I started rewatching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix, a hilarious coming of age sitcom about high school cliques in suburban Michigan during the early 1980s. The show does a great job of creating real characters, revealing their flaws, and illustrating a time in life that’s less-than-ideal for some. brand
Maybe your confidence isn’t quite on par with Tyra Banks and you’re frustrated that you don’t embody the boldness of some high-visibility online entrepreneurs. The thought of stepping out from behind the computer, getting personal, and showing your face makes you sweat and consider a root canal a better option.
Why do I know all this? Because this shy-my-whole-life-and-finally-gaining-worth-and-confidence-in-my-40s lady is here to say you can create a strong and relatable brand story despite being introverted, quiet, or timid. Just like any new skill, it’s a muscle you need to build—and with the right partner for support and accountability, you’ll have a strong foundation for aligning with dreamy clients, building a profitable business, and having a work-life balance Corporate America never gave you.
Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are quiet or shy, but more of the need to replenish and recoup energy lost from social and professional obligations. (My son is incredibly introverted but advocates when he needs downtime and alone time away from everyone. We joke that he has it figured out at age 14 what takes many of us decades to learn).
What I know is that a compelling brand story is THE thing that hooks the heart of ideal paying clients, builds a loyal following, and increases your visibility. And only you can tell your story in a way that feels comfortable and sustainable to your personality.
So, let’s talk about some ways you can dip your toe into increasing your visibility, owning your story, and confidence that a strong brand story is THE thing that will hook the type of people you want to work with, who are happy to pay your rates. Your audience should feel a comfort level and relatability while valuing your expertise and solutions. Help them get there with brand storytelling.
How to get comfortable telling your brand story, even if you’re an introvert:
- Find your comfort level with personal-professional balance: Not everyone wants to air their dirty laundry on Instagram, or feel like each entry on Facebook should begin with “Dear Diary.” And that’s OK! You can absolutely have a successful business and not be influencer status by building an engaged but mighty following. Start slow by sharing how you started your entrepreneurial journey, what obstacles you’ve overcome, and how they have helped you. You can layer on as your comfort level rises and share about hobbies, interests, families, education, sports, professional wins, anecdotal stories, how you balance work-home life—and you’ll be amazed at the instant comraderie these types of posts bring. The short answer is that this is your business and YOUR story. Take the pressure off, have fun with it, and build loyalty with your people.
- Invest in personal brand photography: I’ve done 2 photoshoots now with the incredible Sarah Waters and I never expected it to give me so much confidence in my business. Getting on video still felt scary but I needed a way to tell my brand story and create an energy that resonated with my people. My brand photos capture my skills and personality and let me immediately grab people and illicit emotion (so important when you have milliseconds to grab people online!) Nervous getting in front of the camera? Bring some friends, play some music, crack jokes and just be yourself. A good brand photographer becomes a fly on the wall to capture the real essence of you and should make the experience low pressure and fun. After all, we aren’t auditioning for Top Model. (See Tyra reference above).
- Outline the brand story you want to tell. We all know the importance of sharing ourselves in this digital world, but for introverts, calling attention to yourself or wanting to be front and center aren’t second-nature. The added feeling of having to “do it all” and “be everywhere right now” can get in your way before you even begin. The beauty of being your own boss is defining what story you want to communicate so your people can easily decide you are the expert to solve their problems. If video doesn’t feel good yet, make a commitment to show your face more on your feed. If being goofy on Reels isn’t for you, commit to doing a monthly Instagram story that lets you practice and gain confidence showcasing your personality. Bottom line is to stay focused and consistent, engage and build relationships, and remove pressure or comparison to how others are doing things.
- Push yourself and don’t stay stagnant. You know that the comfort zone isn’t where growth occurs, so creating a plan to build on your brand story strategy systematically allows you to track progress, boost your self-esteem, and get into a rhythm that begins to put so much ease into your business. Just like training for a marathon, build up to these levels in a way that challenges you but doesn’t defeat you. Layering on top of those wins only motivates you to try new things and claim ownership of your expertise. Grab a coach or accountability buddy that challenges you to say your big goals out loud, show up even when it’s scary, and realize that you only have to be yourself to attract clients.
- Follow patterns that come naturally to you. My guess is that you’re actually a pretty damn good storyteller already—with friends and family in the comfort of your own space and not the prying eyes of the internet. Gabbing about interests and tales about others is a breeze, but when you’re forced to turn that attention onto yourself, cue the red face and sweaty palms. Follow an easy framework like (1) think of what your client is struggling with, (2) a story or experience where you felt similar, (3) how that experience impacted you and how you came out on the other side. Envision that your old college roommate or favorite Aunt is on the other side of the screen and release the pressure to be the most articulate well-spoken person on the internet. Infuse what you’re already doing daily and consider the ways to use it to connect to your people. At home with kids? Have them use your phone for a candid photoshoot that demonstrates not only your personality but also the rawness, relatability, and humanity of being a working mom during quarantine. Building your business as an empty-nester? I want to know all about your hobbies, how you fill time now that your kids are out of the house, and what epiphanies you’ve had at this new stage of life.
Once you play with some of these suggestions, I’d love to know the results! I’ve seen my clients gain amazing confidence and self-trust simply from outlining a plan so they can quit procrastinating and show up with imperfect action.