Next month I’m speaking at an event called Blogger’s Summer Camp. I’ll be part of a panel called The Myths and Realities of Monetizing Your Blog. Speakers were also asked to lead a roundtable discussion on a blogging topic that we’re passionate about, so I’m going to talk about why it’s important to share your story if you want to sell your work.
If you know me at all, you know that I’m pretty good about being upfront and speaking my truth. If you’re an astrology person, you may know that one Sagittarius personality characteristic is being “honest to a fault.” Some call it being blunt. Translation – I can’t hide how I feel, and I don’t really want to. I’m not going to be like, “OMG, this is so awesome!” when it’s clearly the opposite of awesome. Sucksome? I may not shout out how much I dislike the sucksome thing, but I’m surely not going to agree that it’s great. Well, unless you give me a book for Christmas called How to Be More Assertive. Then I’m going to say, as calmly as possible given the rudeness of said gift, “You must have meant to give this to someone else,” and toss the book on the floor. True story. Just ask my ex-in-laws. Seriously…OMG…right? My mother thought the gift choice was hilarious.
It’s not that I don’t have a filter. I do. A really great one, actually. I’m very good at keeping secrets. Just ask…never mind. I’m also usually very good at holding my tongue when it’s prudent to do so. But if you flat out ask me what I think about your idea or your product or what the “realities of monetizing your blog” are, I’m going to tell you. Straight up.
Some people might be offended by my level of honesty. I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone when I’m put on the spot and asked for my opinion. Others might trust me even more because they know that I’m not going to tell them things that I don’t really believe. And you know what? Honestly? The ones that would be offended because I’m not willing to jump on their smiling and nodding bandwagon? I’m not going to want to spend time with them anyway, or be interested in anything they’re selling, or care about their opinions of what I do or think.
Believe it or not, these are the things that crossed my mind when I first saw this beautiful exploding flowers series by photographer Fong Qi Wei on Trendland. Looking at the individual petals of the flowers and seeing how these pieces all fit together to form one beautiful flower made me think about what it’s like to open up and share bits and pieces of yourself to a new friend, lover, or even a potential client or customer.
Sharing at least some parts of you that make you “you” are what sets you apart from everyone else. The unique pieces of the experiences you’ve had in your life are woven together to form a person and point-of-view that’s like no other.
As a creative small business owner, one of the main things that I’m “selling” along with my products or services is myself. When you hire me to help you learn how to brand or market yourself or your work, you’re not just selecting a service. You’re selecting a service and my personal, unique, experience and knowledge. You’re working with me, a person, with my own life and work history and my own personality.
The same is true for you. When people buy your photography, graphic design services, or cool vintage-inspired dresses, they’re also buying part of your story. What are you willing to share with your customers or readers? What are some special, unique things about yourself, your experiences, or your beliefs that would help your audience get to know you better?
If you’re not used to sharing parts of yourself, it can be really scary. When you’re in that place, try to remember this.
We want to know you. That’s why we’re here.