Find your voice.

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This post is the first in a series of seven about entrepreneurship. When we sat down to think about entrepreneurship for women, several themes continued to come up in our discussions about struggles that women (and men) come up against when starting their own businesses. 

The first post comes from Emily, and is about the importance of finding your own voice.

Find Your Voice

All of the marketing expertise in the world doesn’t matter if you cannot connect with your client base. Just because you see others using phrases like goddess and diva, or talking about living a crazy sexy life, doesn’t mean you have to. Particularly if you feel like a total moron doing it.

Here’s the thing. If YOU don’t connect with what you are saying, how in the world will your ideal client? And the ones that you do attract with someone else’s message will not even come close to being a good fit. For either of you.

When I was first starting my health coaching business, I used marketing materials and language that was provided by my program. I would get call after call from people who connected with the message, but when they spoke with me, they felt let down. And frankly, so did I.

It wasn’t until I totally revamped every inch of my online space and completely overhauled how I talked about myself and what I did, that I started to attract the kind of clients that got me fired up, excited, and inspired to work with.

Here are some tips to get you started on your journey:

  1. Write. A lot. Through the chatter, you will begin to find your voice. It's deep in there, and sometimes it just takes a few hundred pages to uncover it. I think I wrote 15 drafts for each page of my website and continued to hone it and edit it until it was 100% me.
  2. Share your story. People don't connect with your services or product, they connect with you. It's your journey that sets you apart from the rest of the people doing exactly what you do. They want to know why you got into the business, how it inspires you and keeps you up at night, and most of all, why you care.
  3. Write from passion. Passion begets passion. When you come of a place of excitement, inspiration, positive energy, and happiness, you attract people with those same qualities. I don't know about you, but I'd rather work work excited and inspired people any day.
  4. Keep it personal. I used to think that people would respect my coaching more if it sounded bigger. So I would write about what "we" were up to, or what the company was up to. Instead of just saying what I was doing, or cooking, or working on. It wasn't until I shifted to the latter -- made it personal -- that people started to connect more.
  5. Take risks. It was a huge risk to consolidate three websites into one. And you know what? It paid off. I felt better about what I was doing, and that energy showed through to others. Carrie, Kate and I took a risk starting Propelle. Playing it safe gets you the same tired results that you've had. Taking risks -- feeling the fear and doing it anyway -- allows you to move forward.
  6. Be inspired, not a copycat. Check out website of others in your field, and see what resonates with you. Read books, try to emulate writing styles, and tap into the inspirations in your every day life. But for the love of Pete, do not copy verbatim what other people are doing.
  7. Be yourself! At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be yourself. If you love Hello Kitty, why not use the colors as inspiration for your website? Have a snarky and sarcastic personality? Let that come out in your twitter feed. Despise Facebook and don't think it will help your business? Don't do it! Do what works for you. Others will see this, be inspired, and want to work with you.