was presenting a class on job searching and I brought in copies of my "Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life" book to share with the participants.

Online classes are very popular. Creating and delivering classes using an online platform is another option.  Or you can start off by creating a PDF for a downloadable class. Or you can create videos and post them on your YouTube channel.

4. Articles - Find blogs that cater to the audience you want to reach, and query for their guidelines. Submitting articles is a way to increase your audience without having to physically be in multiple places at once. If possible, include links to where your book can be found and a link back to your website. 

5. Podcasts - On my show, Women Entrepreneurs Radio, I interview many author entrepreneurs. It's s great way to connect with a different audience. It's also a way to form lasting connections with listeners (who may also become readers for your book or clients for your services). Whether you create your own podcast, or become a guest on other shows, it's a way to promote your book just by talking about it!

Instead of following the crowd -- and getting lost in the stampede -- look for other ways to connect with your audience.

Deborah A. Bailey is a writer, coach, blogger and author of four non-fiction books, four novels and a short story collection. She's the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ , a weekly podcast. For more information about Deborah and her books visit her blog: http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com or her site: http://DeborahABailey.com

3 Mistakes Business Owners Make

by Chris Atley

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time focusing on various strategies, thinking this next “one” will be it. By just doing ______, they will fix all of their problems.

This is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s not about adding in one more strategy, it’s about shifting what’s going on in the inside. When you show-up confidently and acting like the expert you are, everything will shift.

It’s about who you are being, not what you are doing. Digging out your deepest fear is the best place to start. It was amazing what came to the surface during my retreat. The women thought they had dealt with old painful wounds, but during our intensive it was brought to their attention that the pain was still there and was affecting their businesses in a really big way.

Start thinking about who you really want to be when you’re out in the world.

How entrepreneurs spend their time is another big one. Most people are signing-up left, right and center for tons of different programs – again seeking an external answer. A lot of the information being shared is relevant and useful, but without shifting what is going on inside, you will not be able to fully implement what you have learned. It just won’t work. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Perfection paralysis is next. Trying to get it “perfect” before getting out there. You will never get it perfect. You will not learn what you need to if you’re afraid of messing-up. Every experience you have shapes who you will be and what you will do in the world. Would you rather help people as you go, and learn what works and doesn’t -or would you rather spend all of your time getting it just right before you even start?

Think of all the people that will miss out on what you can help them with. This of course leads beck to a deeper issue of caring what others think. This must be dug out – meaning addressing the unconscious beliefs you’re not even aware of, that are shaping every single decision you make.

It’s time to address these issues. You will not have the success you want until you do. You will not help people on a larger scale until you do. It’s worth taking a look – albeit a little scary.

Written by Chris Atley, Success Coach for entrepreneurs. Join Chris to discover your true worth to increase your personal wealth. Create your ideal business by grabbing my Live Limitless Guide for free at: www.chrisatley.com 

A Quick and Easy Way to Start Your Own Podcast

by Deborah A. Bailey

If you're looking to create a podcast to promote your business, you can get one started very easily.

Though some podcasters use expensive equipment to create their broadcasts, you can start out by just using your phone or your computer.

Unlike broadcasting on terrestrial radio, where if someone isn't listening at that moment they miss the message, once your podcast is recorded and uploaded, it's always available. Even better, the file can be downloaded, shared or posted on your website.

In 2008 I started my Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast. (Though at the time, the term "internet radio" was more common.)

Having the podcast has given me the opportunity to meet and have conversations with entrepreneurs all over the world. I've made friendships and networked right from my home.

So, how do you get started?

  1. Decide what you want your show to be about. Do you want to market your business? Or talk about your hobbies/interests? It's entirely up to you.
  2. Do you want to have guests or will you talk about the topics yourself? Keep in mind that talking over a period of time can get tiring. So if you won't have guests, have some sort of outline to help you stay on track--and give you a format to follow.
  3. What's the frequency? Will you be doing your show daily, weekly, monthly or what? To build an audience, you should be prepared to broadcast at least once a week. 

How to record

I've used the Blog Talk Radio platform, which, like anything has its pros and cons. There is a free option, which I recommend for those starting out.

Currently I'm recording podcasts using Skype, which is a good tool that can be accessed on the computer and mobile devices. You can get a free account, which is even better!

  1. In order to record, you'll have to download 3rd party software. Skype has a list that you can try out, some have free trials. I use Pamela for Skype, which can also be used for video recording.
  2. Try out the microphone on your computer or mobile device. If the sound is clear, you won't necessarily need a microphone. However, if it is not, then it's best to purchase one. There are a selection of mics on Amazon.com (and other online sellers) at various price levels. So don’t be hesitant to research before buying.
  3. Once you're sure your sound is good, you're ready to go. If you have a guest, connect with them on Skype. If you're the only one doing the podcast, simply record yourself on your device.

Once you're finished. You can upload your show to a platform, or just upload it to your website. When I record on Skype, I take the MP3 file and upload it to a platform called, Podomatic. (You can get a free account to start with.)

If you want to edit your file, you can use a free software, Audacity. Or get a free trial of Wave Pad Sound Editor. (There are a lot of other editors to choose from, but these are the two I've used.)

Give yourself some time to get used to creating your podcasts before you go to the next step, which is uploading your podcast to iTunes and other directories. You want to have a chance to get comfortable with the medium first.

So that's it! A quick and easy way to record your podcasts and get them uploaded. Have any recommendations for additional software/tools? Leave them in the comments!

Deborah A. Bailey is a writer, coach, blogger and author of four non-fiction books, four novels and a short story collection. She's the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ , a weekly women entrepreneurs podcast. talk show.  For more information about Deborah and her books visit her blog: http://dbaileycoach.com or her site: http://DeborahABailey.com

Don't Let a Client's Money Drama Become Yours

by Alicia Forest, MBA
The Business Shifter™

One of the ways I see entrepreneurs staying small (and frustrated) is by not being serious enough about how they manage their receivables in their business. Receivables is simply money that is owed to you.

For example, there isn't a business owner I know who hasn't had at least one client's payments become an issue, so if this hasn't happened to you yet, know it most likely will. However, if you have certain things in place, it will be a lot easier for you to handle these situations, gracefully and respectfully.

So, let's take a deeper look at that most common scenario: a client is late with their payment. When you address this with them, they tell you their situation and while you can and should listen with compassion, it's imperative that you not take on the problems that they're having and make them your own. That doesn't serve either of you.

While we all can have money issues from time to time, if the client takes no responsibility for it - and yes, even when it seems it's completely out of their control - then they're coming from a victim mentality. But you can't let them make you a victim of their situation as well.

First and foremost, ALWAYS listen to your intuition when signing on a client. You'll only make the mistake once of not doing so before you regret it and realize taking them on didn't serve either of you.

But there are also times when this situation comes up with a great client too. While the money situation is still theirs, for you, it's a boundary issue. And it's an opportunity to tighten your parameters and policies too.

We need to remember that we are running a business and as a serious business owner, we are entitled to monies owed to us. It's why having clearly written and signed agreements and a written policies page are so important.

So while it's the client's responsibility to pay what's owed, it's your responsibility to collect what's owed. This can and should be handled gracefully and respectfully. And it's as easy as staying detached from their story and creating a plan to handle the situation.

If you commiserate, let the payment slide, and/or don't make a plan on how it will be handled, not only will you start to feel resentful, but you're also enabling the client to continue this disempowering behavior.

This is a perfect opportunity for you to step more fully into being a powerful model and mentor for them. When you're talking with your client, tell them that you understand that this is a difficult situation for them, and then ask them what they are going to do to resolve it as soon as possible.

I know it feels easier to avoid conflict and commiserate with the client, but I have found that if you do that, the situation just keeps happening until you no longer put up with it. When you're firm on your boundaries, you respect yourself and your business enough so you attract more and more ideal clients who are a joy to work with. I know this to be true.
At my annual Online Business Breakthrough Workshop, we spend a good portion of time working on your MONEY - from your blocks and beliefs, to improving your conversions, to enrolling clients (without doing free sessions), to pricing, to increasing your fees and much more.

© 2015 Alicia Forest International | All rights reserved.

Alicia Forest, MBA mentors women entrepreneurs on how to build a priority-based, highly profitable business, in less than part-time hours. Get her FREE series on how you can do this too at http://aliciaforest.com.

Photo credit: StockMonkeys.com

"BE" Your Brand

by Sydni Craig-Hart

It's possible that when you think of brand, what comes to mind is a company's logo or an image that represents them. You may also think of a particular tag line.

For example, if you heard me say, "Just Do It," Nike would instantly pop into your mind. Or, if I said, "The Ultimate Driving Machine," you'll likely think of a BMW commercial.

As it relates to your business, your logo and your tagline do play an important role, however the most important part of your brand is actually YOU. Your brand has to be reflective of who you are and the services and products that you offer.

So, what are you known for? Why do clients come to you? How do you make a difference in their lives? This is the key!

Over time, your business will change and grow, but your brand has to stay relevant and fresh. This means that what you are known for has to be pertinent to your target market. Let me give you my personal example. I started my company as a virtual marketing implementer. Today, I no longer am the technician for my clients. I simply teach them how to strategically and consistently use marketing to increase their profits. Now, I'm known for "teaching smart, simple marketing" strategies to my clients instead of "implementing" for them. My brand has evolved over the years to reflect how I serve my clients and the value I create for them.

Take McDonald's as an example of a business who continues to refresh its brand as it adapts to changes in the fast food industry. When I was a kid, I remember the representative of Micky Ds to be a smiley faced, gentle clown by the name of Ronald. Since the days of my pre-teen years, McDonald's has grown into a worldwide entity. When was the last time you saw Ronald and his pals running around in those big, silly costumes either in person or on television?

Catch my drift? McDonald's has adjusted with the times and has kept its brand relevant and fresh as it continues to dominate the fast food industry.

You of course are not a global conglomerate like Micky Ds, but the importance of BE-ing your brand still applies. When you are marketing your business, your prospective clients instantly develop an opinion about YOU and what you are offering. If they feel that they can trust your brand, or YOU, they will likely work with you to solve the problems that they are facing.

What should you do then to make sure that you stand out from the crowd of businesses who offer the exact same services and products that you do? BE your brand and stand apart from the pack.

Pinpoint Your Unique Selling Proposition

If there are 100 competitors who serve the same target market as you, how can you separate yourself from them? You will need to highlight your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is the substance of your business and personality that makes you different from those 100 or even 1,000 competitors.

Just like your fingerprint and dental imprint, there is not another person who has ever lived that can offer what you do in the way that you do it.

So, what makes you unique? It's a combination of your interests, passion, experience, education and your big WHY. It's the reason WHY you started your business in the first place. Do you see why no one else can match who you are and what you have to offer?

Don't be shy about this important position that you hold in the market place. You have made your mark and are here to stay. Your brand has already benefitted your previous clients. Continue to stand alone as the one who can serve your industry like no other person.

Think for a moment about the alternative. If you do not stand out and accept your exclusive gifts and make them known, what choice do you have other than to wave the white flag and allow your competition to scoop up potential business away from you? Do you want that to be your reality? Of course not!

Another critical piece of identifying your USP is to accentuate the benefits that your clients receive from working with you. Remember, as service professionals we are really problem solvers. We are experts at taking our clients from challenge to solution. The folks who are considering hiring you need to be able to see clearly what you have done for others.

If you would like more in-depth data on the results you create, be sure to talk to your previous clients. Of course, you need to talk to your BEST clients. Ask them why they came to you in the first place? Why they chose you and how did you help them to increase their income, improve their health, save more time or avoid a catastrophic problem? The answers to these questions are the EXACT words you want to use to convey the value of what you offer.

This information lends more credence to your USP. It proves that you ARE truly remarkable and one-of-a-kind. Trusting that you truly are unique and generously expressing how you make a difference in the lives of others will ensure that your brand is fresh and relevant.

I encourage you to "BE" more you. "BE" your brand. Walk it. Talk it. Live it. This is ultimately why your clients will hire you. It is because you are confident in who you are and in what you have to offer them.

The more "YOU" you infuse into your brand the more effective your marketing will be. The more effective your marketing is, the more clients you enroll. The more clients you enroll, the more profitable and successful your business is.

Your Action Plan For This Week:

  •     List 5 aspects of your business that make you different from your competitors.
  •     List 5 benefits that your clients receive from working with you.
  •     List 5 things that people compliment you on about your business or personality.
  •     Incorporate the 15 things that you've gathered into all of your marketing materials.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of SmartSimpleMarketing.com. Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client's businesses so they can create money NOW. Visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com for your FREE kit, "5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom" and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!

5 Steps to Gaining Control Over Your Time

by Chris Atley

Here are 5 steps to gaining control over your time:

1. Look at what is driving you to accomplish so much.
Who is this for? Whose approval are you trying to gain? Most of us are brought-up being valued for our accomplishments and not who we are on the inside.

So this never ending cycle of doing, doing and MORE doing, comes from our deep seeded need to get someone else’s approval. Pretty messed up right? Being aware is the first step in creating change.

2. Self-worth. How you feel about yourself is directly related to what your calendar looks like. Do you set healthy boundaries with people or do you let others dictate how you spend your time? This shows up in both personal and business.

Are you dictating how long you’re on the phone with someone? Do you feel comfortable telling someone no? When you feel good about yourself you care less about the judgment of others. You feel good in your own skin. You are the kind, loving, confident version of yourself and it’s easier to be confident in telling others no and being firm on what is important to you when you are. Start saying no and gaining control over your calendar. Know what your priorities are and make decisions that are in alignment with them.

3. Get help!
In your personal life and business. Most business owners are afraid to let go because they think they can do it the best themselves and therefore they may as well do it themselves. Sounds familiar?! It’s okay; I used to be that way too. I do have some news – there are in fact people who can do it not only better then you, but also faster and for less then your hourly rate!

Sure you will have to spend some training them upfront, but it will be well worth it in the end. What do you need help with right now? How many clients do you need in order to hire them? Make the decision to hire first, set a deadline and watch for the means to show up to enable you to make it happen. It always will. The freedom you will feel is worth every penny!!

4. Know that it will all get done in the right time. Continuing to operate at rapid pace without any breaks is going to catch up to you. The burnout and overall dissatisfaction isn’t going to be worth it. Besides, when you take care of yourself and are more relaxed and at peace, the more opportunities that continue to cause peace and relaxation will flow into your life (as opposed to stress). How can you add in some time just for you? If you don’t make the decision to put it in your schedule, it will never happen.

5. Note what you are putting out.  If you are constantly rushing and feeling stressed out, you are putting out major negative (lack) energy. This is not an abundant way of being by any means. Look at giving yourself extra time for tasks and setting yourself up to succeed. If you’re over scheduling yourself, you’re doomed from the beginning. This relates back to self-esteem as well, because you are setting yourself up to feel badly. Never being able to meet your expectations = not feeling good enough. Look at your ideal schedule, way of being and start taking steps to implement them. It just takes a decision.

Written by Chris Atley, Success Coach for entrepreneurs. Join Chris to discover your true worth to increase your personal wealth. Create your ideal business by grabbing my Live Limitless Guide for free at: www.chrisatley.com.

Photo Credit: moonux via Compfight cc

How to Create A Website That Makes You Money

by Sydni Craig-Hart

Is your website doing all that it can to bring you new leads and build trust with your prospects? If not, you could be missing out on loads of clients who need exactly what you have to offer. With a few changes to your approach, you can turn your website into the number one tool that generates a profit for your business.

If you're not sure where to start with your website, then look at the approach you're using. Is your website about you or is it about your potential customers? So many business owners make the mistake of creating a self-focused website instead of a customer-focused website. It's not about you!

Yes, it's your business and yes, you want potential customers to like what you have to offer. But if you want to have a profit-focused website, you've got to put the focus on those ideal customers and their needs.

Here's how to start:

    Create an ideal client profile.

    Until you figure out exactly who you are speaking to, you will have a difficult time creating a customer focused website. You need to get to know your prospects and clients. Then you want to document your findings. What does your ideal customer do for a living? Where does he or she live? What are his or her fears? What does he or she want to accomplish? It's essential to get crystal clear on what this individual wants so you can design your website to address their needs.

    Determine what your ideal client needs to know to make a purchase from you.

    Once you've nailed down the profile of your ideal client, it's time to get into her head a bit. What does she need to know in order to feel comfortable making a purchase? She will probably want to hear about your background and see testimonials, but more importantly, she want to know that you understand her and the pain she experiences. More often than not, people are on the Internet looking for solutions. You need to speak to the solutions that your ideal client is looking for and show them that in coming to your website, they've landed in the right place.

    Create pages that speak to what your ideal customer needs.

    No matter what type of information, support or encouragement your ideal customer needs, make sure it's present on your website. It helps to have an FAQ page where you can post the answers to the most frequently asked questions about your services. Look back to conversations that you've had with current clients and potential customers. Which questions were most important to them? Be sure those are answered directly on your website. If there's information that you can provide in an e-mail course or report, even better! Don't hide details about what you offer. Describe your solutions and the specific problems you solve so your visitors have an idea as to how they can work with you.

    Use a "Call To Action" to get your ideal customer to take the next step with you.

    Even if you know your ideal customer intimately and give them the exact information that they need, it's not enough to create a profit-focused website. You need to also prompt them to take the next step with you. It may seem self-explanatory. But you have to connect the dots for people. Make it easy for them to see what they need to do next to get the benefit or result they're looking for. Whether that step is to sign up for a free consultation with you, purchase a program or register to receive free information, your website needs to lead your visitors to that next step. Be sure to end each page with a strong "Call To Action" that motivates your ideal customers.

When you make your website client-focused, instead of self-focused, you're going to engage more prospects and enroll more clients. Review your site, think about your ideal customers and then upgrade your website to create an experience that has them ready to say "yes!"

Your Action Plan For This Week:

  •     If you haven't already, create an ideal client profile that details who your customers are and why they should purchase from you.
  •     Look over your website and make sure that it includes pages that speak to the needs of your ideal customers. Consider adding an FAQ if you don't have one already.
  •     Add a Call To Action on each page that move your ideal customers toward the next step with you.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of SmartSimpleMarketing.com. Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client's businesses so they can create money NOW.

Visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com for your FREE kit, "5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom" and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!

The Downside of Authenticity

by Deborah A. Bailey

Being real comes with a price. You have to be willing to strip away everything false in order to let everyone see you as you are.

Most people are not ready for that. Showing the world who you are can lead to rejection. To having clients leave. To having people criticize you for daring to state unpopular opinions.

That’s what we talk about when we talk about authenticity. Brene Brown’s studies in vulnerability have been part of this surge to strip away the artifice and get down to it.

But are you ready for it? Really ready?

    “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We live in a culture where we’re programmed to fit in. To buy what we’re told we should buy. To follow trends and celebrities and not deviate from the accepted norm. So how do you make the leap into authenticity under those conditions?

When I started my business, the idea was to pretend to have a bigger company than you really had. You were to say “we” and not “I.”  After a while that flipped and it became the thing to be yourself without filters or pretense. Build a brand around yourself and your interests.

I’m all for that. but at the same time, has authenticity become just another burden? Are we marching to the beat of yet another rule to be followed?

    “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” – BrenĂ© Brown

For entrepreneurs, reinvention is a constant state of being. Seems that every other newsletter I receive contains a missive from a business owner who’s about to switch to a whole new thing. Even business owners who’ve only recently changed their logos, tag lines, websites etc. are already revamping.

It’s sort of like how the movie franchise reboot cycle seems to be shorter and shorter. Every couple of years here comes the new, improved version of a character. Like someone hit the reset button and it stayed pressed.

the downside of authenticity

If you’ve been in business for 5 or more years, chances are you’re wondering if it’s time for a restart.

Have things become too staid? Should you change your website, your marketing, your products?

What’s the new thing? What are people expecting now? Should you chase the hot new thing?

I’ve had my Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ podcast for almost 7 years. When I started it was a novelty of sorts. Now (from what I’ve read) podcasting is the hot “new” thing.

Entrepreneurs can end up running in circles searching for a viable business idea. What used to work might seem stale now. So you start searching for the thing that will turn it all around.

Which brings me back to authenticity. On the plus side, being authentic is an advantage because when you’re being yourself, you have no competition. Standing out in your field becomes easier when  you’re no longer one of many.

    “Why try to be someone you’re not? Life is hard enough without adding impersonation to the skills required.” -Robert Brault

But if you’re leaping on the bandwagon  because it’s the hot, new, hip thing–and you’ve got to pretend to be what you think it means to be authentic–maybe you should think again.  If it’s real, people will pick up on it. They’ll just know. And if it’s not, they’ll pick up on that too.

At the end of the day, you can’t fake realness.It’s not like buying a faux designer purse and passing it off as the real thing. You can’t fake your way to being authentic.

Recently I was listening to the audio version of Maya Angelou’s book,  Heart of a Woman. She narrated this book and it described a part of her life when she raised her son, married and moved to another continent. She was real, honest and raw at times. Unflinching about presenting the truth of her life, she didn’t stop at sharing the good and the bad.

Obviously she wasn’t trying to write a feel-good book filled with sanitized experiences. And in her honesty, I could connect with the woman behind the words. (Which is why her passing affected so many so deeply and why people felt like they knew her when they didn’t.)

Realness. Authenticity. I’m going to tell my story even if it hurts. Even if it’s messy. Even if what I say is hard to hear.

    “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

For business owners,  if we don’t find a way to stand out, how can we ever line up with our ideal clients? It takes courage to be out there as we are, without the protective covering and the slick packaging. To be raw and honest.

That’s what authenticity really is. Not a buzzword or yet another false face to hide behind. It takes courage. But there are rewards. You’ll connect with people who are hungry for what you have to deliver. They’ll relate to you because they’ll pick up on your honesty. They’ll know that you’re giving them something real.

Deborah A. Bailey is a writer, coach, blogger and author of four non-fiction books, three novels and a short story collection. She's the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ , a weekly internet talk show. For more information visit her site: http://dbaileycoach.com 

Ready to make changes in your business, but not sure where to start? Check out my online course: "Five Steps to Making Changes in Your Business." https://secrets-of-success.teachable.com/p/making-business-changes

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