Back when I was still finding my way as an entrepreneur, I was between gigs and needed to bring in some cash. I opted for a multi-level marketing business, knowing that if I liked the products enough, I could sell them.
I was right, but felt pressure from the higher ups to recruit other sellers. It wasn’t in my DNA, though … I don’t like cold calls, gimmicks, lame pitches, etc. Against my better judgment, I tried it. What happened was exactly what I suspected: I pissed people off, didn’t recruit anyone, and felt the wrath of being something other than myself.
It taught me a valuable lesson: stay true to me, regardless of outside pressure.
Let Me Be Vulnerable For A Second …
One of my “superpowers” in business is networking. I’m good at it both online and in person. I love engaging with others and digging into what makes them tick. I’m passionate about what I do and that translates into my business conversations.
On the flip side of that is appealing to the masses – converting cold traffic into warm traffic into paying customers. I admit that I’ve allowed myself to fall into the same trap I fell into as a multi-level marketer: listening to the gurus instead of my gut.
I’ve heard some amazing advice: write practical tips my target audience is looking for, make my website about my audience instead of myself, “niche down” to appeal to my “avatar.” While I’ve generated traffic using these methods, my leads continue to come through referrals and through the two platforms I leverage my networking prowess: Twitter and LinkedIn.
The moral of the story? What makes me unique — networking and engagement — is what sells, not conforming to a set of practical tips.
Getting That Wake-Up Call
I owe my most recent wake-up call to a Freelance Transformation podcast episode with Khierstyn Ross. She confessed to host Matt Inglot that she hates pitching herself and that her business method is to network her ass off in the right places and establish herself as the go-to person for crowdfunding.
Like Khierstyn, I hate pitching to cold traffic, though I understand the value for those who are amazing at it (and in the right industry for it).
Khierstyn also talked about setting herself apart from the competition instead of blending in with all of the other Internet marketers. There are countless “social media managers” and “Internet marketers,” so good luck standing out from the crowd, she said.
That statement really resonated with me. I’d attempted to customize my website to my target audience, ultimately losing the part of my site that sells: me.
Embrace What You’re About
As entrepreneurs, it’s critical to embrace what makes us unique.
I love working with passionate people who want to make a difference in the world, whether it’s through education, fitness, health, or some other means. I have to work with people like this. Someone simply out to generate dollars at any and all costs is not my ideal client.
I dig into and ultimately embody the passion of my clients and work to convey it in the clearest possible way to those they want to help. It drives me as an entrepreneur to build those connections for my clients and see how they, in turn, can help others.
That’s what I’m passionate about.
Now — don’t get me wrong — I also nerd out over analytics and Facebook ads and breaking down the nuances of social media and content, but it’s not what sets me apart from other digital marketers.
What sets me apart is my drive to make a difference.
The Moral of the Story
So, why am I writing all this? I’m hoping my experience will help you dig deep into what sets you apart from the competition. I know from firsthand experience that the talents we so easily bestow upon others are hard to use with ourselves. We are too close to our own businesses.
Uncover what you are passionate about and what makes you unique — that is the reason people will want to work with you or hire you to be their consultant. It’s your “superpower” so to speak.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital marketing strategist, a fitness consultant, or an online coach: if you are someone passionate about helping others, it’s that passion that will result in growing your business.
Now it’s just a matter of conveying that passion in the right way.