How much do you expose?

As a business owner, especially if you’re in the service industry, you sell yourself.

Yes, there is a specific result you provide but what sells, or not, is you.

People buy your strengths, weaknesses, challenges, faults, the way you think and your quirks. This is what makes you unique. It is what enables you to stand apart from other people who do the same, or similar, thing as you.

People want to know what they’re buying before they buy so it is vital that you let your clients get to know you. I advise my clients to be open and to share whenever they can. One place you can do this is through regular newsletters, in blog posts, and in the examples you use when you write or speak.

But I’m telling you, sharing openly can get weird. I’ve walked into the supermarket and someone I had never seen before walked up to me and congratulated me on a 5K I had just run. Turns out she reads my weekly newsletter and I had written about the 5K.

So I’m often asked, how much do you share, especially with people you don’t know.

The answer is a lot. Think of it as talking with a good friend. What would you tell them?

I share openly in my blog and newsletters as often as I can. For happy and exciting things it’s easy. For the other things not so much, yet what people thank me for is the tough stuff.

My son Eric is college age but decided after one semester that it wasn’t for him and withdrew. He got a job at a local deli. He puts in a full forty hours a week. He’s getting paid and works hard. He’s really good at his job and was just given a raise. My guess is that he’ll go back to school in a year or so. He needs to figure some things out first.

This is not what I wanted for him, actually more to the point, it’s not what I expected but it’s where he is. It took a few weeks before I wrote about it, not because it was a secret but because I had to process it before I could make it public knowledge. You know what happened when I shared it? I had several people thank me for normalizing it. Their kids were going through similar things and by my sharing what was happening, it made it easier for them.

Here’s another example.

I was faced with a tough personal decision recently.

I was scheduled to leave on a ten-day trip with my husband to see our daughter who had been out of the country for seven months. Our plan was to leave our sons home (they're 19) since they were both working and could easily fend for themselves.

Less than 24-hours before our flight I got a phone call that Eric had a serious bike accident as he was riding to work.

As I sat in the ER with him I told the doctor about our upcoming trip and asked her what I should do. Her response was “There’s the medical answer and then there’s the Mommy answer. Medically he will be okay but needs someone around and will need to see several doctors over the next few days. As to the Mommy answer, only you can answer that.”

I scrambled to make his appointments, arranged for my mother to stay with him and for our neighbor to drive them to the appointments. I got on the plane the next day. I was confident that he was going to be okay medically yet, as his Mommy, I had tears in my eyes when we got on the plane and didn’t fully relax until I spoke to my mother and got an update from her and the doctors he had seen. To be frank about it, as a mother, I still question my decision.

None of this was a secret but I was not ready to talk about it. For me the emotions were too raw. I hadn’t processed his accident or having to decide whether or not to go on our trip. I simply wasn’t ready to talk about it. My very close friends knew what was going on but I didn’t share anything publically, in my newsletter, on Facebook or anywhere else, about his accident for several weeks.

Things are not always easy but by being open I help everyone recognize that we all struggle at times.

People always tell me that they see me as being real. It’s one thing that attracts them to me. It’s a reason they decide to work with me. I tell it like it is. I’m open and honest about my life and what I see for them.

Think about your life. What experiences have you been hiding? How could they help someone?

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Greene is a speaker, author & business coach. She is a business strategist & who helps entrepreneurs get clear on what they want and creating simple plans to get there. She is the author of "Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm & Procrastination So You Can Create Ultimate Profit!" Resources at http://www.carriegreenecoaching.com