Ironically, I started writing this blog a while ago, but didn’t think it was good enough to be posted! That just sums up how much pressure we put on ourselves to only post stuff that is 100% curated and perfect. Yet, that is so not what I am about. So, I’ve rewritten it to reflect how I feel I want to portray myself as an entrepreneur and business woman – and I can reveal that it is NOT perfect!
I hate it when I spot typos in something I’ve written, or I’ve missed out a word. But why exactly? I’m not saying that it’s totally fine to just leave all sorts of silly mistakes in your Instagram or Facebook posts or tweets or whatever platform you are on. Or that your blogs shouldn’t be well-written. Of course, you should take the time to proofread, but we need to forgive ourselves for tiny insignificant mistakes like that. In the grand scheme of things, they really don’t matter.
What about bigger mistakes then?
Well, depends on the mistake obviously. If you’ve gone and done a PR faux pas then you need a PR expert to get you out of trouble. Or if you haven’t delivered a product on time then that is not an easy mistake to forgive, especially if you aren’t honest about it. But if we’re talking about mistakes or inconsistencies that make you out as less perfect on social media for instance, don’t worry.
In fact, showing your audience that you are human will only add to the story of your brand. I’m talking as a solo entrepreneur here. If you’re a one-woman band, your clients/customers are going to want to get to know you. Once you’ve told your story and they’ve seen you as a real, actual person, they will forgive small mistakes or imperfections. If your product or service lives up to what it promises and you have a strong brand then human mistakes are always forgivable.
Social media wabi-sabi
As a brand stylist, you'd think I'd have a curated Instagram grid, but actually, I prefer it imperfect with a reference to the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi. I'm in love with the idea of wabi-sabi. There is no direct western translation for wabi-sabi, but essentially it is the art of finding beauty in the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. And I'm really good at that!! I'm not just saying it because I don't have the skills to make my Instagram grid perfect *ahem* (I don’t!).
Connecting with your audience
For me it’s not about being perfectly portrayed on social media, it’s about connecting with your audience. You do that by having a consistent message and a consistent look that people recognise and trust when they hear/see it, so they are encouraged to engage with you (obviously, you have to engage back as well, this cannot be underestimated).
You could argue that an Instagram account built on a template does show consistency – and of course it does – but does it show substance, authenticity and personality? I’m not sure. As an entrepreneur, working alone, I want my ideal clients to see me for what I am and who I am. Ultimately, they will be working with ME! I am never going to be perfect, and neither is my Instagram feed, because if it was, it wouldn’t be ME! This goes for all social media platforms, Instagram just happens to be the one I am most familiar with.
What does your ideal client expect from you?
What it boils down to is who your ideal clients are and what they expect from you. When you sell products, maybe they do expect perfection, but I would still argue that if you have shown the person behind the brand, then imperfections are forgiven. You are still credible if you are just honest about your mistakes and own up, rather than cover up.
Maybe I’m just writing all this to tell myself that it is okay to make mistakes sometimes. I am an entrepreneur managing all the roles that working on your own brings with it. I am a mum, a wife, a sister, a friend. And I am a human being, and sometimes we make mistakes, and that is okay. So long as we keep moving….
"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."
- Conrad Hilton
So, forgive yourself your mistakes and move on. Good enough is good enough sometimes, and when your brand is built on authenticity and is consistent in what it communicates, your ideal clients will still be there in the morning.