What is normal?!

If there’s one thing that most of us have in common that we are programmed and taught as early as we can remember, it’s that we’re supposed to be normal. We’re supposed to be just like everybody else. We’re supposed to fit in because if we stand out, then people make fun of us, they call attention to us, and that can be literally the most horrifying thing when you’re a kid or a teenager to stand out, especially if you feel like you stand out in a way that you feel a little insecure about.

If you want to build a brand, the time for fitting in is over.

You are about to embark on this incredibly uncomfortable journey of learning about what makes you special, what makes you unique, what makes you stand out and being able to leverage that to your benefit.

Bring your weird to the surface because it will be one of your greatest competitive advantages.

And it is a process getting comfortable with not only exploring it but then being able to talk about it or communicate it. But I’m going to take you through some steps today that will hopefully make that a little bit easier. But one of the things I just want to say is that in all the things that I do and teach, it’s really, really important to me that you know one thing and that is the advice that I give you isn’t about how I did something and teaching you how to do it my way. What I’m in this for and what I’m passionate about and what I’m good at is helping you find out more about you and how your going to do it in order for you to be successful in your unique way.

Because we all have different skills and resources. And the key for you is to be able to discover and leverage those different resources and skills and weirdness to excite and delight the people in your world who want to connect with you and buy from you.

So as we go on this journey, I want you to know that this isn’t me telling you how to do something. This is us going on a little exploration of how to look at what you’ve got that is going to help you stand out and set apart.

So let’s make some magic, shall we?

One of the buzzwords you hear getting thrown around a lot these days is authenticity. And there’s a reason that people are talking about it is because as human beings we want to connect. We want to see another human being, have some sort of genuine connection and we want to feel the realness there. So if we’re going to look at authenticity as a concept, if we’re going to try and leverage being authentic in our businesses and brands, we have to know ourselves a little bit better. And once we know we have to be able to communicate a little bit clearer. So today we are going on a journey to talk about finding your weird and being able to leverage that instead of hide it away in order to make money in your business and brand. And here’s why this works.

Seth Godin has this great quote that basically says, I’m in a crowded marketplace. Fitting in is failing.

Now you have a couple of options. One of the things you can do is just decide who you want to be and try and be that because you think that’s what other people want. But I’ll tell you right now, not only is that exhausting, but it’s pretty much going to set you up for failure because if you are not connected with that authenticity, not only are you going to tire early, but people can see through it. They’re not going to connect with you because they can see that you’re trying too hard to be something that you’re not and it just doesn’t feel great.

As another human being, we want to connect with people who are real.

There is something really magnetic about realness and what that means is you need to know who the hell you are. Now this sounds like a really big philosophical question, but it’s actually easy to break down because what we’re looking at here is simply what skills, what resources and what sort of flavor do you have that is different than other people. So one exercise I want you to start with as you’re looking at either building a brand or just trying to look at this weird for yourself is to do some competitive analysis. And what that means is basically going into Google and looking for people who do what you do and not using any specific words about the type of people you’re looking for.

Let’s say you make a physical product and just go in Google that physical product and look at the websites of the brands that come up.

If you’re a service-based business, if you’re a yoga instructor or a dog trainer, go in and look for, you know, Yoga near me or dog training near me and see the websites that come up. And I want you to just spend a little bit of time going through them and seeing what you see.

And critically, I want you to look at, if you were a customer trying to shop for this particular product or service, what would you be noticing and how would you be deciding which one of these service providers or products to pick? What’s the stuff that impacts you? Is it how easy the website is to navigate? Is it how quickly it comes up in Google? Once you’re on the website, once you’re engaging with the brand, what do you feel? What do you notice? What is compelling to you? Do you have instant feelings of, oh, I don’t like this person, or, oh, this girl is great.

By being able to find and leverage your weird and your unique skills and resources, we are aiming to create an experience for people who are shopping that says, buy me right. We’re going to be best friends. You definitely want to come hang out over here because we have a lot in common. Again, this isn’t about you trying to be what you, what other people want you to be. You don’t need to do that. Oh, you need to do is figure out what you are and then shout about it and glorify it because you will attract people to you who believe what you believe and who are also very similar. So I have a process where I call that I call finding your why and there’s an exercise called why mapping that I suggest in order to help you uncover some of this stuff for yourself.

Make sure you Grab The FREE PDF because I start to walk you through this why mapping process so that you can uncover some of this stuff. Because if you just sit there and try and think about it or write it on a list, it’s a little bit tricky. So go grab that PDF on jnicholesmith.com and it’ll help you with this Why Mapping exercise.

But essentially what we’re looking to do is to try and pull to the surface all of the things that make you unique, all the special resources you have, all the things you really love and are motivated by. And some of the stuff that you might think is a little bit negative as well, that could actually be a real strength for you because other people can connect on those negative things.

So you want to do some Why Mapping, you want to do your competitive analysis and then you want to sort of start to uncover for yourself, what’s my stuff, what am I, who am I, what am I made up of? What motivates me? And this is how you dig out the authentic stuff that you can use to leverage to compete. Now the next step, once you start to have a little bit of an idea of who you actually are, is to look at what other people actually want and try and find crossover between the stuff that you’re good at and you love and the stuff that they want and they’re willing to pay money for. And this is where we can start to feel really uncomfortable and triggered because we’re, we’re worried, we’re scared that nobody’s going to want us, that nobody’s going to get us, that there’s nobody out there who understands.

And I can guarantee you that’s not true. Now there’s a difference between being able to leverage your unique weird into a successful business and trying to operate in a place where there’s no market. So what we’re basically talking about here is a niche, right? Trying to niche yourself down into slightly more specific or smaller pocket to make sure that you can connect with people based on your authentic brand or self. But you do need to make sure that that niche is big enough to support the needs of your business to grow monetarily. So we’ll talk about that in another episode, but don’t worry about that for now. For now, what you’re trying to just figure out is how you’re going to show up rather than necessarily the specifics of your individual market. But we really want to look at who, who are we talking about?

What do they want? What are they willing to pay for? So you’ll get another great resource in that pdf to start to be able to analyze where is the crossover between my stuff and the stuff that other people want and are willing to pay for it. Because that is where you will start to be able to monetize your weird. And I know that’s top of mind because especially if you’re feeling triggered about nobody’s going to want this, this is crazy. This is a great way to identify where the real opportunities are to make money by leveraging your weird. Now in this season of episodes we are talking a lot about brand building and we’re going to provide you a ton of resources of how to actually bring your weird to life in a way that makes sense to your people. So just have a quick review in order to start looking at your weird bringing it to the surface so you can stand out in your crowded marketplace.

We want to look at first competitive analysis. What are other people doing and what is the impact it has on you? When you go look at their brands or websites, what are you feeling? What do you notice and what do you think your customer might be looking at when they go from website to website to website of people all making or selling the same thing. This is a really, really important exercise to understand just how generic most people are in their marketing communications. The next step we’re looking at to really exploit your weird is to do some why mapping to try and dig out of yourself the stuff that you’re made of and that’s where your authenticity is really going to come from. And that’s where we’ll take you through the next steps in the next episode. And then lastly, you really want to be able to start to understand what is viable.

So you want to start to understand the crossover between your stuff. You’re weird, your assets, resources, skills, et cetera, and what people want and are willing to pay for. And I bet, although that sounds a little bit tricky, you kind of know based on the conversations you’ve had with your customers and clients, this stuff they’re really eager to buy. Usually it’s stuff that is solving problems so that they can get an outcome or a lifestyle that they want. Sometimes it’s pleasure, sometimes it’s pain, but there is some very motivating reason that they want something or willing to pay for it. So there you’re really going to be thinking about what is motivating their purchasing decision, what do they want the rest of the world to know about them that is making them by and by quickly. So that’s where we’re going to start right now for exploring your weird and bringing it to life.

In our next episode, we’re going to take this a little bit further so you can communicate it so you can get it out there. So I hope you’ll join us. Make sure you visit Jane Nicole smith.com/podcast and grab the show notes for this episode so that you can go through some of these exercises I’ve suggested with a little bit more support and if you want to have a chat about it, join our free Facebook group. We are there on hand to workshop this stuff with you and answer your questions because it’s such an important part of what is going to help you achieve that freedom and fulfillment as an entrepreneur that we are so interested in helping.