I’m not much of an artist— at least not in the “Wow, she can paint a masterpiece” sort of way.
As creative as I (think I) am, hand me a paintbrush and I’ll be looking for the nearest large wall to cover. With one color.
I can trace a drawing like nobody’s business. However, last I looked, there weren’t any famous tracings hanging in the Louvre.
The fact is, an artistic masterpiece is always created not only out of mechanical skill, but passion and heart. And you simply can’t borrow anyone else’s heart.
It’s the same in business.
Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, one thing has become clear to me: the most successful of them create products and services out of passion and heart.
As a small business owner, you are an artist, creating for your Muse (your ideal customer).
Yet, so many business owners seem eager to find the ‘right’ way to do things. It’s easy to believe someone has the blueprint for success— especially when you’re reading a sales letter that screams, “I have the blueprint for success!”
But you can’t trace over someone else’s work and call it your own. Scratch that: you can, but it’ll be so dull that even YOU won’t want to work with yourself.
So if you’ve found yourself stuck in your business— either on the hamster wheel of keeping up with projects that don’t excite you, or just starting out in business and unsure of your direction— heed these three tips and you’ll be creating your very own business equivalent of a Mona Lisa in no time.
1) Consider your website your sacred space and design accordingly.
Think of your website as a custom home. If you were building such a home, you’d hopefully include such common elements as a foundation, a front door, a kitchen, and one or more bathrooms.
Beyond that, you could go pretty crazy with floor-to-ceiling windows, interesting nooks, and any other details your budget and imagination could afford.
Your website is the same. You need the basics: an easy way for people to join your email list, contact you, work with you, pay you, etc. (emphasis on easy).
Beyond that, your website is your domain (pun intended).
Try to imagine that there are NO other fabulous websites out there for you to imitate. What could you or your designer create that none of us has ever seen before?
Strive to produce that space. Let the copycats copy YOU, not the other way around.
2) Use YOUR voice at every touch point of customer interaction.
Talk how you normally talk.
The reason for speaking in your own language is not only because people can spot a fake a mile away, but because you will draw your ideal clients and customers to you by being who you really are.
A suggestion: before writing anything to your readers (emails, blog posts, social media updates, etc.), pretend you’re writing to a good friend.
Use the kind of language and sentence construction you would use if you were sending your friend an email. Share from the heart, instead of fearing you’ll be graded poorly on a school essay (bonus tip: you are now free to break the rules of grammar if it makes your message punchier!).
3) Know the difference between ‘authenticity’ and ‘value-added authenticity’.
Okay, this one isn’t really about artistic quality, but it’s important.
Web 2.0 has created an outlet for some entrepreneurs to share every detail of their lives with us. While I advocate honesty, I don’t see the purpose of sharing the deepest, darkest nights of the soul with your clients and customers.
Unless you’ve overcome a significant or common challenge, and you’d like to share the solution. Then, good on ya’. Give us a hand out of the deep well we’ve fallen into.
Other than that, please save your mental breakdowns for your close friends and loved ones (bless them).