I have recently started to feel more “seen”. Like people are meeting me, either online or in person and saying – “Hey, I think I like you. Let’s connect.” Or “I see you have a need and maybe I can help.” As first I thought it was just a coincidence. But in about a month all of these things happened:
I met a new friend, Happy Fish Owner Jeremy Richards, online and we started a weekly accountability meeting. Then, just a few days later, I met him in person — dropping off his daughter at the same daycare, in the same room as my son!
On a Saturday, I was taking my son to a Birthday party for a friend from his Karate dojo. I had this strong urge to wear a WordPress shirt, even though it’s not typically my first choice. I wore it. Another father at the party (now another new friend!) said “Hey, you use WordPress?”. I explained I make a living using WP! He happened to be a UX designer looking for work, and potentially someone I could hire for some contract work.
I head to dinner with a close friend. We live kind of far from each other, so we connect once a month. Near the end of our dinner she says if I needed any help with some work, she could possibly pick up some Adobe Illustrator tasks.
I went to a direct sales clothing party, on a Sunday. To be honest, I was dragging and not super excited to go… however, I really wanted to support my friend who’s selling the clothes. Anyway, I was there for like 5 minutes when one woman said something I completely connected with and instead of just smiling without saying anything (this is how I tend to be), I loudly said, “Oh, I like you!” and I reached across the table, shook her hand and introduced myself. A nearly instantaneous new friend!
Now, you may have this kind of stuff happen to you all the time. If so, this post isn’t for you.
This post is for my fellow wallflowers… and my extroverted counterparts who may like to be heard, but are still rarely “seen”.
So why am I telling you all of this and what does it have to do with business?
- If people are going work with you, you have to be visible.
- If your business is going to really grow and have impact, you have to more visible.
What “Being Visible” does NOT mean in this post:
- Being the center of attention
- Having a huge Facebook, Twitter or Email following
- Talking the most or the loudest
- Trying to be the coolest or the most perfect
- Interrupting or Bikeshedding
What “Being Visible” does mean in this post:
- Openness to new connections
- Asking for help
- Sharing your story
- Seeing opportunities and jumping on them (even if they don’t work out)
- Showing the messy stuff (which typically means being vulnerable)
- A willingness to look silly or be embarrassed
- Speaking about what’s really important
For introverts, like myself, these things have been a life-long challenge. And, these types of visibility can also be hard for extroverts.
No matter which side of the introvert/extrovert spectrum you tend to, we’re all used to being visible and invisible in certain ways.
“Being Visible” is moving beyond your self-imposed limits to really show up, being open to opportunities and being willing to risk failure, rejection, etc. to follow through on those opportunities.
This is the thing that took forever to click in my brain about business networking, you have to truly show up, see opportunities for connections and then follow up with those connections.
While on the surface this may not seem to be about marketing, it is EXACTLY what this post is about.
The more truly visible you are, the more connections you make, the more people know about you and what you do, the more clients you will have.
Remember “Being Visible” is not an easy path.
- Looking messy is, well, messy.
- Asking for help blows.
- You will not want to embarrass yourself.
maywill want to quit, repeatedly.
- You will have to fight being so damn “independent”.
But the rewards can be epic.
- So many referrals you don’t know what to do with yourself.
- People going out of their way to offer help.
- People sharing you and your message.
- Things just seeming to “fall into place”.
- Support, support, support – on all levels.
Like everything else, it’s all practice.
The more you practice putting the real you out there, the more your brain will allow you expand your visibility.
So go, practice.