Have you ever felt like your business isn’t resonating with everyone? That’s perfectly fine! I’m here to remind you that it’s not only okay but essential to focus on being your authentic self in business. Today, I want to share with you why it’s crucial to build a business that’s a true reflection of who you are, rather than trying to please everyone. Join me as we delve into the importance of authenticity and how it can lead to a more fulfilling and successful entrepreneurial journey.
179. You Don’t Need Them To Love What You’re Doing [Monday Motivation!]
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- The importance of authenticity and self-belief in your business journey
- Insights on detaching your personal worth from your revenue
- Reflections on the impact of seeking external validation
- A critique of aspirational and lifestyle marketing in online businesses
- Personal stories and advice on staying true to yourself in business
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Embracing Your Authentic Self
As entrepreneurs, we often fall into the trap of seeking validation for our business, whether it’s through positive feedback or fretting over the negative. I’ve learned through my own journey that what truly matters is staying true to yourself and your vision. Your business should be an extension of who you are, not a mirror of what you think others want to see. By embracing your authentic self, you attract a community that respects and appreciates you for your true self.
Detaching Self-Worth from Revenue
One of the biggest misconceptions in the entrepreneurial world is equating business success with personal value. Whether your business is soaring high or facing challenges, your worth as an individual remains unchanged. Let’s shift our mindset from measuring success through revenue to focusing on the impact and value we bring through our authentic work. Remember, your revenue is not a reflection of your personal worth.
The Downside of Aspirational Marketing
In a world where aspirational and lifestyle marketing dominates, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. I urge you to focus on the substance and value you offer in your business, rather than getting caught up in the materialistic aspects of marketing. Authenticity in your branding and messaging not only sets you apart but also fosters a deeper connection with your audience.
As we wrap up, I encourage you to reflect on your business practices and ask yourself if they truly represent who you are. Remember, the key to a successful and fulfilling business lies in being authentic and true to yourself. If you want to dive deeper into building a legally sound and authentic business, check out my ‘Legally Legit’ checklist and join me in my free legal workshop.
Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey. Hey. And welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen, an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps you legally protect your online business.
So, before you start making business plans for next year, I think it’s really important that we talk about something, you and your business are not going to be for everybody. In this greatest hits episode, I’m sharing a business lesson that I learned from one of my favorite shows, especially my favorite show to fall asleep to, Frasier. Don’t let the validation of any one person hold you back from building your own business on your terms. Be your own biggest fan and you’ll attract people who love you and your business for what it authentically represents. But first, we got to get you to be you. So, I hope you enjoy this episode. I’ll see you on the other side.
So, I don’t know if you’re a before bed T.V. watcher or maybe just as you wind down, but personally, I really like watching sitcoms that are cozy, nice feelings sitcoms that I know I’ve also seen before so that I’m not paying attention before I go to bed, so I can kind of relax, I know what the plot is, I love the characters, they kind of feel like family, yada, yada. So, I kind of feel like that about Friends. I really love Will and Grace. I love Frasier. I love Cheers. I used to watch Cheers a lot when I was a kid. So, any of these kind of, probably ’90s – I’m a ’90s kid – sitcoms, they make me feel really nice before bed.
So, as usual, watching one of these and I was watching Frasier. And the episode I’m going to talk about, by the way, is Season 3, Episode 23 in case you want to go watch it. But I was watching this episode of Frasier and it’s so funny because if you’ve seen it before, you know that Frasier has a radio show, a.k.a modern day podcast. And the radio station decides to run a focus group because they want to learn more about what people like about his radio show, what they don’t like, all this kind of stuff.
So, they bring together this focus group to talk about Frasier’s show. He’s behind one of those two-way mirrors. And everybody who comes to the focus group is 100 percent positive, they have nothing to offer as feedback, they’re like, "Oh, I love that show. He’s so great. He’s smart," yada, yada, except one guy who is the actor Tony Shalhoub, if you’ve ever seen Monk or something like that. So, in this episode where Tony Shalhoub is one of the focus group attendees, he’s really silent when everybody else is going on and on about how much they love Frasier. And the focus group coordinator is like, "What about you? You haven’t said anything." And he’s like, "Well, I don’t like him." And it’s kind of shocking because everyone else is saying how much they love him. And they’re like, "Well, tell us more. And he’s like, "I don’t know. I just don’t like it."
And Frasier, who’s behind the two-way mirror, just loses it, he cannot stand it. And if you’ve seen Frasier before, you know Frasier is super self-absorbed and really into himself, and goes off on these things, and whatever. So, this drives Frasier absolutely crazy. He needs to know why Tony Shalhoub’s character does not like him. So, he actually tracks him down. He works at or owns a newspaper stand in Seattle. And so, he tracks him down, and he pulls up his car outside of his newspaper stand, and Frasier makes his father get out of the car to go ask Tony Shalhoub why he doesn’t like Frasier.
And when he asks Tony Shalhoub, Tony says, "I just think he’s annoying." And so, that’s all he’ll say and he’s just like, "I just don’t like him." So, the dad comes back and tells Frasier, and it’s still not good enough for Frasier to know. He’s like, "Now, I need to know more. Why does he think I’m annoying? Why doesn’t he like me?" So, Frasier goes to talk to himself. He drives this guy so crazy that the guy leaves his newsstand. And in the process, I forget, something happens, and essentially, the newsstand catches on fire and burns down after the guy leaves and as Frasier is standing there.
So, I just think this is a very funny episode, but my brain, the way my brain works – well, one of the ways, one of the many, many ways is that whenever I see pretty much anything, I always convert business lessons out of it. So, when I saw this, it’s so interesting to me because in this episode, I was thinking most people in the online business world, when they would like teach you a lesson out of this, what they would say is don’t worry about the one guy, the Tony Shalhoub, who didn’t like you or thought who you were annoying in your audience or online. Listen to all the others that were in the room, the other 12 in the room who all thought you were amazing. If all these other people love you, then it doesn’t matter that that one person doesn’t love you.
And I thought how that’s the messaging that we’re often fed in online business is, there are always going to be people who don’t like you, so just pay attention to the ones who do. And I was thinking, well, that’s actually not what I think we should do either. I actually think we shouldn’t listen to any of them. Because as somebody now who’s been in business for six years, I was thinking that it’s dangerous also to care about and really pay attention too much to the people who do like you too.
First of all, I mean, I have so many things to think about and to talk with you about today, but I just think that we have to believe in our own businesses and ourselves more than others. And we can’t get that external validation as to whether we’re good people or good enough people. I think this often gets confused where there’s a lot of nuance in this is that it is really important to take feedback about your products, because you want to create products that are really good for your actual ideal customer, not just stuff that you like. So, we can’t kind of have this everyone’s opinion be damned approach when it comes to actually creating our products.
But in terms of building an audience, getting feedback, you’re going to get a lot of positive feedback and you’re going to get some critical or negative or just find out people don’t like you. People sometimes, yes, make very mean comments. That’s very rare, but it happens. And I always say we can’t really pay attention to either, because if we pay attention to all the good stuff, too, we’re still putting our worth and our validation and our kind of North Star in the positive comments. And so, if I’m going to discount the negative ones, it’s not that I discount the positive, but I don’t take them to mean that I’m a good person, or I’m doing a good job, or people like me or don’t like me. Do you know what I mean? We can’t really pay attention to either of the extremes.
I actually say the same exact thing about revenue. With revenue, I always say to myself and to others, you are not your revenue. And so, that means you’re not your revenue if it’s really low. It doesn’t mean you’re bad, your business is bad, you’re not a good coach or a good service provider. And if your business or your revenue is very, very high, it doesn’t mean you’re an incredible person who can go around doing whatever the heck you want and never looking back. So, I take both. I’m not my revenue either way. The revenue is data and it’s feedback as to how well the product is doing, but that doesn’t mean anything about me as a person. It’s not healthy for us to look to anybody else or outside of all this for validation.
I mean, as humans, it’s natural that we all want to be accepted and loved.
And so, I’m always very compassionate towards myself. Something I talk to my therapist about that, of course, you want to be liked. People who say this whole "I don’t care what anybody thinks," to me, and apparently according to my therapist – I won’t speak for her – I remember her saying that that’s a defense mechanism that we put up to say that you can’t injure me because I don’t care. But, really, we do care, which is why you’re saying that. So, I’m not saying "Who cares? Do whatever you want." It’s just that we can’t only think that we’re good or bad based on other people’s opinions, which is why I’m bringing up this example of Frasier, because I do think that the majority of the advice that you’re given would be just pay attention to the good ones, just pay attention to all the people who love you. We’re still putting your value in those other people’s opinions.
In Episode 81, if you haven’t listened to it already, I gave you a pep talk about believing in your business before other people do and being the Philadelphia Phillies of your own business. So, one of the reasons why I really believe in this and why I’m bringing it up is because that’s a great example of you might not have that external validation for a while. You know, if you’re in the earlier stages of your business, you might not be getting a lot of positive feedback. You might not have a room full of people who are loving you. That doesn’t mean that, first of all, you’re not doing a good job and that you’re not very worthy and a good coach. You also can’t act like that because it’s almost like you have to act like you already have a room full of people and show up as if they’re already there in order to then one day look back and be like, "Oh, wow. There’s a room full of people here now."
Sometimes I kind of feel like that’s how my business feels these days. It’s like, I feel like I kind of just showed up anyway and I don’t feel like I acted like there were a lot of people or there was a lot of that excitement, but I just showed up anyway, I didn’t really pay attention to it. And then, now, I kind of look around sometimes, I’m like, "Oh, wow. There are a lot of people here and they have a lot of thoughts. It’s very interesting," and I think that’s a healthier way to approach it.
And so, if you did listen to Episode 81, then you’ll remember that my story about the Phillies was that my beloved Philadelphia Phillies, where I’m from, they were not considered to be a World Series worthy team this past year. To the point where, on the day that my father passed away, actually, one of the last things he said – we were all standing around his bedside talking. I was sobbing and uncontrollable – something about the Phillies. The Phillies were playing the Mets that day, and he said, Phillies win 3-2. They hadn’t even played yet. They were playing that afternoon. He said this in the morning and everybody kind of giggled like, "Yeah, right. The Phillies suck." So, first of all, really weird story alert, the Phillies actually won 3-2 later that day. It was really strange. My father was no longer speaking at that time, but it was really wild to see.
But the point was that nobody expected them to be any good. And looking back on it, one of the things I thought was really, really cool about this year’s Phillies team was that when they got to the World Series, it was like they believed that they were going there all along, and it was kind of everybody else was getting onboard. They didn’t need everybody to be patting their ego the whole season saying you guys are a World Series worthy team or they weren’t the hot team to watch or anything like this.
It was just like, "Holy, the Phillies got to the World Series." And it was like everybody else was getting really excited for them, but they were kind of like, "Yeah. This was the plan. We’re here. This was the plan all along."
So, I really think it’s very important in our business that we look for that within ourselves, that you work on really thinking that you’re good at what you do, that you have a lot to offer, that you’re unique, that you’re helpful and useful to people, and that the right people will be attracted to you and find you, and not that you need to continue to look for people who like you and then try to fit yourself into the mold of whatever that means so that those people will continue to like you.
So, I wouldn’t put my value in those 12 people or so who were in Frasier’s focus group who loved him because, first of all, I thought, "Well, they can change." They can change their opinion. They could change their feelings about us. We say something that offends them, they find out something about us that they don’t like, they change and we can’t control that. And so, if we put our likeability or our approval rating in their hands, then we’re basically saying that we have to keep shape shifting ourselves to fit into whatever it is that they want, which we can’t control and we don’t really know what they want.
We have to have a strong sense of business self in our businesses. What do we believe in? What do we stand for as ourselves, as business owners? What do you want your business’s mission to be? What do you want your business’s values to be? What do you want other people to think about when they hear about your business, when they hear about you, when your name pops up? Not just in terms of your name association, like "I want my name to pop up when somebody think legal for online businesses." But I also want them to think cozy, down to earth, nice, decent person. I want them to think of who I really am. That’s not an image. This is just me being myself and who I am.
And so, I have to have a really strong idea of what I want that to look like instead of letting other people dictate what that looks like for me.
And I think the key is that by getting really clear on what you stand for and what you don’t stand for, you’ll attract people who don’t just necessarily agree with you 100 percent. We’re not necessarily looking for people who just think every single thing that we think and never disagree with us like robots. Instead, at least for me, I want to attract people who respect me for knowing what I want or appreciate that I share my opinion, and that we can have conversation and maybe respectfully disagree or say like, "Oh. I don’t love that thing that she does" or "This thing is a little different than what I would do." but "I really appreciate that she has a good moral compass." It doesn’t need to be me. I don’t need to see me reflected in everybody else.
And I know that not everyone in my audience thinks like me, agrees with me, wants to have a business or a life that looks like mine. I know not everybody is as sarcastic as I am or as dry humored as I am. That’s okay. And I think most of the time, the feedback that I get from people is that they’re just inspired by seeing me be myself, not necessarily because they have every single thing in common. I think that by being yourself and not trying to be like the 12 people in the focus group room think that you are, that you will inspire other people to act more like them. And I think at the end of the day, that’s really what people want to do. They want to be themselves. They’re looking for permission to be more of themselves. Most people are really inspired by seeing you act like yourself. And the people who are not, it’s because there’s something going on with them that makes them feel for some reason it’s not okay for them to act or to be or to express who they really are, and you doing that really threatens them.
So, I really personally think instead of you trying to shape shift and mold yourself into a person who is likable to the people who you’re already attracting, I would just encourage you to be more of yourself and that will inspire you, too, that will help you to attract people who you inspire because they want to be more like them.
So, if I start building my business based on whether or not they like me or agree with everything that I say, I’m not really being inspiring or as successful as I think because that could change, that can really shift. But me being myself, I hope that I, as a person, continue to evolve and change and all this good stuff. But that’s going to change in the point, but the thing that remains steady in the point is that me being myself is what stays the same. Myself and my qualities can change, but being true to myself can be the kind of steady point that inspires other people to do the same.
So, I’m really curious what this brings up for you, what you’re thinking.
I know it’s really hard in online business because there’s a lot of aspirational marketing and kind of lifestyle marketing where you share things that make people want to be in your orbit. But I, personally, think that it’s not all the the crap that we associate it with, which is like, "Oh, she drives a fancy car. She has a fancy house." Yes, there are going to be people who are attracted to that, whatever. But the point to me would be more like people who I’m like, "Wow. I’m so inspired by how she’s so confident, you know, she’s so outgoing, or I love that she just goes for what she wants and she does what she wants to do. She’s really curious." I love people who are curious. I love people who are multifaceted. I love people who are considerate of nuance, and who don’t make sharp, judgmental, harsh opinions about things. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m attracted to, not necessarily people who think exactly like I do, drive the same car exactly like I do.
So, think about how this can come out in your marketing. Where could you stop focusing on creating content from an angle of pleasing other people, so that you think that this is what people want to see versus, really Showing people who you are truly and showing who you are that you’re committed to being yourself and see how that inspires them instead. I would love for us to stop putting our value in other people’s opinions and instead have this within ourselves and let everybody catch up.
So, will you do me a favor? Will you send me a DM and let me know what this brought up for you? I’m very, very curious if it was helpful to you at all.
With that, I’ll make sure that I link to the Frasier episode down below. I’ve also got my legally legit checklist for you down below where you can download the five steps to form your business, get paid, protect your content, and so much more. So, that will be down in the show notes. And of course, my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business as well. Otherwise, my DMs are always open, @samvanderwielen, on Instagram, and I can’t wait to chat with you later this week.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.
Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.
- Episode 81. Do You Really Believe In Your Business? (You’re Not Alone)
- Frasier Episode (S3 E23 – The Focus Group)
- 5 Steps to A Legally Legit™ Business Checklist
If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!
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