In my world, I talk with/work with many creative entrepreneurs, and one of the most common threads I’ve discovered is that many of us find it challenging to articulate what we do and who we are (present company included). And that’s a problem (and not a small one), since finding a way to be successful passion pursuers is often reliant on connecting with our tribe. So, what gives?
When I was in my early twenties, I remember wanting to be able to answer that question — what do you do? — simply and confidently. I was always slightly jealous of people who could just blurt out a response, no confusion or explanation necessary: I’m an accountant. I’m an advertising executive. I’m a social worker. I’m a veterinarian.
I did have a “real job” back then (I worked in video production for several different organizations) but I also had many other things going on that felt just as important, and actually more so, than my 9 to 5 gig — I was a graduate student, an independent documentary producer, an aspiring author, a workshop presenter for homeless teens.
For my entire career in the nonprofit and eventually corporate world, my day-to-day job was never enough, and I longed for the day that my work and my personal passions would be one and the same, when I didn’t feel as though I had to spend all my free time working on what I really wanted to work on.
Ten years ago, almost to the day, I took the leap to make that dream a reality.
Yet though my work and and personal passions are finally united, I still find myself grappling with how to answer that same question — What do you do?
More specifically, I’m not sure how to clearly convey who I am and what I’m all about so the people I want to work with “get” me and can find me.
Here’s what I do know, though. I don’t want to fit into a box. I’ve got a bunch of different areas of interest, expertise, and passion. I’m rebelling against the notion of having one clearly defined niche. I just want to figure out how to weave it all together.
My goal is that at the other side of this identity crisis I’ve figured out a way to more clearly connect with the people I want to serve and work with, and that I’m moving forward in my business in a direction that’s the most fulfilling, rewarding, and yes, even fun.
So, for now, I’ve only got the long, rambly answer about who I am from a business POV. I’m an author, I’m a speaker, I’m a content creator, I’m a consultant, and I’m a coach. I am equal parts passionate about helping teen girls and young women kick ass in their lives and supporting writers and creative entrepreneurs do their thing. I believe every person can make a difference in the world. I want to be part of that change. Every day.
It’s not all neat and tidy yet, but I’m starting to get there. And I’m starting to realize some of the “rules” around how to market and brand a venture don’t have to be true. Here’s my take:
It’s okay to have more than one “specialty.” If you have gifts to share, why shouldn’t you share them all?
Your “why” at the very core of what you do in the world is the most important thing to get clear on. Your “why” (check out Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why) is what will connect all your various “specialties.”
There is no one right way to market or present yourself. When in doubt, choose authenticity.
It’s fine to change your mind. And to grow. And to evolve. (It would be so boring if it wasn’t.)
You don’t have to get it all right before you start sharing your gifts. Figure it out along the way and share your process with others. It’s a journey…bring others along for the ride.