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It’s a New Year, and if you have ever thought about starting a home-based business or increasing your income by working from home, you have probably spent a considerable amount of your time in 2019 trying to sort out what that would look like in real life. Like, what would you do? What would other people consistently pay you to do – enough for you to sustain your family without sacrificing your lifestyle?
I get it. It’s been over a decade since I first had to carve out life as a single woman (with children) again after a decade or so of marriage. Often, it’s the case with married women, moms, and recently divorced women that you have to make a legitimate effort to figure yourself out again – take some time to sort of “remember” what you bring to the table.
After getting divorced all those years ago, my long-time best friend Ron was the first one to urge me to create an inventory of my assets to help me plan my future and get on with my life. It’s not that I was stuck on stupid or that I didn’t have any plans for my future. But doing something as simple as writing down my hard and soft skills helped me to clearly and objectively see what my marketable skills were.
So, as we focus on building a business and professional brand, don’t even think about your color scheme or which typeface truly represents your brand. First, you gotta figure out what type of brand you’re going to create by figuring out just how valuable you are to the market. That’s what these next few posts will be about.
Welcome to The Value Series
Like It Or Not, You Already Have a Brand
An MIT study revealed we are programmed to make judgments about a person we meet within two seconds of meeting that person. Not five seconds. Not after he tells a funny joke. Two seconds! In two seconds, we make judgments on the person’s intelligence, education, financial stability, friendliness, trustworthiness and a host of other traits based on whatever read we could get on that person within that two-second window. Add authenticity to the list.
Why Brand Authenticity Matters
Authenticity is the bridge by which you are afforded the opportunity to connect with your target audience. It is defined as the quality of being real or genuine. Now, “real” is not the same as perfect. But when you are authentic, you can be transparent, and transparency lends itself nicely to trustworthiness.
Some people mistake credentials for trustworthiness. Facts and figures do not cause people to trust you, even if it helps you get their attention and a little bit of their respect in the beginning. Your credentials tell people what you have the ABILITY to do, but they don’t affirm whether you can be trusted to do it. Most people are more willing to trust people they can relate to.
What Happens When the Stench of Inauthenticity Shows Up
There’s a difference between temporarily departing from your established brand or values and being inauthentic. Each of us has areas of duality with which we struggle as we strive to become better and better versions of ourselves – the woman who quit smoking but bums a cigarette in high-stress situations, the fast food restaurant that leaves the customer waiting 10 minutes for her order. Inconsistency affects all of us, at one point or another.
Being inauthentic, on the other hand, is something altogether different.
Have you ever finished a meeting with someone and had a nagging feeling in your gut that there was just something off about the person you met? “I don’t like that guy,” you say to yourself, even if you’re not really sure why you don’t like him. There is a good chance you are detecting inauthenticity.
As people, we’re wired to be able to gauge authenticity in others. Knowing when others may be trying to hide their real intentions is a matter of self-preservation, right? So, we pick up on those small, barely noticeable inconsistencies in someone’s speech, intonations, facial expressions, body language, and appearance. Inconsistencies in these key areas create “cracks” in the integrity of your personal brand. Those cracks ultimately lead to people not doing business with you and not trusting you.
The truth of the matter is, we do business with people we like and trust. When something in your brand or message is inconsistent with the image you present to the world, it immediately dismantles any trust would-be customers have placed in you, and it gives them a subtle uneasiness about your brand in general.
At the end of the day, the question you have to ask yourself: Can I be trusted to deliver? And until that answer is a resounding, “Yes!”, you face a bit of an uphill battle running a successful, scalable home-based business.