Yeah, I go to eleven. If perchance you’re missing that reference completely, please visit this website.
The single question I’m asked in interviews more than any other is: “Do you ever lose business on account of being such an outspoken brand?”
The answer is a resounding hells yeah. And it hit me again, square in the ass, yesterday afternoon.
It’s rare that Redhead Writing and Redheaded Fury post collide – one’s distinctly about biz and the other unabashedly ME. Today, they merge. They merged earlier this year when I realized something:
I am my brand.
I don’t mind missing out on opportunities because people or companies don’t find me a fit for what they embody. After all – that’s their brand. They’ve worked just as hard on building their presence as I have, so there’s an inherent respect every time I respond to one of these situations. But here’s what sucks: when you know that, given the opportunity, you could completely CRUSH IT. You’d bring in the dancing unicorns and ponies that never crap and sweat sunshine. You’d make the client look so damn good it’s sickening and they’d be looking for another way to work with you when it’s all said and done.
But, yeah – you’re pretty sure you’re not going to get the gig, crapless ponies that sweat sunshine aside.
When you build your brand, understand what it is that you’re building. As Redhead Writing’s evolved, I’ve realized that I’ve done something completely unintentional (yet kickass): I’ve found a way to be me. And me (just like you) isn’t going to jive with everyone. We’re holding out for the opportunities that allow us to be the best possible MEs we can be. And Redhead Writing…well, that’s me.
This kid – the one picked last for dodgeball and tagged out (usually in the head) first.
The kid who thought it was a great idea to get married at age 22 to a redneck from Tennessee.
The conniving teen who talked her sister into trading rooms so she could sneak out at night by climbing down the balcony.
The same kid who sat in Political Studies classes geeking out to hypothetical solutions to the world’s problems.
And the kid who’s still a kid inside (and outside half the time), but gets her jollies around the conference table, hashing out solutions for companies looking to build more meaningful brand presences.
Then there’s the added bonus of inviting you along on my lessons hard-learned path with the occasional smackity-smack. And you keep coming back for more.
The best part of yesterday’s “we love you/we have some hesitations” call? When you realize the person on the other end of phone isn’t bullshitting you. “I want to find a way to work together and I’m willing to develop that with you.”
So yeah – that’s when the brand I’ve built feels fan-fucking-tastic. You’re not going to be a fit for everything every time, but when you are a fit, it’s better than being Cinderella.
Are YOU building a brand you feel fan-fucking-tastic about?
If you find your blog posts aren’t getting comments – are you asking any questions? Are you doing your part to make people think beyond the page?
If you’re after more followers or fans, are you offering them a reason to join your herd (or do you simply expect it because you’re that cool)?
Are your query letters going unanswered or do you get form rejection letters? As yourself if what you’re submitting is crap. And along with that, it’s probably best if you ask someone who has no emotional attachment to giving you a bullshit-free perspective.
Go out and ask ten people to describe you. Send it out in an email with bcc’s (please, for all that’s holy – no open cc’s). Ask people to describe your brand. And if what you hear is so very different than what you think you’ve built, hey, hey Sally…time to get some new shoes.
Being who you are and building a career aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m loud. I’m going to keep being loud. If you don’t like the fact that I go to eleven, find someone who goes to ten. And when you’re ready to find out what eleven feels like, you know where to find me.
PS: Little Known Fact about The Redhead – I’m a complete audiophile. If you have not seen It Might Get Loud, it’s tops and a must have for your Netflix queue. You’re welcome. Three guys who take it to eleven.