WHAT I THINK AUTHENTICITY REALLY MEANS…

Hello, hello, hello. I bet you’re really struggling to guess the focus of this post aren’t you? Yep, you’re right. I want to chat to you about authenticity. And most importantly what it REALLY means to ME. Because at the end of the day, everyone is different. In branding, in business and in life there is rarely a one size fits all, a one-stop shop that suits everyone. And on topics like this, I guarantee that everyone is going to have a different take on it. That’s cool, I love hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions.

So why now? Why do I want to focus on authenticity now? Well, for me, and my brand of course, being authentic is massively important. I’m a huge believer that you should always be yourself. You should never feel the need to apologise for that either. You are strong, passionate, and you are the energy behind your brand day in, day out. You live it. So with that level of hard work, you can’t be anything other than yourself. You have to be true to you, and bring it, show up!

But it’s not just because of my brand values that I want to chat to you about this topic. It’s also because I’ve been seeing it thrown around left, right, and centre. It’s a real buzzword right now, I guess it has been for a while, but at the moment it seems to be everywhere I turn. And I want to help you strike the right balance between being authentic and over-sharing.

The other day I read an article, on a very well-known entrepreneurial website. I always think it’s important to read about our industry or hear from people who’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt – it’s a super-simple way to learn and grow, investing in our skills without spending a fortune.

Anyway, back to the article. The intro was packed full of really, really useful points – not that all of them changed my opinion on what authenticity means to me though!

WHAT IT’S NOT.

Now as I mentioned above, this is all about what authenticity means to me personally, but as with a lot of things, when you’re trying to define something, the best place to start is by thinking about what it isn’t.

Starting at the opposite end of the spectrum from where you want to end up enables you to create a really clear boundary. That’s great. Why? Because if you feel like you’re straying too close to it, you know you need to take a step back, reign it in and go again.

So, let’s get really specific here. For me, being authentic is NOT telling everyone everything. If I’m your ideal client, I don’t need to know all about your personal affairs. I just want to know you’re my kinda’ person and I want to feel inspired by you. The sort of person I’d love to spend time with, who shares my passion(s) and most importantly the sort of person I want to work with, or buy from. Don’t tell me all about the row you’ve had with a pal, or with your husband. Don’t use your business channels to vent about life, the news (unless relevant of course) or difficult clients.

Your ideal clients don’t need to know that. Why? Because it isn’t going to help them. It’s not solving a pain point for them. It’s not making their lives better. And most importantly it probably won’t change their opinion of you! It’s not adding any value. And if it’s not doing any of them, it’s not going to create that connection. They won’t want to get to know you more and in turn, they won’t like you or trust you. It sounds brutal, but that’s just the way it is.

WHAT IT IS.

Right, now we’ve got the negative bits out of the way, we can focus on the positives of being authentic. Ultimately, it all comes down to knowing your audience.

What do I mean by that? Well, think about the rudest joke you know (I’m not giving you any examples in here by the way or I will be penalised by google). Got a joke in mind? Now, think about who would find that joke funny? Got some people? Great (WhatsApp it to them now I dare you). Now, think about people who REALLY, REALLY wouldn’t. Got a few in mind? THAT is what I’m talking about when I say knowing your audience.

You have to pick the right part of your story for your audience. And the right time to tell it. Because if you nail that, and you add value, or solve one of their points, they will love you.

So in my business, and my life, I think it is always being honest. It is sharing those funny stories like your weird obsession (I am addicted to Bourbon biscuits FYI) at the right moment. It is always adding value, and most importantly, it is always being you, unapologetically you.

And it is doing all of those things, when you know you’re speaking to your perfect client, and it feels right in the moment.

TOP TIPS TO BE MORE AUTHENTIC

So as I mentioned at the start of this post, the article I read over at Entrepreneur.com had some really interesting points in there. Points that I completely agree with and ones that I think can help us all be a little bit more authentic.

And now is the time I want to share those with you. Rather than hiding them in a big block of text, I’ve decided to split them up a little bit, into tips, so you can take them in easily.

TIP ONE:

Let go of negative people. I mean, realistically who wants a load of negative people in their lives anyway? It’s a sure-fire way to ruin your mindset and destroy all that positive energy you need to bring, to make it happen.

TIP TWO:

Express your true feelings and emotion. If you want to be authentic, you have to be honest. Play on the marmite factor. Don’t hold back. Does it matter if not everyone likes you? The answer, in short, is no. So why worry about it. As long as your audience, your niche of perfect clients like you, you will build a following. And when you build a following, you will have a group of people invested in your brand, ready and wanting to buy from you. Be unapologetically you, and the authenticity will take care of itself.

TIP THREE:

This is a bit of a given. But motivate yourself. If you’ve launched a business, whether it’s alongside your 9-5 or even more so, if your business is your only job then I guarantee you’ll be doing this already. But while we’re here, we all need a pep talk every now and again. You have to keep the momentum up in your business. Nothing ends with a launch, or a rebrand. They are just the start. Set goals. Challenge yourself. Set them for the week, the month, the year – it’s up to you, but set them and attack them. Then when you smash them, set some more.

So there you have it. My take on what I think authenticity really means. It’s been used an awful lot, but I hope my opinion helps you define what authenticity means to you, and most importantly, your brand.

Good luck on your brand journey.

Nicki x

P.S. If you would like to read the full article (and I would deffo recommend it) you can check it out right here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282836

P.P.S. If you would like to join a free Facebook community packed with authentic, honest female entrepreneurs just like you, head over to my group The B Studio now. Look forward to seeing you there… https://www.facebook.com/groups/2202999876394402/