If I have learned nothing as an entrepreneur, the only thing that I can definitely say that I know is that it's better to be human than to be professional.
Now, that comes with a grain of salt. What I mean by that is that being professional often has this very stereotypical way of being.
For a long time I would change the way that I acted, dressed, my background, my office...my chair...everything!
I would curate everything around this idea of being professional. I wanted to be trustworthy. I wanted people to take me seriously. So I had to be professional.
So I needed to look the part. I needed to play the part. Every piece of my persona online needed to fit that part in order to be professional.
And what I realized was that all that effort was really just working against me.
You see, when you sell products, customers aren't super invested in the owner or the company. They are invested in the product itself. How many of us have seen something on Tiktok and instantly bought it? Did you start by reading up on the business owner? Client reviews and testimonials? Portfolio?
NO! You just clicked add to cart and the rest is history.
That is not the case for services. You do the research. You look up the person and if you don't like what you see (or don't trust it). You opt for someone else.
So throughout my journey as a business owner, I have learned that it is always better to be a human than to be professional.
Let's face it, when you are trying to put yourself into that particular box, you don't seem human. You seem like you are putting on a show because you are. And people pick up on that.
I've noticed that I develop a deeper connection with my clients (and my followers) when I'm my myself. I have become more of a take it or leave it type of business owner.
Probably the best example is this new website! When I first designed my website, I wanted to go completely left-field of what everyone thought of me which is that I was a really young professional. Just about everyone's first impression of me was that I was "just a kid" and they didn't want to trust me (even though I had a MBA) 🙄.
So I went complete other direction. I went very 6-7 figure, badass with a blazer, corporate aesthetic and pretty much destroyed my image. Why? Because people would see this very mature, put together, cookie-cutter professional online and I would have to keep that up in every single meeting and interaction. I had to make sure I was always strict, flawless and play this part I had created for myself.
And the moment that I let down the curtain, folks didn't know what to do. They weren't getting what they came here for and didn't trust me.
The funny is that once I started just being myself in interactions with clients, using less "posed" photographs and rebranding things to fit me... I found my dream clients.
I found folks that weren't looking for that badass with a blazer that I was trying to be. They were looking for me. the real me. And they hadn't been able to find anyone else because there is only one me.
Since being more human online and in my business, I have flourished. I have enjoyed my company more and found some truly amazing clients too!