You can anticipate that starting your solopreneur business will be just as difficult, risky, and vulnerable as giving birth. At this point, don’t even attempt to look good.
The subject of branding, particularly brand identity, garners considerable attention. However, if you’re a solopreneur aiming to build a thriving online audience, the traditional concept of branding may not be as pertinent to you. Why? Brand identity primarily focuses on the external image and outward expression of a brand, encompassing aspects like its name and visual elements (color schemes, logos, fonts, photo shoots, etc.). Based on my experience, the outward representation of yourself isn’t the key to capturing the interest of potential customers.
So, what is the key to winning their hearts and minds? It’s quite straightforward: crafting a persona that involves a genuine embrace of yourself, your life, and your work (imperfections included), conveyed through storytelling and complemented by empathetic interactions with your audience. It’s simple, unrefined, yet wonderful.
Drawing from my own experience running a six-figure online teaching business and coaching fellow solopreneurs, one common mistake I observe new solopreneurs making is becoming overly preoccupied with elaborate branding aesthetics prematurely. Instead, what could genuinely benefit their business is delving into the psychological work of shaping a compelling persona to share with the world.
Becoming a solopreneur is akin to the process of childbirth. In the initial phases of solopreneurship, particularly the first year, it can be chaotic, vulnerable, and painful – much like childbirth. Attempting to make it appear polished is futile; that phase comes later, after your “baby” is cleaned up and out in the world wearing a cute sweater from Grandma. The polished appearance doesn’t manifest while you’re in the throes of labor, whether you’re on your back or squatting, bringing a new creation into the world.
The remarkable aspect of prioritizing the cultivation of a compelling persona over a fancy visual brand is that it’s an internal endeavor. It occurs within you, entailing a resolute affirmation of your distinct humanity – it doesn’t demand expensive graphics or video editing.
Being professional and aesthetically pleasing isn’t always sufficient. After spending months or even years developing your online persona and engaging with potential customers, it becomes reasonable to invest your time, energy, and resources in creating a visually appealing style to bolster your online presence.
Why does this matter so much? I don’t want you to construct a mundane, forgettable, socially conventional brand that evokes nothing more than indifference. This is a pitfall many new solopreneurs stumble into, where they create something that looks professional or visually pleasing. Yet, being merely professional and visually appealing won’t grip the hearts of your customers and transform their lives – which should be your primary goal as a budding solopreneur. To successfully achieve that, you must first accomplish it for yourself.
When new solopreneurs embark on their business journey, they often do so seeking approval and validation from the world for their endeavors and identities. Regrettably, this approval-seeking mentality tends to repel potential clients and attract trolls and negative influences. Trying it out will make it abundantly clear. Seeking approval and permission is understandable since the world can be a harsh, judgmental place. Receiving judgment is an intense experience.
Nonetheless, there is another experience that can be equally intense, as mentioned earlier: childbirth. Remarkably, some women learn to perceive the intense sensations of childbirth as pleasurable, even experiencing orgasmic births.
The moral of this narrative? Anticipate that the process of bringing your solopreneur business into the world may be as painful, hazardous, and vulnerable as childbirth. During this phase, don’t strive to appear flawless. Approach your solopreneurship journey with the readiness to embrace the sensation of being judged, misunderstood, or even shamed. Embrace it fearlessly, and you’ll naturally develop a compelling persona that attracts people. On the contrary, you could choose to invest a significant amount of time and resources in creating an aesthetically pleasing, professional-looking brand to win external approval. The choice is yours, but I’m rooting for you to embrace the messiness because, in the realm of solopreneurship, getting messy is often the path to getting rich and becoming renowned.