SMA Marketing Blog

The SMA Marketing Blog

Why Authenticity is Key to Growing Your Business

Mar 19, 2018
Share this Article:

"Haters gonna hate." It's true. If you are going to grow your business online, at some point you'll run into people who will try to put you down or push you to conform to their worldview. The key to growing a business and enjoying the work is being who you are! In a world of cookie-cutter companies and copycats, what we need more of are authentic people and brands that aren't afraid to be themselves.

In this video, I share why authenticity is the key to growing your business.

 

Video Transcript:

What's up everybody? Welcome to Hack my Growth. This episode is dedicated to all of you out there who have ignored the haters and did what you love no matter what. All right, let's go. 

The reality is if you've built your platform online, if you've continued to put in the work, inevitably you're gonna come across people that don't like what you do, and maybe feel like it's their duty to tell you that they don't like you, or they think that you should be doing it a different way. That's just the reality of today's world. We've got an internet where a lot of people can anonymously comment and give their opinion without having to own up to who they are, and maybe why they stand for what they stand for.

Now, this has happened to me a number of times, and it recently happened to me again, so I decided, "You know what? I'm gonna make a video about this," because I think it's extremely important for small business owners, companies, and entrepreneurs to understand one thing. You have to continue to stay committed to who you are regardless of what anybody else says. Your biggest asset is you. It's who you are. There's nobody else in the world that's like you, and that's what makes this internet so amazing, because you get to share yourself with the world, but too often people hear the noise, and then they feel like they need to be something else in order to get the attention that they need to grow.

The reality is if you sell out like that, eventually you're going to burn out because you're not going to be able to sustain somebody else's identity forever. That's why a lot of people can't continue to blog, they can't continue to put out offers, they can't continue to manage their business, or keep clients, because they're trying to be something that they're not, and I don't know if you can tell, but I'm not your average businessman, and I've never tried to be. I'm not a guy that wears suits, honestly. I wear gym shorts most days because they're more comfortable, and I'm working on a computer. When I go into meetings, sure, I'll wear my branded shirts and stuff, but no, I don't take out my lip ring, I don't try to hide my tattoos and pretend that I'm something I'm not.

This is who I am, this is who I've always been. I've always been that kid. I remember a kid in high school saying, "Man, Ryan. He's a cool kid, he just dresses really weird," and that's just who I was, man. I wanted to create my own identity for myself, but I went through a period in time, especially my early 20's after I graduated college where I kind of started to fit into a mold, because I thought I had to be a certain way in order to succeed. What happened is I burned out, and I made a lot of dumb decisions because I wasn't being who I truly was.

Well, a couple years ago when I started to take this business on full time I realized it's not gonna fly being somebody else. I don't like me when I'm like that. I want to be myself, and I want to be proud of myself, so I started to work on me, and I started to work on what I believe, and who I wanted to be, and who I really am in my core identity, and I began to use that to position my business. No, I'm not a Fortune 500 guy, that's fine and I'm okay with that. I never wanted to be that. I wanted to be the guy that's in the trenches with small business owners and entrepreneurs who are doing the work, and want to to see growth, and want to put in the effort, and don't want to be like everybody else.

A lot of time it's easy to follow a formula and say ... For inbound marketing, Inbound's great, but if you just follow somebody else's formula it's probably not going to work for you. Why? Because you're trying to do it like somebody else. Anything that you do, it has to be done through your own identity, and through your own lens, and through your own belief system, and through your own culture. Otherwise, it's not going to work, and there's going to be people along the way that are going to say ... I get this all the time. "You don't look like a business owner."

"Great. I'm not trying to. I'm trying to look like me," and you may have people say different things to you. Don't let that distract you from what's important because here's the reality of this. I've got great relationships with my clients, I've got great relationships with my community, and I work to be as authentic as possible. There are times where I'm wrong, and I admit it, and there are things that I don't know. In the past, I used to pretend like I knew. Now, I try to learn something from everybody.

There are people who in the past I did not respect for whatever reason. I just had my own biases, and they weren't real biases because I never gave that other person a chance, but over the last few years I've started to read content from people that I didn't really trust before, and I've realized these people have a lot to offer, and by eliminating them from my pool of people who can help me, I've only narrowed my own growth.

I really want to challenge you on a couple things:

One, I want to challenge you to be true to yourself. Be true to your identity, and don't fall victim to this mass consumer mindset where you've got to fit into somebody else's mold. That's not going to work in the long run. You're gonna hate it, you're gonna be burned out, and you're probably just gonna either quit or have to change something altogether.

And the second thing I want to challenge you in is to be open to learning from other people. There are people out there that don't look like you, or maybe don't talk like you, or act like you, or come from a different area. The reality is we can learn. If we really try, and we position ourselves in the posture of a student, we can learn from anybody out there, and what we learn will influence us in a great way, and allow us to do something that we maybe never thought that we liked before, or maybe we never thought was a powerful thing before.

By doing those two things we allow ourselves to grow, and we also allow ourselves to begin to ignore the haters. They're out there, and they're going to continue to be out there because they can be. I think it's awesome when someone dislikes my video. Great. You should dislike it. If you don't like it, dislike the video. 100%. Give me your opinion, but that's not going to dictate whether or not I do one next week. I'm will do one whether or not people watch it or don't watch it. I'm doing this because, yeah, I hope you watch and learn, but it's also good for me. It's something that I want to do, that makes me feel proud and allows me to share a little bit of my knowledge for the few people or thousands of people, whoever sees it, and that's awesome to me because if I make one difference in somebody's life it's worth it.

Because that's really what this is all about. It's about serving people and making a difference in people's lives. Money is great, yes. Revenue is great, yes. Having a successful business is good, but at the end of the day it's the impact that we make in people's lives that really matter, and I truly believe that and I know that the only way that's possible is being an authentic person, being an authentic human being, and then we can take that, once we've become okay with who we are, we can take that, and we can share it with the world.

I mean, my personality influences my content, influences the videos we do, it influences how I talk to people, it influences the way I manage our team, and how we build our relationships. That's all built from a level of authenticity from one real human being to another human being, and like I said, ignore the people who have something negative to say, but don't ignore positive criticism. Criticism is good, critiques are good if you can hone them in the right way, so if somebody has a positive critique I'm all ears. Tell me my audio isn't good. My intro used to be way too long on these videos, way too long, and a bunch of people would be like, "Great video. Man, your intro's way too long."

Guess what? They were right. My intro was way too long, so I cut it down so we get to the meat of the content way faster. They were right. That was great criticism, and I appreciate all of you guys who told me that. You were dead on. I got sucked into making a cool video intro and I forgot about how long this thing was, but the people out there who comment just to bring you down? Ignore that. They got nothing to add.

Focus on who you want to be. Focus on the relationships you want to build, and focus on providing value to the people who want to see you grow, want to learn from you, and want to connect with you. That's a powerful thing. We've got an amazing opportunity to do that using the internet, so I want to encourage you to get out there, invest in yourself, invest in learning, and invest in doing the best to share with the world who you are, because you're the only you that's out there, and you're extremely special.

Thanks so much for watching. Hope you guys learned a little bit. If you want some more technical advice, we have tons of other videos on that so please check them out here on the channel, but until next time, Happy Marketing, and you rock.

Build a Brand That Connects - Get Your Free Guide 

Share this Article:
Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

Blog Comments

Get Awesome Content Delivered Straight to Your Inbox!

Learn SEO
Help us Help Others

Popular Posts

Related Post

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.