You want to improve our income, output, outreach and style, it's the whole reason you're a creative entrepreneur or writer. (Or one in the making.) There's a public secret for owning a business or blog that's productive and lucrative. It's something I've read over and over in various self-improvement and business success books alike. I've received it as advice by business coaches, co-workers, friends, fellow business owners and mentors. It's cliche and corny, you've heard it more than one Disney movie, but it truly works. Fighting against this success secret kept me in development hell and various stages of creative paralysis for months and months, but the moment I fully and wildly embraced it I experienced a whirlwind of momentum and success. I can't keep up with the demand for the new products I'm making, we recently celebrated our most successful market showing to date and my enthusiasm for formulating and designing hasn't waned. The secret is summed up in two words:
Be. Yourself. Yes, being 100% true to yourself is what's going to make you successful as a business owner or blogger. My god, that's schmaltzy. There's even a Disney song collaboration with Stevie Wonder and 90s boy band about it. Listen to it while you read this and set the tone, if you will.
Let's stay on the corny Disney train. You've seen Disney's Aladdin I assume? I'm surprised I didn't watch it until the feeble tape snapped because the VCR and Sega Genesis were my babysitters and I watched it One Thousand and One Nights in a row, but I digress. In the movie, Aladdin thinks Princess Jasmine could never want him because she's royalty and he's a penniless pauper. His macho posturing to attract her pushes her away because he didn't know she already loved him for being exactly who he was; dreamy, earnest, and kind-hearted. She cut through his bullshit "tough guy" act as "Prince Ali" in a millisecond. Likewise, your customers will see straight through your bullshit if you're not authentic in your writing or branding. When you're being yourself there's a natural flow to your work. When you "flow" easily you'll LOVE what you do and it shows, it's infectious. You'll attract your ideal customer and reader when you just share "you"- after all, there isn't another one of you and never will be.
That's not to say all of this is easy; I still struggle with it. It doesn't mean you stop trying to make quality work because quality is also king with your business. But my creative flow burst through it's proverbial dam when I stop killing myself trying to make the "perfect" thing and finally embraced myself. I tried to pigeonhole myself into strict "genre" or "style" but I can't because that's not me. I used the eclectic photo of my new brand's current look above because now it reflects "me," now that I've stopped struggling to make it right and just let it be I'm working like crazy and happy to do it! I'm a weird clinical herbalist that collects robots and dinosaurs. I take cartoon, horror movie and video game trivia way too seriously. I love violent movies and I'm helping a friend start a community garden non-profit. But that's completely me and revealing all of that is how I initially grew an audience in the first place. And that audience enabled me to leave corporate world to pursue the dream of being self-employed.
My mind is literally wired to be idiosyncratic (INFP + Scanner) and flipping that "flaw" into a benefit put more money in my bank account. Similarly, Aladdin embracing the perceived "flaw" that is his endearingly adorkable self got him laid. (Just sayin'.) So be yourself. Just let go. Stop trying to be the "other" bloggers and business owners and not just because when everyone's copying each other on Instagram or in the local and online marketplace the world looks ubiquitous and grotesquely boring. Be yourself because it will bring you money, success, happiness & health. Even if you meditate and confront your "true self" like Atreyu in Neverending Story and you're looking at your reflection of your inner essence and you see a giant asshole; be yourself. I promise, people will like that. Be. Yourself! And