Some people love to stand out in the world … and they’re easy to spot, usually due to the very fact that they love to stand out.
They’re bold and brave and utterly unapologetic. They know who they are, what they want, how they want to “put themselves out there” and they go and do it.
But they are the minority.
For some reason, most of us humans feel a natural inclination to want to fit in…
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We’re scared to “stand out” … scared of being too different, or of making ourselves too noticeable.
We want to be considered normal, whatever that is … we don’t want to be laughed at or ridiculed for doing things differently, or for liking something that isn’t “cool”.
Yet, at the same time, we usually DO want to be noticed … and respected … for being who we are.
So, it’s complicated. We want that perfect balance of being able to stand out from the crowd without having to actually stand out from the crowd.
Because that brings with it that risk of ridicule we so want to avoid.
However … beyond our school days, which we can all be thankful to have put behind us from that perspective, as kids – as we all know – certainly can be cruel … HAVE you actually ever been ridiculed for being different?
And if you were … did you actually care as much as you thought you might?
Hopefully not … because as adults, we tend to be secure enough in who we are, to appreciate that we are not going to be liked … or noticed, or appreciated … by everyone. And THAT is quite ok.
So as adults, we do tend to allow ourselves to stand out a little more … in little ways. Perhaps through our clothes, perhaps in what we admit to “liking”, perhaps in voicing our opinions more readily …
But when it comes to work … and especially when it comes to being self-employed … many of us are still too scared to REALLY stand out from the crowd.
And this can be a big mistake.
The dangers of “fitting in” when self-employed
Think back to the last time you needed to buy a service of some kind.
How did you decide whom to use, or employ?
You probably read their websites, or professional profiles. Looked at their reviews, recommendations, qualifications, and so on.
And narrowing it down to the people, or provider, who offered the exact services you needed, you then probably chose the final person based on something that made them STAND OUT from the rest …
Maybe it was because of something DIFFERENT that they were able to offer … something unique, or something that added a whole lot of value to you, their client.
Maybe it was a more “personal” factor of your own … maybe it was even subconscious, because this is another typically human trait: we are intrinsically drawn to certain people.
Whether it’s because of the way they dress, or present themselves; whether it’s because of how they talk, or write; their beliefs in life, their lifestyle, their philosophies…
Whatever the purpose we’re interested in this person for, we’re almost always drawn to certain people because they have traits that we have, whether consciously or not, associated with being those that make a person perfect for a specific role.
So, what are the dangers of fitting in?
By fitting in, not only are you making yourself look like everyone else … eliminating that difference, that unique offering that makes you more noticeable … that makes your VALUE more obvious …
But you’re probably also hiding your perfect traits. The traits that make YOU the perfect person for that particular client.
HOW to stand out, and the PERKS of doing so …
Firstly, be unapologetically YOU … write in the style that you most enjoy, use imagery that makes you smile … be upfront about your own values, and methods of working. Be honest about yourself, and let it show through all of your work, your marketing, your communication.
Not everyone will like it; you won’t be the perfect person for everyone. But that’s ok. Because you can’t work with everyone, either.
And those that DO choose you, will do so BECAUSE of who you are. Because they like your style, your values, your approach. And THAT means they are probably going to be a far better client for you, too.
And then … be DIFFERENT. Or at the very least, don’t be afraid of being different.
Offer something unique, offer something “extra”, offer something that adds even more VALUE, and you’ll immediately be standing out against the other service providers your potential client might be considering.
And better still, when you’re DIFFERENT … your pricing can be different too.
Price based on YOU, price based on YOUR service, price based on the fact that you’re STANDING OUT rather than fitting in … and reap the rewards of clients coming to you because they know exactly who you are, what you do, and have chosen YOU because of exactly that.