how to make your business unique
Before we jump into the secret of how to make your business unique – have you heard of Imposter Syndrome’s arrogant cousin, Diminish Syndrome? I’m guessing probably not considering I just made it up, so allow me to introduce you two!
First of all, we are not friends with Diminish Syndrome. It cannot sit with us. I can assure you it was not invited to this party, and it certainly didn’t bring beer.
Diminish Syndrome drops by (usually unannounced, the presumptuous creep!) when you accidentally minimize the shit you’re really, really good at. While you’re hard at work, constantly focused on improving your business, you begin to take your skills, knowledge, and wisdom for granted because they come effortlessly to you.
And then? You just kinda forget you have them. They become an afterthought because they’re so integrated with who you are. And because you don’t actively think about them, you begin to subconsciously diminish them.
All of my clients have one specific trait in common: they don’t appreciate how goddamn brilliant they are. They’ve lost sight of what makes them valuable and relevant in their industries. They get stuck in trends and cliches and The Next Hot New Thing because Diminish Syndrome (the manipulative slut!) convinces them to focus on the skills they lack instead of the ones they’ve mastered. And since you’re wondering how to make your business unique, you might have the uninvited guest at your party.
It’s a pickle, isn’t it, to find the balance between confidence (because you’re an expert) and humility (because you still have so much left to learn)?
The balance comes down to passion. It comes down to an unabated enthusiasm for what you’re already accomplished and a burning devotion to continued improvement.
And passion is never found in what you do – it’s forged in the exquisite fires of why you do it.
Maybe you see a standard in your industry that pisses you off, so you operate in a completely different way to inspire change. Maybe you see a problem in society and your business exists to help solve it. Maybe your work is fulfilling because you see the positive impact it has on your clients or communities or the whole damn world. Regardless of The Why, it’s never about The What.
But passion is a double-edged sword, my dear! Since you’re so passionate, you obsess over mastering your craft and becoming the best you can be. And in the process of immersing yourself to better yourself, you end up with tunnel vision; fixating only on The What. On what your competition is doing. On what you could learn from that shiny new course. On what you’ll be marketing this quarter.
When you’re too focused on The What, you lose sight of The Why. And that’s when Diminish Syndrome (the selfish prick!) quietly sneaks in.
Most entrepreneurs avoid figuring out why they’re in business because self-reflection takes time and energy that they don’t feel they have. Which is a shame, because knowing your why is the most powerful part of your brand strategy. It’s what sets you apart without you even having to try. It’s how to make your business unique.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a potato sack racer, a bonsai tree landscaper, a divorce photographer, a glow-in-the-dark candle maker, a dog manicurist, a nudist business coach, or you make tiny clothes for tiny hamsters – there’s something special about what you do because there’s something special about why you do it.
It’s nearly impossible to kick Diminish Syndrome out by yourself because you often don’t even know how or when it snuck into the party. It’s hard to pull away from the daily grind long enough to get a new perspective and see how everything in your business fits together – like when you’re lost in a city, and if only you had an aerial view you’d be able to see your destination is just a few blocks away.
Or when you have spinach stuck somewhere in your teeth, and if only you had a mirror. (Sometimes when I get started with the analogies it’s hard to stop.)
It’s safe for you to claim the title of expert. It’s safe for you to explore why you’re in business. It’s safe for you to capitalize on what makes you unique. It’s safe for you to zoom out and get a little perspective – you never know what you’ll discover when someone looks at your brand from another angle.