The big one: How do you stay authentic in your business?


Authenticity: one of them hot button topics.

But why is it so hot? Is it because we crave human connection in a technology-driven world? Is it because the Internet has become so saturated with bogus people spewing bogus content and using bogus titles? Or is simply because it’s always been important to us?

We believe it’s all of the above.

And because authenticity has become a strong unfair advantage in the world of business, it’s vital to investigate how people achieve this “status” in the social networks and their own small businesses.

So we asked our community of digital creatives. Here’s what they said.

(Thanks, everyone, for the immense inspiration you give us!)

Authenticity for me is relying on my gut feeling. — Margarent Lansink
Source.

Have you ever woken up in a stranger’s life? I have, and let me tell you — it sucks. Because nowadays everything goes so fast, you might become a victim to momentum — you work for higher status, you work for more benefits, you crave acknowledgment, and somehow… you forget personal happiness.

Is your work bringing you joy? Do you feel excited doing it? Or have you just become used to it? Some very important questions to answer.

And that is why you have this wonderful internal compass called gut feeling. It alone will never lie or make compromises, or forget what’s right. (Wondering when you should trust your gut? Read.)

As we start our coffee roastery, we aim to stay authentic by being transparent in our practice and always considering the well-being of our customers. — Holly Oiseau Coffee Inc.

Most people choose to make their clients guess what’s going on behind closed doors because they’re worried about the competition…

Source.

But there are two things that will cut right through that shit: a) transparency and b) focusing on the client.

Authenticity is built on a foundation of trust, and trust is most easily “acquired” by showing your clients what you and your business are made of. This is why buffer has become such a bright example in the world of startups — they’re transparent about everything they do: from their blog writing process to their salaries and benefits, and so on.

When there’s nothing to hide, there’s nothing to fear either.

And the second point is about how willing you are to put your client in the center of your business. This requires putting your ego aside, too, but most of all, being able to relate and empathize with their struggles, as well as helping them to the best of your ability. Only then will they appreciate your efforts and trust that you are the best person to answer their questions.

Finding your voice is easy, remaining true to it amid a sea of influencers and detractors is far more difficult. — MacKenzie Clench

(Somehow Ken always ends up in our write-ups. Go, Ken!)

Source.

This is a HUGE point.

Imagine if you will, you have started your creative business, and you’re so excited, but also scared if the right people will come to you. And so you read a bunch of marketing articles and try everything the experts say you should try, and before you know it, you’re frustrated and exhausted because those things do not match your business.

Authenticity is being true to yourself, yes, but most of all — it’s about being true to yourself and your values while the whole world is tempting you to step aside from your values and follow other people’s advice. And however well-intentioned this advice is, it’s usually wrong for you. After all, you have your own values and unique message to share with the world, so what are the chances of anyone else being able to help with that?

This is why I have the following rule of thumb:

If I resonate with this person, I can follow some of their advice.

That’s it! If you resonate with their message, their values, and the things they do as well as the way they do it, there is a lower risk of doing something that’s completely wrong for you and your business.

For example, if your values align with Gary Vaynerchuk’s values, you probably read everything he writes. You won’t always agree with him, but he’ll be one of the people you’re willing to trust without seeing proof.

I know people say the new currency is time nowadays, but I’d argue it is trust. And trust is the stuff of authenticity.

To stay authentic, I share occasionally personal details and mistakes I did. It scratches the varnish of the perfect robot, makes us reachable, adds transparency. Being authentic is to offer a 3D image compared to a flat, stereotyped picture. — Bruno Winck

Mistakes! That’s a flash of genius right there.

By sharing our mistakes along the way to personal (and career) growth, we inexorably show that we are human and that we are strong individuals, who are not afraid of failing or admitting our mistakes.

Source.

What is more, Bruno’s comment about robots is right on point because we have stepped into an era of automation, where authenticity is vital. It’s about standing out in a sea of stereotypes and offering human layers to everything we offer the world.

So I want you to ask yourself: How are you different from everybody else?Also, what are you offering that only YOU can offer? Once you have the answers, you can safely implement them into your business.

So there you have it.

We have stepped into a time where authenticity is the one thing that differentiates your business from the next person’s. If you want to truly invest in yourself and your business, you need to dig deep into the well of authenticity — what makes you, YOU. And communicate it to the people you want to reach. If you can do those things, you are golden.

P.S. Takeaways:

  • your gut is your compass and it knows where you need to go;
  • transparency invites people in your circle of trust;
  • if you can put the client at the center of your business and empathize with their struggles, they’ll trust you with their well-being;
  • don’t be tempted to follow every expert’s advice, follow only those who have your values and whose messages resonate with you;
  • share your journey, your mistakes, show us you’re human.

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