You first need a website and business cards. Without these, there’s no point going out to network or engage others with what you do. Right? Wrong.
Before I got a functional website and business cards, I used good old social media and physical networking to get my name out and meet new people. And I relied on an insight into human psychology called first impressions. Just like me, by the time people I’d met and interacted with wandered over to my website, they’d already decided whether they liked me or not and whether they wanted to work with me. We almost always make up our minds as to whether we’re making a purchase long before we step into a store or listen to a sales pitch.
I do believe in websites as valuable real estate and business cards as important calling cards, but I don’t believe in waiting. While branding was taking place and my website was being created, I started to work the streets. I didn’t want to fall into the tempting rut called, perfection. In my day to day work, I come across many who will not make a move unless and until their website is complete and perfect.
Thing is, for the entrepreneur 0 to 3 years in, your website will be a work in progress until you finally settle on your niche. You will likely have more material to add to it, different messaging, and a clearer direction than when you first began. The first website although perfect and beloved in our eyes is usually a hot mess of contradictions with niche, target market, and offerings.
I have seen many job titles and positioning statements change over three years as one becomes more specialized in his/her role. As much as you believe that you are specific in the beginning, you soon learn that you are as generic as they come and it becomes vital to your business success to find your single narrow lane.
A website and business cards are important. But more so is your ability to get out and consistently connect. It is through my daily interaction with others that I learned how to position myself. I used their body language, questions, comments, and suggestions to guide me to that place where I belonged.
I threw myself into functions with people whose work and success intimidated me just so that I could learn from their reaction whether I was clear in my messaging or not. That’s what I’d advise you to do. Forget appearing perfect and as a subject matter expert; go for real life experience and feedback so that you can quickly get to the place where you are confident and can speak to the value you bring into others’ lives without a crutch.
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