This was a recent post I wrote on perception in business for Flying Solo, of which I am a regular contributor. It’s a great place to find information on how to run a better business as a solopreneur. There are a lot of really talented business people and writers over there and I’m blessed to be in such esteemed company. Let me know what you think!
I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone the other day, having a very Sex and the City–style chinwag, as women do, and something she said to me just about made me fall of my chair. She said I was ‘fearless’. Fearless?
The Oxford Dictionary describes fearless as showing lack of fear. I’ve never really thought that applied to me.
But when I think about it, I guess I might be because while I’m absolutely packing it on the inside – my stomach full of anxiety, knots and doing better flips than Alisa Camplin on the slopes – my face is brave, my words courageous, my exterior together.
“I have faced fears I didn’t even know I had and not without feeling the full wrath of sheer terror. “
(The operative word in the dictionary description was ‘showing’ lack of fear, right?)
It seems ‘fearlessness’ is all about perception.
I know ‘authenticity’ is a big buzz word these days and it seems that ‘faking it till you make it’ is a bit out of vogue. But perceptions are still everything in our world and sometimes you need to make that work in your favour.
Here are three suggestions I have for you:
1. Appear bigger than you really are
You might like being a one-man (or woman) show and that’s great. But if you’d like to grow bigger, then you can start by using words to appear bigger than you are now. I did this by accident (using the word ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ on my website) and quickly (perhaps in a self-fulfilling way?) grew a virtual team.
‘We’ is not a lie when you use it these ways:
- “We have clients all over Australia.” (So long as you do.)
- “We are global.” (If you have product sales or downloads from around the world.)
- “We are located in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.” (If you use contractors who live in these cities and could potentially meet with a new client if need be.)
Other ways to appear bigger than you are (it’s all about perception, right?):
- Get a 1800 or 1300 number or an answering service.
- Get a post office box in the CBD and have it redirected to where you actually are. (I remember reading that Lisa Messenger did this when she first started out in business).
- Give yourself a fancy title on your business card. (If you even have business cards any more. All the cool kids are using social media to connect straight away and are doing away with biz cards.)
- Hire a VA/PA to handle your inbox and reply to messages on your behalf.
2. Create a super-targeted following
Niche down early in the piece and try to work with only your ideal clients. For example: if you only work with established small businesses in the fashion and beauty industry say that. It creates a perception that you have so much work you can only work with a certain few. A nice side-effect of niching down is working with like-minded people who love you, refer you and pay their bills on time. When you don’t work with your ideal clients, things rarely work out and no one ends up happy.
3. Perception – Look the part
Start with your website and ensure it has a proper lead generation strategy and sales funnel. Make it really chic and professional. Add a blog and start talking about your passion and why you are in business, then push it out to all of your social streams. This is a sure-fire way to become an expert in your field and it will open up so many business opportunities such as speaking, presenting, guest posting and being interviewed by the media or on podcasts.
Perception – it happens anyway, so why not help it along a little to grow your business and profile?