If you’re familiar with me and my content, you already know that showing up as yourself is a crucial part of working the way you want to work. Vulnerability (as uncomfortable as it is) matters in business because we need to be relatable so our ideal clients can connect with us. It’s not enough to just be selling anymore, we have to be forming relationships. And relationships start with connection!
Vulnerability does not mean sharing every single thing about our personal lives, our problems, our relationships, or our feelings.
Vulnerability can mean taking a stand on important issues. It can mean sharing a challenge we overcame. It can mean talking about mistakes we’ve made and what we learned from them.
It can even mean just posting a selfie in your Instagram Stories and asking what your followers are up to that day!
I polled my Instagram audience last week to shed some light onto why vulnerability feels difficult for small business owners, and I’m excited to share the results with you because I know some of them are going to resonate! In classic asia dore fashion, I’m also going to refute every single reason. Let’s do it!
6 reasons vulnerability feels hard:
1. You don’t want to make waves, you hate confrontation, and you want to make everyone happy.
I know it sucks to hear this, but you absolutely cannot make everyone happy. It’s impossible. Instead, let’s focus on making our communities happy by sharing the things they need to hear! Remember: an effective brand attracts the right people, and just as importantly, repels the wrong people.
For example: Are you nervous to share info about how to be an anti-racist because you’re worried you’ll offend someone? If you are, ask yourself this: do you really want to do business with people who get offended by that kind of information?! Hell no, you don’t!
My point here is not that you should be sharing content that’s purposefully offensive. But you should be using your platform for good, and if people get offended as a byproduct of you speaking your truth? So be it.
I say make waves. SPLISH FUCKING SPLASH.
2. You think people aren’t interested in you personally if they’re following your business account.
Well this is just incorrect. People are naturally curious, and sometimes downright nosy! The point of social media is to be social – and “here is a thing I made, here’s how to buy it” is not social.
Your audience is following you because they’re interested in your business, yes, but there are also thousands (maybe millions) of people who are doing the exact same thing you do. YOU are what sets you apart.
3. You feel the need to turn every negative into a positive because there’s no space for negative on social media.
Yeah, this one is tough. I absolutely believe in the power of positivity, but I also believe in authenticity. And so do your followers. I think the body neutrality movement is a great example of this – how empowering was it to start seeing stretch marks and rolls in our feeds instead of photoshopped perfection?! Seeing realness online is relatable, and remember what I said at the top of this email? Being relatable allows your ideal clients to connect with you.
I also want to add: there’s a huge benefit to sharing your scars instead of your wounds, and to share things after you’ve already processed them privately, away from social media. Then you can come back strong with your newfound wisdom and your audience can benefit from what you learned!
4. Sharing real stuff can feel like pity-seeking or attention-whoring.
What to decide to share online is all about your intention. Remember – everything you share in your marketing is about your clients. Even when it’s about you, it’s still about your clients. So how can you take your real story and flip it to make it about them? How can you use your story to inspire or motivate or educate or entertain them? Always keep it focused on your audience.
5. You’re worried about what other people think (AKA: fear of judgment).
Yup, I think we can all relate to this one! It does get easier with practice, but I don’t think the fear actually goes away. You just eventually realize that your message is more powerful than your fear, so you share it anyway.
And here’s a fun lil’ secret: People are honestly not as concerned about what you’re doing as you are. People are really only concerned about themselves. 1/3 of people will love what you’re doing, 1/3 will hate it, and 1/3 simply won’t care.
But the 1/3 that loves what you’re doing and benefits from your messages it is absolutely totally 100% worth your vulnerability!
6. You don’t want to come across as patronizing.
You want to share the wisdom you’ve gained in your life experience, but you don’t want to seem better than everyone. I totally get that. But there’s a point where you just have to be willing to step into your expertise.
You have to say to yourself, “I’ve invested thousands of dollars into education, thousands of hours into practice, I know what I’m doing, I give great results, I am really damn good at this.”
And remember: this is not about you! Even your expertise is not about you – it’s always about your audience. How can your knowledge, skills, experiences, and wisdom benefit your audience? Always keep that in mind, and you’re golden.