The Dork Effect and Complete Shiznit of Being You

CoriPadgettBigGirlBrandingToday, I have much to celebrate. A 100 electoral vote margin of victory. Waking up at 5AM in New York City (one of my favorite places in the world). The beginning of Ad:tech New York (where I’m speaking tomorrow). Yet another brilliant guest blogger to share with my audience.

Introducing Cori Padgett. Prolific in all things branding and always at the ready to get your head out of your ass and into your business, I’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time. Cori is a wildly hireable freelance ‘ghost’ as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. If you’d like to harness her creative brains and dubious brawn to write for your blog, just stalk her on Twitter and ask her. Today, she’s dropped by to talk about something near and dear to my heart: being YOU. Give her an awesome RedheadWriting-style welcome and let’s explore the shiznit of being YOU.

***

You know, branding doesn’t have to be boring and stuffy.

It doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless, neatly gift-wrapped as some dry “professional” endeavor.

I believe the best brands understand that:

  • Doing business and building your brand can be fun.
  • Doing business and building your brand can be irreverent.
  • Doing business and building your brand can be decidedly informal and even better, madly inspiring.

But you have to do the biz and branding thing on your terms, your way.

You have to be unafraid of stepping into your own and letting your hair down a bit.

Untuck your shirt, kick off your shoes, prop your feet up on your desk, and get real with your audience.

Even go so far as to be a little unpopular, if you will.

Erika is great at this.

She has no problem baring her soul to her people, or delivering a well-served bitch slap to asinine folks polluting the population.

Most people either love her or hate her, and find it very difficult to be indifferent.

Those few who are indifferent, I’d advise you to double check and make sure you still have a pulse.

But I digress.

As an entrepreneur, it’s entirely possible that you live and breathe your brand. Or at least you live and breathe your brand a huge chunk of your time.

Doesn’t it make sense then that your brand should be a sharply-focused reflection of you and your character?

A sharply-focused reflection of your ethics and values?

Not to mention a healthy dose of your own quirks and humor? (I like to call this The Dork Effect.)

What the hell is the point in toiling away, putting blood, sweat, and tears into a mediocre business and brand that offers a watered-down version of you and your talents?

Or even worse, that doesn’t accurately represent you at all?

There isn’t one.

Your business (if you’re doing it right) is an extension of you and your passions. Your brand is a reflection of those passions, morals, and values that make you unique.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still sort of feeling my way forward with my own brand. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert that knows everything. Anyone that claims they DO know everything is probably full of shite.

In fact there are folks that don’t even consider freelance copywriting truly a business. Or freelance anything really a business for that matter.

Which to that I have two highly eloquent words to offer…

WTF EVER.

Technically, that might be four words.

Regardless, if freelancing means I can set my own hours, set my own pay, and rule my own time (in ratty jeans and purple hair if I wanna), then I can call it “business” and the naysayers can suck it.

And my brand changes somewhat, as “I” grow and change as a person. Certain elements stay the same, and probably always will (I call those the core elements of “me”) but other things change and evolve.

As I learn more and more about business and building something of value, I incorporate what I learn into what I do.

Sometimes it’s a little messy and I may not always do the right things, but my driving goal as I mold and direct the course of my business and brand is to make it 100% reflect “ME”… my values, my goals, my passions, regardless of any one else’s opinions.

I’m really the only one that has to live with the result day in and day out.

So I strive to strut forward in all I do with every bit of passion, honesty, and moxie I can muster up… reveling in all of my dorky quirks and pain in the ass habits and trying like hell to be the best version of me I can possibly be while fervently praying that best part of me is reflected in my business, my brand, and how I serve my clients.

Why you should give a shiznit about any of this…

So, you should give a shiznit if you feel in any way, shape, or form like your business and brand doesn’t quite “fit”… or if it like it feels just a wee bit uncomfy.

Because if you feel that way, it’s entirely possible that you aren’t letting yourself step fully into your own.

Maybe you’re holding back parts of yourself because you’re afraid that “outsiders” won’t “get” those nifty little quirks that make you cool in the eyes of all who know and love you.

Or maybe you have some antiquated notions on what a business or a brand “should” look like, and you have a little trouble deviating from the path ye have been conditioned to believe as trueth. (Sorry… been diving into God’s Word quite a bit lately… the old verbiage is captivating.)

And mayhap you just don’t really know where to start, which is perfectly fine too. Reading posts like this one, and Erika’s blog, is a great beginning.

Read, learn, grow, and discard when needs must is a perfectly perfect motto to operate by!

Over to you

Do you feel a little stifled beneath your current business and brand? Do you feel that you are really showcasing the true you to your audience and clients, or a “muted” version of you?

I’d love to hear about your own experiences and challenges in the comments below and offer a huge thanks to my Dahling Erika for inviting me here as a guest for her readers. I hope you all enjoyed!

18 replies
  1. delisac
    delisac says:

    I recently change my everything & relaunched myself. I feel closer to having things right, but there is still room for improvement. I don’t feel like I’m hiding my weirdness, but sometimes I wonder if I’m still too far off for people to be able to ‘click’ with me.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Gerber
    Lisa Gerber says:

    I nodded my head all the way through this. Thanks, Cori (and Erika for having her here!). and I have two thoughts to add:
    Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. That’s when you dilute your brand. Just as you said. You have to stand for something; specialize in something.

    Second:
    You might not think you have a cool brand, or a story, or whatever, but it’s really helpful to step out of your world, and go meet people and start sharing what it is you do. Watch the reaction, and refine that elevator pitch. It starts to carry through. We are so inside our own worlds, it’s hard to be objective about our own brand without that real world feedback.

    Thanks for inspiring me to keep on. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Deb Lamb
    Deb Lamb says:

    Amen on that, Cori! That is exactly what I struggle with on a daily basis. How do I incorporate “me” into my branding and my current clients? What if I piss off the few clients I do have? I’m a ghostwriter and you know when your write for others we have to convey their voice. No problem there. However, when it comes to the content on my site, I’m just not sure how to add it, or explain it, or to really be me. When I survey all the people who love and care about me, its my sense of humor that they really enjoy. My quirky attitude, my appreciation for life, my zest for living, my upbeat attitude and constant uplifting and motivating others. How do I convey that?
    Thanks so much! I needed to hear this today! Thanks, Erika!!
    Deb 🙂

    Reply
    • Big Girl Branding
      Big Girl Branding says:

      Hey Deb! Thanks so much! Guessing if you can nail your clients voice you should have no trouble conveying your own. You just have to bust through your fears and do it. Maybe try free writing a few different versions of your site copy and then ask for feedback from folks that know you well… They can give you insight we are often blind to about ourselves. Or you could always try hiring a ghost for the ghost! Lol I know a few writers who have went that route because of your very same problem. 🙂 It’s so much easier to write for other people than ourselves!!!

      Reply
  4. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:

    Hello Cori, anyone with the ballz to post here gains me as a new subscriber. Sometimes, that’s even a net positive?

    Our brand is taking shape, upcoming long weekend features product testing at Waikiki. Happy, to say the least.

    Can being “too authentic” drive away stuffy customers, even though they might love the actual products we create? Making personal luxuries and wanting Hummers off the road, oh wait, they went bankrupt, , , see what I mean?

    Some of those dyed in the Red folks have tons of money to throw our way – if I don’t overstep my sarong and sandals. Likely, time for a personal fashion change? Cheers, -Steve

    Reply
    • Big Girl Branding
      Big Girl Branding says:

      Damn phone typing! I accidentally hit a little arrow.. I think it may have been a boo but totally wasn’t my intent! SL so glad you enjoyed the piece. To your question, if they are turned off by you but love your products they are still probably not your right peeps. Money might be good and you have to feed the family, but my own goals are to slowly weed out the clients that don’t absolutely adore everything about me and what I offer, regardless of how much cash they can throw my way. Cash is nice, but I can’t take it when I’m dead, and iI’d rather enjoy my life NOW and work with clients that motivate me than make myself miserable trying to work with people that “kinda maybe sorta like me, but not really.. But hey I like your xxx though!”. No thanks. 🙂

      Reply
      • SL Clark
        SL Clark says:

        “but I can’t take it when I’m dead”, but leaving a legacy $500 million in sales company to the grandchildren might be fun?

        Freelancing, at least to me, means “working with clients”, screw that. We’ll create lasting beauty, generational heirlooms, our way. The customer can choose a base theme & size, but never ever the design details.

        Personalizing the conversation is the hard part. Telling a windbag off is easy, but his wife might be an awesome part of our community, that is, if I don’t cheer too loud about important victories along the way, like yesterday.

        And it’ll be okay, I can happily wear some Bransonesque white yoga pants & shirt on my island, the pesky wind too much of a bother most days for a sarong. 😉

        Reply
        • Big Girl Branding
          Big Girl Branding says:

          Lol! I live in Bransonesque yoga pants. hehe And double edged sword.. Sure it would be awesome to leave a legacy of cash for my kids, but then they may wind up spoiled brats and unmotivated to do for themselves. I’ve seen both sides of the coin so to speak. Lol Ill take rich in joy over rich in cash any day of the week.

          Reply
  5. Shalagh Hogan
    Shalagh Hogan says:

    I am a new blogger (year) and writer who wishes to be seen and eventually hired, I am the product. I’m quirky and dorky/weird and have no fear to be me, The “own voice/others see you” thing is also my problem. And in not knowing what value I am to whom, I’m unsure where and who to market myself to. I have actually thought of hiring a social media godmother but wouldn’t even know who. I’m the loudest most unapologetic, outside of Erica, redhead you’ll meet yet invisible me is my problem. Thanks Cori for being the kinda girl I get.
    Love,
    Shalagh
    http://www.shalavee.com

    Reply
    • Big Girl Branding
      Big Girl Branding says:

      Aw thanks Shalagh, glad you enjoyed. Cool name btw. I think finding your right audience is pretty much trial by fire sometimes. Lol I’ve had a pretty steep learning curve since I first came online in 2008. Keep doing what you do, don’t be afraid to go against the grain, and love the shite out of the people who “get” you. More will find you! 🙂

      Reply
      • Shalagh Hogan
        Shalagh Hogan says:

        This is me giving you a big juicy “THANKS SISTA”. I will keep being me because it’s what I do. And I will love the shiznit out of the people who get me.That is the gem right there.And I’m going to keep checking the neediness guage.
        Love,
        Shalagh
        http://www.shalavee.com

        Reply
  6. Angie Colee
    Angie Colee says:

    Bravo, Cori. You basically said everything I believe, and you did it without dropping an F-bomb (’cause I certainly would have, as another redhead who utters a metric ton of swear words per day)!

    I’ve said the same thing mainly because I discovered I was much more happy with my own work when I worked with people who “got” me, people who felt the same way about what they were trying to build as I do about what I’m trying to build. We connect. We get it. We understand these things take time and aren’t 1000% perfect and maybe never will be. But we’ll try shit and run with it. And we’ll repeat as necessary until it works.

    If you’re ever in the SF bay, we need to get coffee. Or cocktails. Possibly both.

    Reply
    • Big Girl Branding
      Big Girl Branding says:

      Hey Angie! LOL yeah, I drop a few F-bombs when the occasion warrants it. I’ve been trying to clean up my act a bit though, my kids have big ears. hehe And they read my shite sometimes, so apparently they have big eyeballs too. Who knew? Too smart for their own pants.

      Glad the post resonated with you and that I’m not alone in my point of view! lol

      I’m totally down for coffee and cocktails. I’ve wanted to visit SanFran for awhile now, so it’s not a remote possibility! 😉

      Reply

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