Why It Pays to be Authentic as an Entrepreneur
By Becky Mollenkamp, PCC
Are you showing up as yourself as a business owner, or are you doing your best to act how you think an entrepreneur should? Do you put on a boss fasçade and censor yourself because you don’t think a professional should talk, write, or behave a certain way?
Been there, done that. But not anymore!
The truth is, there are benefits to being an authentic entrepreneur. That means being true to yourself and your beliefs in all you do, including running your business. It means being you, every day and in every way…even if you means being a little (or a lot) weird, crass, wild, silly, or any other “bad” adjective for a business owner.
Today, I want to share five reasons it actually benefits you and your business to be an authentic entrepreneur.
When you’re authentic, you make decisions based on what your gut and heart tell you is right and natural, not what your brain says is sensible. This means you’re unlikely to do things you don’t want to, and more apt to pursue only what really motivates and excites you.
Running a business this way creates more passion, energy, and drive. When you’re doing what you love, you’re excited to get to work…and that enthusiasm is apparent. It will make you and your business much more attractive to potential clients.
Trying to be some idealized version of the “perfect” entrepreneur requires a lot of work. If you’re acting a part rather than being authentic, you have to embellish the truth or even lie to present the image you want.
When you decide to just be you, things get a lot easier. You don’t have to keep your stories straight or filter what you say to make sure it’s acceptable. Whatever you naturally say or do is an accurate reflection of you, and putting that on display is the goal of an authentic entrepreneur.
Ever hear of the Law of Attraction? In short, it means like attracts like and repels the opposite. What you put out in the world is what you’ll attract, for good or bad.
Your authentic self will appeal to people who are similar to and relate to you, and that’s your ideal audience. It takes much less work to convince those people to buy from you than it does to get you polar opposite to purchase. People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Yes, the real you may turn some people off. But it’s better to appeal to 10 people who “get” you than 100 people who would never buy from you.
Speaking of trust, people want businesses to be honest and transparent (this is most true among younger buyers, who are skeptical of anything that feels like spin or a hard sell).
If your customers and prospects can tell you’re being genuine all the time, they’ll begin to trust you. And, as I said in the last point, building trust is a critical step in converting browsers into buyers.
Far too many entrepreneurs are afraid of being authentic. They worry about saying or doing something that might alienate potential buyers. So they end up being bland and boring facsimiles of every other business owner.
Having the guts to be yourself—warts and all—will set you apart from the crowd. And who doesn’t want their business to be more memorable?
Want to be more authentic as a business owner? Don’t hide parts of your personality or pretend to be something you’re not. Share your passion and let your natural attitude shine in everything you do, from your branding to your social media posts and your networking efforts. Trust that the right people will respond favorably and let go of those who don’t without guilt. Appreciate and nurture the community you build. And do all of that consistently and continually.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be you. Everyone else is taken.”