So I spoke last week about a little incident that made me realise just how vital authenticity & integrity are in business ( and life, obviously haha). But I wanted to delve a little deeper with it and really figure out what I mean by it all, and most importantly, write some basic guidelines so that you can ensure you never fall into the trap of not being 100% authentic in your own business.
I can totally put my hand up and say I lost my integrity for a while. When I was running festivals, my business was projecting this image of such an awesome lifestyle, but the reality looked very very different.
In a world that is filled with opinions of what your business should be doing, and how you should be showing up, it’s easy to lose track of who you really are and end up not being totally authentic.
So here are my 4 rules to integrity & authenticity in business….
Be honest about where you’re at in your business
Holy smokes this is a big one. I know that when you’re starting out, you probably wish you were a little further down the road. But here’s the thing… you’re not. And actually, that’s a good thing. You’re exactly where you need to be.
There is nothing worse than someone claiming to be more experienced than they really are. Whether you’re writing your bio in the third person (as if your imaginary PA wrote it for you), or if you’re not being totally honest in your mastermind groups about how many sales you’ve made … You’re only fooling yourself, and more importantly, you’re missing out on some awesome lessons.
People respect honesty & vulnerability. Embrace where you are on the journey & be truthful about it. If you speak openly about where you’re at, and what you’re working towards, you’ll find you’ll attract the clients/customers you are ready for… Which means you’ll do an epic job for them. And that’s the whole point, right?
Do what you say you’re going to do
It’s important to be impeccable with your word. By that I mean, if you say that you’ll drop someone an email tomorrow, then make absolutely sure that you do. Same thing goes with your work… Do what you say you are going to do. My rule in business is to under promise and over deliver. It’s a pretty simple one but something that so many people get completely the wrong way around. I’m certain that following this rule has played a massive part in my success, and my happy little tribe of Super Stoked grads.
Don’t steal/copy from others
Yikes. This happens way more it should. The tough thing about having an online business is that your work, your ideas, your everything…. is out there for everyone to see…. including your competitors. I hate to say it, but I can almost guarantee that at some point, your stuff will get copied.
I’ve seen all sorts. From people blatantly ripping off other peoples copy, word for word to some single-white-female style copycat stuff (haha remember that movie ?!).
But here’s the thing. It can actually be kinda difficult not to copy. Yep, I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. If you’re not totally clear on your own brand identity, you can find yourself being influenced by other peoples work. My tip? Whenever you are in creation mode (be that writing blog posts, sharing on social media or working on your latest offering), step inside a little bubble — Don’t jump online to get inspired, don’t browse other peoples (read: your competitors) stuff. Step away from your browser and focus on your own work, no-one else's!
Oh, and if you’re caught on the other side of this (I’ve been there…. it sucks), try your hardest to keep your cool, act professional (seek legal help if someone has seriously ripped you off), and then channel your energy into creating good karma ;)
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not
If you’re still training, say you’re still in training. If you don’t actually drink green juice every day, please don’t post pictures on FB making out like you do. Don’t claim to be an expert at something you’re not and please please please don’t start teaching/selling something that you’re not actually qualified to do. Not only does it make you a big fat fraud, but it actually impacts the people in your industry who have worked hard to build their business.
It’s easy to get caught up in comparison mode when you’re building your biz. But you need to remember this: There is only one you. Celebrate your uniqueness by unashamedly showing up as yourself. The world will love you for it.
Ok…. so those are my 4 tips to staying true to yourself in business. Like I said before, it’s pretty likely that your work will get copied at some point… and although there’s not a whole lot you can do to protect yourself from it, you can be the change you want to see in the world, and step up your own principles.
There’s plenty of room for everyone, and by leaning into your authenticity, you’ll inspire others to do the same