Contributed by Kady O’Connell, founder of Kady Creative, which helps passionate businesses succeed with strategic branding, powerful websites, and click-worthy content. Kady was a recent Dare to Startup podcast guest where she discussed the various processes that go into running a successful startup, including how to handle e-mails, quarterly planning, team communication and more.
As an entrepreneur running a business, you must overcome the fear of growing your brand online. Over the past decade of working with clients to build their brands online, can you guess what’s the number one struggle I see?
- It’s not about poor time management
- It’s not about having the right team support
- It’s not even about having the right skills and knowledge for content creation
The biggest obstacle I’ve identified in clients is the intense fear people have of putting themselves out there. Most times, they are entirely paralyzed into a state of inertia. They have no idea what to say, how to say it, or where even to start.
Can you relate?
To inspire hesitant entrepreneurs to action, I’ll share a few trade secrets to help you break down this barrier and overcome your fear of being seen and heard. These four tips will empower you to grow your brand and make a huge impact online.
1. Inelegance happens
If you aren’t embarrassed by your first iteration, you started too late.
That’s right: You will not do this perfectly. And there is a lot of comfort when you accept that you don’t have to be perfect and instead see everything as a learning opportunity.
Whether you want to run a Facebook ads campaign, approach your dream clients directly, or create organic content for your social channels, chances are the first few attempts will be lackluster. And that’s OK. The only way you will learn what works is by getting started and learning from the data. Check your analytics, and reflect on which posts are doing well and not-so-well each week. A key point in any data collection: You need enough data to make it accurate. This brings us to our next point.
2. Consistency, consistency, consistency
Consistency is truly the key. Have you heard of the “mere exposure effect”? This is the fascinating phenomenon by which people will grow to know and like you through mere exposure to you. It works because exposure increases familiarity, and people like what’s familiar to them.
If you’re not taking advantage of this no-brainer psychological business advantage, then it’s a huge loss for your company and its growth potential. By merely showing up each and every day and getting in front of your audience, they will grow to like you. Read that again!
3. When you look good, you feel good
A significant barrier people have to putting themselves out there is the lack of a strategy and the lack of brand or social style guidelines. I highly recommend you either define these key elements for yourself, or better yet—get help from a trusted expert. Having established branding and a strategy is like going to a party in your favorite dress or suit: You just feel better.
If this has been holding you back, get some help. Implementing a strategy with defined brand and social style guidelines will give you the confidence to put yourself out there. It could be as simple as consulting with a stylist or purchasing new lighting so that you can take photos or videos you’re excited to post.
4. Choose strategies and platforms wisely
Focus is the key. You’re much better off focusing all of your efforts on one or two key strategies and executing them thoroughly than overwhelming yourself by trying to do 10 things at once. Don’t do something just because you think you should or “everyone else is doing it.” It takes time and consistent effort for any strategy to work, so it’s best to be laser-focused.
It can be disheartening to feel behind, overwhelmed and stuck—but there’s nothing wrong with you or your business. You simply have to start moving forward with your strategy, give it time and stick to it. Every single successful brand out there started somewhere: With posts that garnered only a handful of likes and websites with as many visitors as you can count on one hand.
We all start somewhere. The important thing is to just start. You can do this!