I get it. You’re super dope and overly successful in your career. You have degrees on top of degrees, several certifications, and you kick ass everyday on the job. In a recent study, Black women are more likely to strive than their white counterparts. In other words, the words “settle in your career” is out of your vocabulary. You’re ambitious. Bold. Brave. And do it with swag.
Yet, you’re struggling constantly in your business. Your first thought was, “This should be EASY! I have 3 master degrees. Surely, it CAN’T be this hard.”
Oh, but hunny it is. I’ve been there. As a black woman who started my business in college, because I was able to accomplish my academic goals, I thought getting clients would be easy. Unless you take the same ambitious attitude you have for your career and the same level of enthusiasm you have when you stayed late at work as a way to show off for your boss to get that top-paying promotion, you’ll quit very easily, keeping you from being your own damn boss.
In case you’re wondering, “Who’s this chick?”, I am the founder and design director of The Genius Circle, a full service design company. We specialize in creating custom websites for small businesses and organizations who are committed to building a digitally-engaged, forward thinking web presence.
I’ve been building websites since my parents gave me my first computer when I was 12-years-old. Back then I taught myself. (I was building fan pages for my favorite celebrities, which was all the rage in middle school. I don’t mean to brag but the pages I made of Kelly Rowland and Beyonce back in the day were the bomb.)
I didn’t turn my skills into a business until I was 19 and in college hoping to get some real world experience that would prepare me for work later. I launched my first professional website and caught a glimpse of the reach that was possible from a polished website. My business page connected me to my first international client (they were in London) and helped me snag remote clients across the U.S. I still haven’t met some of them in person. These days, I’m using the knowledge to help business owners launch websites and access the globe. I look forward to getting to know more about you and your business.
If you want to bring in money in your online business, here are four ways to stand out.
1. Be yourself
I struggled with this when I first started my business. I thought I had to be like everyone else to fit in and get clients. Inside, I felt like I was being fake and not showing my potential clients/partners who I really am. I got so caught up in the competition of getting a job in my industry, that I didn’t feel like I had to be my authentic self, while still have that same drive in my business. This maybe a no brainier for many of you, but sometimes we tend to forget.
2. Be transparent and share interests
There are thousands of coaches, trainers, mentors, copywriters and web designers. How in the hell do you stand out online in a sea of entrepreneurs who offer the same services as you? Be transparent and more open about your personal interests. This maybe a little scary to some, but people buy based on the connections and common interests they have in you. Two years before I hired my business mentor, I found her through a blog post she wrote about her solo travels to Europe. I was in the middle of planning my own solo trip to Europe and started following her blog as a how-to guide. Two years later, I signed on as one of her high-paying clients. I didn’t want to hire just any business coach. I hired someone that I can connect with.
3. Tell your story
People also connect through stories. Share how you got started as an entrepreneur. You can even talk about your childhood (even if it was horrible), who you look up to, what made you get into the industry you are in today, and what/who inspires you to keep going.
4. Get online and stand out
The first time I met my coach face-to-face was at a Mastermind Retreat, after I hired her. This is because she made an effort to stand out. Another no brainer. It’s extremely difficult to have an online business without an online presence. An online presence is a website that reflects who you are and your true self as a Black business woman. Stand out online by telling your story and sharing interests in your bio and on your blog.
Speaking of getting online…