"The business is not you. The business has its own fans, its own energy. ... You are stunting your business growth by treating the business and you as the same thing, especially if you are a solopreneur."
I jotted this down while I was interviewing Denise Duffield-Thomas a couple of months ago. (You can read that interview here.)
It’s funny that this is the part of the interview that stuck out to me so strongly, since I teach women how to put more “them”—their personalities, tastes, and attitudes—into the way they write for their businesses.
And I practice what I preach. My weekly email isn’t written by censored, careful, “business-flavored” me. (She went out with the Goodwill bag full of office-appropriate, pre-pregnancy clothes.) It’s written by plain, old, unflavored me.
Yet my business is not me.
The business is not you. Here’s why I got so hung up on this concept: it’s actually a lot harder to relax into sharing your personality in your marketing writing if you’re selling you, rather than the products or services of your business.
Stick with me here for a second.
If I am using my writing to sell me, that whole process is flippin’ fraught. If I’m selling ME, and people don’t buy what I’m selling, how does that make me feel... about me?
Well, it makes me feel like shit. Like rejected shit.
Conversely, if I’m selling me, and loads of people buy… now I feel like they’ve each bought a piece of me. They own little pieces of my time and energy. That feels shitty, too.
BUT. If I’m infusing my personality into my copywriting in order to demonstrate my business’s approach to solving my customer’s problem, then I’m attracting people who want/need/love that approach. I’m repelling everyone else who doesn’t want or need that.
I'm still deeply connected to the business. Still intertwined in some ways.
But NOT indistinguishable.
I’ve tried a few things to make this concept more concrete. One thing has worked better than anything else. It’s not a copywriting thing, but I figured I’d tell you about it anyway because I want to know if you’ve tried it:
I organized the business’s finances. I set up a business checking and savings account. Yes, I had a business checking account before. But often I also paid for things for the business with my personal account. Also, when a client paid me, it all went into my personal checking account. Once in a while I kicked some back over to the business account whenever I felt like the business account balance looked too low.
A sound strategy, to be sure! 🚫
Now, the business has revenue, expenses, profit, and losses of its own. (I know those of you reading this who are financial professionals are smacking various parts of your bodies because this is so obvious. Also everyone who has read Profit First, which I haven't, but I've heard this is in there.)
To the rest of you: I want to let you know that getting organized in this way isn’t just about... getting more organized.
It’s the thing that has helped me create a business that is separate from my identity as an adult human who shows up to work each day with a whole range of moods and energy levels.
That separation protects me. And that protection allowed me to run my first launch ever this month... without pinning my entire sense of self-worth on the outcome.
Sure, I still struggle with tying my self-worth to how much I sell. But I have created a crucial bit of distance. …
If you want to read someone else's thoughts after wrestling with this concept, go read Tyler J. McCall’s piece. I’m always of the mind that someday, when I’ve “made it”... I won’t struggle with panic or low self-worth after something too bad (or too GOOD) happens within the business. But then he wrote this post. It’s really good.