As I enter my 37th week of pregnancy, I’ve been spending most of my time and brainpower just getting ready.
Tying up loose ends. Battening down the hatches.
Blogging has taken a backseat to breastfeeding classes and labor bag checklists. But that doesn’t mean I intend to abandon you. I’ve lined up an excellent roster of women bloggers who will be sharing their voices during the month of April.
Here’s what (and who) you can expect:
• March 25: Author Kristen Fischer on Moving Past the Fear of Self-Promotion
• April 2: When I Grow Up Coach Michele Ward on The Exceptions to the Rules
• April 8: Life coach & writer Kate Courageous on Digital Sharecropping
• April 18: Copywriter Ana Ottman on Three Ways to Develop Your Voice
Are you excited? I am! I’ll keep you posted – but if you need to get in touch, please be patient with me as I enter this new stage called motherhood.
To succeed at marketing, and business in general, you have to be willing to embarrass yourself.
I’m not talking about wearing a mascot costume and handing out coupons on a busy street corner. I’m taking about owning up to all the things that make you human: the idiosyncrasies that don’t fit your ideal brand. The failures you wish you could sweep under the rug.
Make Me Worry You’re Not OK
A friend who’s writing a memoir recently shared an article on this topic. In “Make Me Worry You’re Not OK,” Susan Shapiro talks about assigning her writing students an essay on their most humiliating secret:
Over 20 years of teaching, I have made the humiliation essay my signature assignment. It encourages students to shed vanity and pretension and relive an embarrassing moment that makes them look silly, fearful, fragile or naked.
You can’t remain removed and dignified to ace it. I do promise my students, though, that through the art of writing, they can transform their worst experience into the most beautiful.
Perfection, Shapiro implies, does not lead to compelling stories. Nor does it help readers identify with you. Rather, it just raises people’s defenses. Continue reading
Back when I was struggling with my blog’s direction, I came across this quote from author Richard Wright. His words have been echoing in my head ever since.
“I have found that to tell the truth is the hardest thing on earth. Harder than fighting in a war, harder than taking part in a revolution.
“If you try it, you will find that at times sweat will break upon you. You will find that even if you succeed in discounting the attitudes of others to you and your life, you must wrestle with yourself most of all. Fight with yourself. Because there will surge up in you a strong desire to alter facts, to dress up your feelings.
“You’ll find that there are many things you don’t want to admit about yourself and others.
“As your record shapes itself, an awed wonder haunts you. And yet there is no more exciting an adventure than trying to be honest in this way. The clean, strong feeling that sweeps you when you’ve done it makes you know that.”
Yes yes yes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty lately, and how it applies to my personal brand.
Honesty can be great for branding. It helps people connect with you and empathize with your message. But honesty is not always comfortable. And it’s not always wise.
Example: most small business owners struggle with money at some point in their careers. But share your struggles with a customer who’s about to make a purchase, and you introduce doubt:
“No one else is buying from this person? There must be a reason why. Maybe she’s not as good as I thought.”
My money struggles ended years ago, thank goodness. But lately I’ve been struggling with other things. Questions like:
• What am I doing with my career?
• Where do I want to go with this blog?
• How am I going to sustain all this, when I have a baby on the way and little desire to do anything except curl up on the couch with some embroidery thread and a half-finished crib blanket?
How I Got Here
I started this blog because I felt alone in my experiences with marketing. I wondered who else felt that way, too. So I shared my mistakes. I recorded podcasts about my feelings. I posted journal entries and vision boards. It felt scary but good.
Then I got a 9-to-5 marketing job. And things changed. I no longer just wanted to share my experiences. I wanted to prove myself as a savvy marketer – someone worthy of the six-figure projects that filled my schedule. I wanted to get a raise, dammit, and add the word “Senior” to my title. Continue reading