One of the biggest fears around marketing ourselves, as self-employed men and women, is the fear of visibility – and especially as it relates to being visible online.
People seeing our words, our ideas, ourselves can feel exposing. We feel vulnerable, in the spotlight, open to criticism, and this can be so terrifying that many of us hold back from building a website, writing a blog, recording videos, sharing Facebook statuses, offering webinars, or any other online marketing approaches that are known to be effective.
When you’re not visible, your ideal clients can’t find you – and you don’t get paid. Your chances of making it with self-employment diminish when you’re scared to be visible.
How can it feel safe to be visible online?
The power of criticism
The truth is that while we can react with pain to criticism, the words or opinions from others don’t actually have the power to hurt us. Other people simply don’t have that power over our internal world. It’s our reaction to their words that hurts us.
But does this mean you should just put yourself out there and allow a criticism-throwing free-for-all?
I don’t believe so.
I hold the same boundaries online as I do in my physical home.
If you came to my house-party and voiced a criticism of me – perhaps you point out a way that I’ve missed the mark, or you disagree with me – then you’re still welcome as a guest in my home. I’d want you to tell me more. I’d see how healthy it is to hear you and discuss the issue and learn something from you; hopefully, we’d both grow as a result.
In contrast, a short while ago, someone attempted to comment on my blog. My website settings allow me to approve comments before they’re published. When I read this particular comment, I noticed it wasn’t constructive criticism or healthy debate; the tone was aggressive and disrespectful.
If someone showed up in my home with that tone of voice, I’d ask them to leave – and the same applies to my online home.
I deleted the comment. Deleting a comment is equivalent to showing someone the door.
House-keeping without resentment
Here’s the thing: I don’t need to hate the person who wrote that comment. I don’t need to disrespect them in return. I simply don’t want them in my home and as the owner of the home, I’m in charge of that.
This person also didn’t share their name or their email address or website. This would be the equivalent of someone coming into my home wearing a mask and refusing to tell me who they are; in the offline world, a person like that would be considered an intruder and I would take action to remove them from my property.
I also asked myself this question: Is their comment of benefit to my community? My online home is not just for me; I share it with many beloved self-employed men and women who feel safe and supported here.
This is truly our home, not just mine. As the gate-keeper, my responsibility is to protect the boundaries of our space.
The anonymous comment wasn’t contributing to this community. It wasn’t sharing experience or offering value. The primary purpose of this website is to help people have an easier and more enjoyable experience of self-employment and with that filter in mind, this comment was a straightforward delete.
As you boldly make yourself increasingly visible online, create your own policy for managing your online spaces. Hold your primary purpose in mind. Mirror online the boundaries you’d hold in the offline world. Respect yourself, hold space for your community.
Special announcement: Guidance with being effectively visible online
If you’re committed to making yourself visible online so that more clients can find you and pay you, I have exceptionally good news for you.
There’s a big announcement coming tomorrow about the Blog for Clients training material. Keep an eye on your inbox! (And if you’re not already a subscriber to my emails, sign up in the box below to hear the announcement.)
Over to you
Do you feel safe online? Why / why not?
Perhaps fear is holding you back from even commenting right here, in which case drop me a line here rather than sharing publicly, I’d love to hear from you – and at the same time, ask yourself: What do you fear would happen if you commented publicly? Write those fears down so you can clearly identify what’s really holding you back.
And if you’re one of those who feel comfortable commenting, let us know why. Has it always been like that, or did something shift?
Let’s all join together to help one another enjoy ease with all aspects of the self-employment journey.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes
“When you’re not visible, your ideal clients can’t find you” – @CorrinaGB shares how to feel OK with visibility