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Women in Business: Is Your Business About You or Are You About Your Business?

ladyI don’t typically blog. I know I should blog more, but I simply don’t… As a marketer, I know I should blog often and about all sorts of things – my work, ongoing projects, clothing, food, gas prices – whatever is relevant to my audience and promoting my business. I know blogging is good for the health of my SEO and allows potential customers to learn more about my process and services.

Still, as a business owner, I’d rather be focused on my products and my customers. I prefer to let my work speak for itself, rather than explain why it works. Additionally, I’m really quite introverted so discussing openly the ideas wiggling about in my brain for the whole world to read doesn’t come naturally. Right now, I’m feeling a certain level of anxiety about even typing this entry.

As an adult, I’ve come to understand that anxiety is a symptom of a problem or conflict. Whenever I encounter it in my daily life, I pause to consider what is throwing up the red flag of nervousness. In this case, I had begun blogging with the idea that I’d focus on my budding vintage clothing endeavor – The Porcelain Cat. My concept was to discuss how my clothing choices affect other professional’s perceptions of me and my brand, but the more I struggled with this topic the more I began to realize…

Am I about my business, or is my business about me?

Each entrepreneur, at some point, has to make the decision to accept a high level of risk and become independent of a system that prepares us for a life of subordination to a “boss”. Please, allow me to underscore the HIGH LEVEL OF RISK involved in starting a new business. You basically have to be totally crazy to think it’s a good idea… Not everyone succeeds and, in fact, most fail. A smart investor many even anticipate failure to gain market perspective. Yes, you must FAIL in order to SUCCEED. Crazy, right?

My strategy in running and promoting my business has always been about a focus on transparency, quality products, and customer satisfaction. It has never been about promoting myself. When I develop a marketing campaign, a web site, or graphic branding project – I only consider the client and his or her business context. I don’t really care if I win an award, achieve some level of fame, or even if anyone knows the work is mine… All I care about is the project and its success. I’m prone to extended periods of deep depression if I feel I have missed the mark, but not if my name isn’t on a website or plaque somewhere.

So, with this long-standing precedent behind me, I simply could not switch gears to promote myself as the “face” of a clothing brand. While I believe the unique garments I offer through this project are strong enough to stand on their own, I also recognize that a dress is just a dress until a woman wears it and brings it to life. A dress cannot hurt you or impact your life, until you put it on. Just as a 1950’s gown cannot cause distraction during a business meeting unless you wear it there, likewise, it cannot score you a new deal or make you memorable if you neglect it.

For many professional women, their businesses become like that dress. You must drape yourself with it, accept some unflattering angles if you love it, and be aware that it may or may not cost you. If you leave your business hanging neatly in a closet, nothing bad can ever happen to it or you except degradation… but, it doesn’t do you any good either. You must be active in the care, preservation, and utilization of your business. You must, also, decide if you are wearing the dress… or if the dress is wearing you. Is it a garment, accessory, or costume?

With this blog post, I suppose I am asking my readers to participate in my thought process… How do you exemplify your business? Is it designed to promote you as an entrepreneur, or do you design your day to promote your business? One or the other isn’t really a good or bad choice, but a difference in strategy.

Are you a Coco Chanel? Martha Stewart? Oprah?

Or are you a Mary Barra? Sheryl Sandberg? Virginia Rometty?

For me, I’m just Rosie and these are the things I do to help you. How about you? Discuss.

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