I listen to a lot of podcasts (I mean, a lot, a lot!) and read numerous blogs, and I keep hearing (or reading) that words like “authentic” and “vulnerable” are being overused online, specifically in creative businesses. And that a lot of people are sick of hearing them.
I just want you to know: you’ll never hear me say that.
In fact, it kind of pisses me off that anyone would say that those words are overused. If anything, I want MORE authenticity and vulenerability online! It reminds me of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to
make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
It’s easy to be fake online. To be someone else. To only take pictures when your house is perfectly clean (I know I have dirty dishes in my sink right now… anyone else?) or after you just got your hair done (I might be the top-knot queen Monday-Friday).
It takes guts to be your authentic self. Click To Tweet
It takes guts to be your authentic self. We’re so worried that our words or our age or our weight or our dirty studio or whatever else might offend someone online, so we don’t share those things – even if they are “authentically” us.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think we should strive to be our best selves. But that also includes being our true selves.
And when it comes to being vulnerable, well, I think any artist is automatically being vulnerable by sharing their work with the world via social media and blogs, etc. It can be a scary thing. But being vulnerable by going deeper and sharing even more of yourself and your life can be even more intimidating for some.
For instance, I’m 45. But I hardly ever mention my age because the world of thriving artists and (especially) creative entrepreneurship online seems to be a vastly younger crowd. In fact, I heard a well-known podcaster/website designer (who I adore and listen to weekly!) say she’d never work with a woman over 40 because we’re not tech savvy enough to communicate via email. WHAAAT?! 💔💔💔
Umm, I’ve been using email since 1993 and I made my first website in 1995 – a Pearl Jam fan site on Geocities! Anyone else remember Geocities? 😂 Only me? Okay…
But the point is, unfortunately, that it’s statements like hers that keep people from sharing who they truly are. And that’s not only heart-breaking, but it also can hurt the growth of your business.
How? Well, many (not all, of course) people who buy art or other handmade goods really love to know about the people who have created them.
In the old-school art world, you’d go to gallery openings and artist talks, and maybe art or craft fairs, and that was pretty much the only way a patron (or potential patron) could get to know an artist. Of course, artists and patrons still meet this way today.
But the fact that we can let them in even more via social media and our blogs these days is amazing! It allows us the opportunity to create a bond between ourselves and our buyers.
And just to play devil’s advocate with myself and offer a full-disclosure: I’m a total introvert and I do tend to hold back on sharing certain things about my life. So I don’t mean to say that you must share pictures of your messy studio or details about your family or how you grew up, etc. in order to be authentic! I’m saying that when you do post to your blog or social media, it’s best to be REAL.
What I’m saying is: You do you.
Whether you share selfies, or not… or whether you share all the details about your life, or not: it doesn’t matter. But being authentic about what you do share does. By sharing your true self (even in small amounts) and being vulnerable, you’ll attract your dream customers. And isn’t that what all this online sharing is about?
And when they find you and buy from you? Well, that feels awesome!
So here’s to being authentic and vulnerable!