When I started Worx 10 years ago, I had no idea how to run a business. I didn’t have any formal business training, I wasn’t sure how to file legal papers and I sure as heck wasn’t able to replace my income from my full time job right away. What I did have was an idea and a burning desire to live it everyday. I knew I wanted to work for myself and do what I love everyday. So I committed to doing that.
I had been working as a professional in my industry for a few years and was familiar with the idea of being a businesswoman. I knew they dressed in suits, went to meetings and came back and did their duties. The next day they would do the same thing over again. To me, these women were successful. They appeared to have it all figured out and were living the life I wanted. So, the first thing I did when I started my business was buying a suit.
This wasn’t any ordinary suit. This was a maroon suit. I felt special in it. It had a coat and a pencil skirt, both of which were maroon. I had a nice white blouse that I wore underneath of it and when I had this on, I felt like I had made it. I was one of those successful women.
After wearing it for a half a dozen meetings or so, each of which I took out my nose ring and put my hair in a slick back bun, something started to feel off. I was uncomfortable wearing it. I hated putting on pantyhose and the more I saw the color maroon, the more I hated it. I felt like a fraud. I was putting on a front based on what I saw and felt was “success.”
It didn’t take me long to realize that this was not for me. I’m sure there are lots of lovely maroon suit wearing ladies out there that are killing it! You go girls! But for me, I had to put the suit away. I started dressing more like a creative professional. My fav – blazer and a graphic t-shirt, WITH my nose ring. The more I started to dress like myself, the more I started to talk like myself. The more I talked like myself, the more I attracted clients that appreciated me for who I was and what I could offer them. I went from being uncomfortable and attracting the wrong clients to feeling confident and attracting the best clients.
What are you doing in your business that feels like it just isn’t you? Are you putting on a front, feeling as though you have to impress someone with a version of yourself that doesn’t truly exist? Are you following a business model that someone else is using but feel a disconnect with it? Are you marketing in a corporate way when you’re really light-hearted and funny? Are you wearing a suit when you should be sporting your favorite fashion? Are you offering a service that you really do not care for and keep thinking about the one you wish you were?
Anytime you feel a disconnect with your business it’s an opportunity to dig deeper and get in touch with who you really are and how you want people to experience your brand. The beautiful thing about being in business for yourself if you do not have to follow the “business rules.” There are absolutely some best practices to adopt, but when it comes to building your business, you have an opportunity to create it in a way that you want to work with people. You can create your tone, your look, what you offer and how you offer it. Your business is unique! Why try to be like another business when you can be like yours. Be a poster business for what others strive to be. Show your courage to be different. Create a culture that is magnetic and inspire others to do the same. Just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean their path is right for you. By staying true to yourself, you will create your own unique path to success.
I donated that ridiculous maroon suit. Today I’m sporting me, and that works.