This whole year has sent me down a path of serious introspection. Being stuck at home and dealing with a struggling business affected by COVID-19 has provided a lot of time to get real with myself. Finding my biggest triggers and blockages. I realized that my internal issues manifested in business lack, scarcity, low vibrations and stagnation. Deep down, for whatever reason, I didn't believe in me or my brand for that matter. Maybe that is because I've allowed the disbelief of others to affect me. Or maybe it's the struggle. In any case, I've lamented over pricing, services, Instagram aesthetics and more. I've allowed analytics and outcomes to truly affect my growth and forward mobility as a business and entrepreneur. Because let's face it, they're one and the same. Seriously, what is a business without the entrepreneur?
On my path of healing and self discovery I learned that one of my biggest issues was my distorted identity. I've modeled my business after many. Wanted to be like so many juggernauts: GirlBoss, Create & Cultivate, Renegade Craft, the list goes on. I was comparing my infant, self-funded business to those brands, trying to be like them. I stalked these brands, did the same things they did, tried to mimic their social media presence and strategies. Until one morning after a 3 mile run. When I finally said "no." I am not, Girlboss, CC, or RC. I am, we are, Sip Shop Eat. We want to be like Sip Shop Eat, a unique, bustling digital community of emerging brands and the entrepreneurs behind them.
As I came to this epiphany I realized that there are probably so many brands/entrepreneurs like me. Struggling to find and maintain their brand identities. Among a saturated market of small businesses clamoring for attention, likes and sales. I realized that what set me a and the SSE Brand stand a part is our unique brand identity. I realized:
The key to our success as entrepreneurs is being ourselves.
Think about your favorite business or brand. Why do you patronize it, because it's the best version of it for you. There may be a million other brands making the same thing at varying price points but you go back to that brand for the one specific thing that that brand offers because for whatever reason it has set itself a part from all the others. Even further, think about your favorite media personality, comedian or Actor or Actress. It's the personality. Truthfully, I've been inspired by these brands and media personalities but they do not define me or my Brand's identify. In order to find and stay true to your Brand identity:
1. Remember and hold onto your why. The first step in rediscovering SSE's brand identity was remembering why I do what I do. Not why I started- because my needs have changed since I started this brand so many years ago. Instead, I remembered that our goal, our satisfaction, is seeing brands grow and thrive. Having even a small part in their advancement is what gives us fulfillment and satisfaction. This "why," has inspired recent content, webinars and even blogs like this. Your why is the fabric of what manifests as your business.
2. Be your authentic self. Who are you? Your business community: customers, followers, email subscribers want to get to know you and your Brand. If your Brand was personified what would his/her name be? How would he/she/they dress? When you post, do the posts resonate with your personified Brand's personality? If no, reject it. Only do what is true, authentic and resonates with your Brand. Is your Brand political? If so, embrace that. By doing this you will attract the community the resonates best with your Brand without being another cookie-cutter version of a Brand that already exists.
3. Let your mission fuel you. Like your why, your mission is what helps you shape your Brand's goals. Our mission is to increase Brand visibility for small businesses and cultivate the entrepreneurs behind them. That mission informs everything we do. If our daily goals don't match our mission, there's no point in doing them.
4. Abandon Outcomes. It's amazing how high you soar when you're not bogged down by how many likes you get. To be honest, abandoning outcomes is an everyday struggle. It's very counter intuitive because obviously I am not, only in business to write blogs that nobody will read but the truth is when I stopped caring about how many views my blog got, I became freer. I simply do my best and forget the rest. The key is to truly do your best. Letting go of excuses, procrastination and broken promises to myself/Brand. Truly showing up and putting my best foot forward allowing organic engagement with all the content I create. I let go of checking likes, analytics or growth (well maybe sometimes). I've committed to sharing the content we create or that inspires us regardless of how well it is received or how many likes it gets.
5. Let your (yes you Entrepreneur) personality shine through. Back to number 2. People want to see YOU. People want to know who they're buying into. You probably have an amazing personality or sense of humor anyway that people need to see. Your personality will take you places. Don't hide it.
6. Go for it. Whatever it is, trust your ideas and make shit happen. A huge part of my personal and business growth has been Books. Books that enlighten, teach and inspire. On this path I got the bright idea of starting a free Entrepreneurial Book Club. Interestingly, it seems like exactly what our community was craving. I was apprehensive at first because there are so many Book Clubs out there. I let that go and went for it and, it worked.
7. Believe in yourself. This one should probably be #1. The truth is no-one will believe in your Brand if you don't. You have to be so convinced that there is a space in the marketplace, just for you. That you belong and you are worth it. Despite the no's, despite the unbelievers, let go of that negative self talk, get granular and Believe.
8. Don't sell yourself short. This one deserves it's own blog. So many small businesses sell themselves short because they feel like they're new and they haven't "arrived." Their following is low so they can't charge or do this or do that. Picasso was Picasso before he was famous. You're you and that's what makes you worth so charge like you're worth it and add tax.
I hope this helps boss babe. You is what the World has been waiting for so be you!