I grew up in New England as the daughter of two ministers so modesty and restraint were high on the list of virtues. Promoting and drawing attention to yourself was not something polite girls did. When I first started blogging about 4 years ago I had an anonymous blog that was really just for friends and family and had interesting, stupid, or funny things that I found online. I didn't want anyone to find it or associate it with me - god forbid someone think I was silly!
The idea of blogging and having my image and name online still makes me uncomfortable - but I've learned some important things from both artistic friends who make their livings on project work and from social media friends who put themselves out there all the time, in a wide range of ways. Here's what I've learned:
- In the creative world, business often happens based on serendipity of someone connecting with another's work and then connecting with them which often leads to collaboration. In the creative world that is a large part of how business gets done. The lesson for more traditional businesses is: if your ideas/projects/work is not transparent, business serendipity cannot occur.
- Ideas are what cause emotional - and trusted - connections to occur. Most marketing documents and content are traditionally stripped of emotion and therefore completely unmemorable. Good salespeople in that environment are the ones that need to make up for that lack of connection by establishing relationships. The lesson: if you don't put your ideas - irrespective of your product or service - out there in a conversational way, people cannot make a trusted connection with you.
- It doesn't have to be about *you* per se. The aspect of putting myself out there that makes me most uncomfortable is the underlying assumption that I may be tooting my own horn. What I've learned is that it doesn't need to be about that rather it is just me participating in the conversation and adding my perspective. It is not saying, I am the best...it is just me participating. The people that see and read what I put out there are the ones that will determine whether my perspective is interesting or not and whether it is valuable. For me, knowing that is incredibly useful - if I am not hitting the mark, that is very useful information for me so that I can re-evaluate my thinking or change course - or be inspired by the feedback I get. It's invaluable.
So my advice: Get your ideas out there; make connections; understand how your audience is reacting. It will pay off in unexpected ways.