How do you REALLY feel about sharing online?
Does it give you anxiety? Does it make you want to run for the hills? Does it feel like a lack of your personal privacy? Does it bring up resistance?
I hear you, and I get it. To be vulnerable is to put yourself in harm’s way and to open yourself up to the judgment and criticism of others. And that is scary AF!
But if we are being real here (and you know being real is my thing), I don’t believe you can build a meaningful business online without being transparent about who you are.
Vulnerability is necessary for an online coaching business. In today’s Wealthy Coach Podcast episode, I’ll show you how to be vulnerable online without oversharing.
If you’re burning yourself out with a schedule full of one-on-one client meetings, maybe it’s time to consider group programs. Check out my group program training, your 5-step system to creating and monetizing group programs! Learn more about it here: https://go.kendraperry.net/profitable-groups
Connect with me on Instagram @kendraperryinc
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Vulnerability – Do You Need It In Business?
This episode is important. We’re going to talk a little bit about the importance of human connection and the importance of authenticity and vulnerability in online marketing. I want you to pay attention. I know you’re probably like me, I’m a total multi-tasker, but try to turn off distractions for this episode. I don’t usually ask you to do that, but I’m going to ask you to do that for this episode. This is important to implement because you’re not going to be able to be successful in online business without this.
The Humanity In Technology
This is what I want you to keep in mind. When you are running an online business, the people you are speaking to are human beings. Newsflash, they’re human beings. I know that seems obvious, but we often forget this. We were looking at these people as our Instagram Story viewers or email subscribers or Facebook likes or Instagram followers, but they’re individual people. They’re people. What makes me mad is when someone’s like, “Only 40 people are watching my Instagram Stories,” because I’m like, “Excuse me, 40 people are watching your stories? Can you imagine standing in a room with 40 people, looking at you and watching your shit?” That’s amazing. That’s crazy. You would be nervous for that. You would be like, “There are 40 people watching me right now.”
If you ever hear yourself say, “I only have ten people watching my stories, or I only have 100 people watching my stories,” check yourself because those are human beings. What you should be saying is, “How lucky am I that ten people are watching my stories right now? I am fucking grateful,” because they’re individual people. They’re not just star reviews, they’re people. With each person that engages with your content, that watches your content, is an opportunity for you to build a connection and a relationship. Something people are missing out on these days is connection. Technology and the internet have connected us in many ways, but it’s also disconnected us in a lot of ways too.
People are spending so much time in this virtual reality or online reality than they’re spending in person with real human beings connecting. These are the COVID times. This is August 2020. This is true for people. How much people are lacking human connection right now? It depends on where you are right now, but some people don’t have the ability to spend time with other people. When you go out on the street, for those of you living in places where people are masked up and they have sunglasses on, you don’t make eye contact. You don’t smile at people. You don’t even know if people are smiling at you. Everyone looks like a freaking bandit. We are missing out on real life human connection right now.
People are looking for connection elsewhere. Especially right now, they’re looking for connection online. I want to encourage you to think of marketing pre-internet time. If you can imagine a time when there was no internet, it’s crazy to think. I can remember it because I lived rurally. I didn’t get internet until I was like 23 years old. I remember this, but you may or may not, depending on how old you are. How do you think people marketed back before the internet? They would go to live events, maybe dinner parties, networking events, talks, whatever and they would network. They were always trying to form a connection or a relationship with the hope of maybe finding a new client, making a new sale, maybe generating a new business partnership, some lucrative connection. That’s how it used to be back in the day.
We went through this period where that connection mattered less because the internet was a novelty and it was like, “The internet, someone wants my email address so they can send me a newsletter? That’s cool. Here’s my email address. Here we go.” It’s not like that anymore. I wish it was but those days are gone. I feel like marketing has come full circle in that way, in that relationships and connections matter the most. Again, people are never going to buy from you or invest in you if they don’t feel connected to you in some way.
They want to feel like they know you. If you are not showing up as an authentic version of yourself with a little bit of vulnerability, you’re going to have a hard time selling. I’m not telling you that you need to get out there and start spamming your shit, all your personal feelings and turn your Instagram Stories into your diary, where you dump all your feelings and emotions all over the place. I’m not saying that, but we do need to connect and we do need to be vulnerable. Something that’s important to keep in mind is who we share online, who we are online is a piece of who we are. It is not all of who we are.
We are all very complex beings with a lot of different layers and who we are online is a piece of who we are, but it still needs to be us. We still need to be vulnerable and share sometimes. This is especially true with health, if you’re working in health and wellness, because health is an incredibly personal thing. It’s a lot more personal than other types of services that people are selling online. What you’re selling, health and wellness, is way more personal than when I’m selling. You want to be connected to me if I’m teaching you business, but it’s not as personal as health.
This is extra important for you. I know this because I used to be a health coach. What this means is you are asking people to share very intimate details about their lives with you, like poops, periods, hot flashes, and all that stuff that is quite honestly embarrassing to talk about. In order for them to want to share with you or want to follow you, take your advice and be a part of your community, they need to be able to connect with you. They need to be able to relate with you. They need to see a piece of themselves in you.
What that means is you need to focus on building relationships with your audience and that should be the most important thing that you are focusing on. Every day, what I want to do is have a conversation with a health coach. I do that in my social media comments. I do that a lot in my Instagram DMs. One of my big goals with Instagram is to start as many conversations in direct messages as possible. It’s not very sexy, but it’s powerful.
I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful people are when they send me a message and I get back to them in less than a day. They’re like, “I can’t believe you’re sending me a message. I didn’t think you’d get back to me.” They’d probably send messages to other people who don’t get back to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a DM to somebody and I never heard back. It doesn’t feel great. Sometimes it’s a massive account and I don’t expect to hear back. If some people are getting a massive volume of DMs, but I will always make time for as long as I can. I will always make time to answer people’s questions and engage with them in direct message.
I always attend the Social Media Marketing Conference in San Diego. I didn’t go in 2019. I attended the virtual conference, but I did a couple of years ago. I saw some of the top online marketing experts in the world. They were all talking about the last two conferences at every talk in every workshop, people were talking about the importance of building relationships. This is not just me telling you to build a relationship. These are the top marketers on the planet who are telling you, you need to focus on relationships.
This is the thing, you can’t connect. You can’t build relationships. You can’t build trust and make your audience feel like they know you and like you if you’re not sharing anything with them, if you’re not giving back. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, how many letters you have behind your name, how much you can help. They are not going to want your help if they don’t feel like they know you and trust you. They don’t feel like they connect with you. You, the human being, then it doesn’t matter. They’re not going to buy from you. People need that connection and they are craving it.
What that means is you need to show up on social media and everywhere online, in your online business as yourself. You need to be authentic. You need to be vulnerable. What this means is showing up as who you are and not as who you think you should be. I have been into Brene Brown. Her book, Daring Greatly on vulnerability is a great read. If you want to dive into this stuff, I highly recommend that book. The only way to build a relationship and connection with someone is to be vulnerable. I know that’s scary. Vulnerability is not easy.
It means opening yourself up to judgment and the opinions of others. I don’t believe you can run an online business without doing it. This doesn’t mean you share every aspect of your life. There are many high-level entrepreneurs who have families, but you never see their families. They talk about their families. They might tell stories about their family, but they don’t show their families on social media or Instagram Stories. You can still have parts of your life that are private, but you do need to be able to connect, which does mean you do need to be vulnerable.
To some degree, you need to show people that you are a real-life human being with faults, you’re not perfect. Nobody wants fucking perfect these days. Think about it in this context, would you ever have a deep and meaningful relationship with someone who was not vulnerable to you? Probably not because that person has their walls up. They don’t want to let you in. They don’t want to share anything about their life or what they think. They want to shut you out. That’s impossible to connect with. You’re like, “I can’t get anything from this person. This person gives me nothing. I don’t know this person.” You may have had an experience in your life with someone like that, where you give up and you’re never going to feel close to that person. This is where vulnerability is important if you want to connect. I realize it’s a hard thing to do.
Need For Authenticity
This is something that happened to me. I was at a conference. There was a woman there who I know well. I’ve known her for a long time. We were colleagues and I’ve kept in touch with her over the years. I always thought she was cool. I always liked chatting with her, but I didn’t realize how cool she was until I met her in person. When I met her in person, I realized she was funny. She was spunky. She was fun. She was hilarious. She was relatable. She was the coolest person I’d ever met, but that was not something she was showing online. She was someone who was also struggling to make money in her business and to grow.
I was like, “If who I saw in person was the person who she portrayed online, then I think this person would have a multiple six-figure business. I don’t think they would be struggling because she was that cool.” You want to show those sides of yourself. If you’re a spunky person, be spunky. If you like to make jokes, make the types of jokes that you would make because people need to connect with you and you need to build relationships with them. You cannot pitch anything without first having a relationship. If you are not vulnerable, and if you do not show certain sides of yourself that you know are going to connect with your ideal client, that connection is not going to happen.
You may have heard me use this example before, but people tend to like it. It’s funny. It makes sense. Let’s compare online marketing to online dating. Let’s say I want to meet a partner. I get on Tinder. I think Tinder is still the app these days. I’m going to go on a coffee date with this guy. We sit down for a coffee. The first thing out of my mouth is, “I’m 36. My eggs are getting old. I’m looking for someone to put a baby in me right now,” alarm bells. I’m not even finishing my sentence and this guy is like booking it. He doesn’t know me. I’m coming on super-hot with all this crap. He’s going to be this flash of color across the coffee shop because he’s not going to be able to get out of there fast enough.
When you lead with a pitch or with a sale before having a connection or relationship, you give your audience that same alarming feeling. It feels gross. It feels bad. It feels terrifying. You need to build relationships. You need to nurture first. Even if you do have one single person following you on Instagram, instead of being like, “Poor me, that’s only one person following me on Instagram,” think of how amazing of an opportunity you have to build a relationship with that one person. This is why I don’t believe in competition because there’s only one me. There’s only one you. We are individuals. We are unique and we are different from each other.
People choose people who they resonate and connect with, they have relationships with, and people they feel like they’re friends with. If someone doesn’t connect with me, they don’t like my personality, there’s not anything I can do to change that. I shouldn’t be trying to. I’m not their person and that’s okay. They’re going to find someone they connect with and I want them to find someone they connect with. The way that you build relationships online is the same way that you’d build relationships in public.
You would never walk into a room of people you don’t know and tell them to buy your shit. That would be weird. People will be turned off and it wouldn’t go well. People would turn away. You’d feel awkward and have to leave the party. It’s the same thing online. It takes time to build those relationships. You do want to give people enough time. Sometimes people need to come in contact with your stuff upwards of 36-plus times before they’re ready to buy. I have followed certain people for like three years before I ended up investing in something paid of theirs.
On the other hand, I’ve found people one day and three days later, I’m buying stuff from them. It depends. I would say in health and wellness, it takes even a little bit more time because it is so personal. People need that time to get to know you. They’re only going to get to know you by you being vulnerable, sharing some of yourself. You want to educate. You want to teach some stuff but share your wins, struggles, hardships, story. Be open and honest when it will connect with them. There are some things that have gone in my life that are hard that I don’t share because I don’t think it’s going to connect with you, the health coach.
The things I share, I share with intention. I’m doing it so that you can connect with me. I posted an episode. I can’t remember what episode, but it’s called Building a Business with a Chronic Illness, where I talk about how I built my business with a chronic illness. The reason I shared that is because I know you are probably going through the same thing to connect with you. I’m not trying to be all slimy and get you to buy my shit. I’m here to help you. I want you to know that having a chronic illness, being in the depths of your struggle for your health is not a reason not to start your business and is not a reason why you can’t help people.
The Right Way To Be Vulnerable
When it comes to being vulnerable online and knowing what to share, don’t start spamming your feelings all over Instagram, that doesn’t work. When you share something, ask yourself, is there a lesson in this story? I typically only share vulnerable things when I think my audience can learn from it, or it can help them feel more alone or it can help them feel more connected to me. That’s how you differentiate between being vulnerable and oversharing. Ask yourself, is there a lesson? Is there something to be learned from this? Will sharing this story help my audience? Will it help them feel less alone, for example? Ask yourself, why did you get into health to begin with? Why did you get into this industry in the first place? We all have a story.
Most of us have a very personal story as to why we’re here. You need to share that story over and over again until you’re blue in the face. You’ve got to share about yourself. Remember, this is a two-way street, we’re building relationships. It’s not just about you and sharing your story, you also need to get to know your audience. You need to be as committed to sharing who you are as figuring out who they are. You need to ask them questions. No one wants to hang out with someone who only talks about themselves. No one wants to hang out with someone who’s standing on a soapbox with their megaphone on social media and shouting, “Buy my stuff, watch my video.” People don’t want that. It’s a two-way conversation. You need to allow people to get to know you, but you need to get to know them too.
It’s powerful because you will get to know these people and you’re going to learn so much about them. They’re also going to get to know you. That is that connection piece. That is honestly what creates raving fans. People who know, like and trust you and want to invest in everything that you put out there. I have a lot of people in my client audience, my client community who have invested in every single thing I have put out there. They like the information I put out there. Part of it is because they’re investing in me. They like me. They like my style. They like the way I teach. They like the way that I talk for some reason. It’s important.
I know vulnerability is hard and it’s scary, but start with sharing something small that you think will connect with your audience. Always ask yourself, “Will sharing this help someone? Does it have a lesson in it? Is there something to be learned from this?” Vulnerability is mandatory and I do not believe you can be successful in business and not be vulnerable. It’s hard and it’s going to feel weird. You’re probably going to get some criticism. Maybe someone is going to say something that you don’t like, but it will build relationships.
When you do this, you build connection. Don’t be afraid to show the weird, funny, strange and eccentric parts of yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly. I hope this helped. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with vulnerability, you can shoot me a direct message on Instagram, @KendraPerryInc. That is my handle. I will always answer your messages in DM. If you love this show, please leave me a five-star review on iTunes, on Apple Podcasts and I will give you a shout-out on the show. Thank you so much for reading. I love you. I’ll talk to you soon.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I’m wondering, do you want to help me with my mission to end health coach poverty? If you do, I need all the help I can get. All I need is two minutes of your time. If you could leave me a five-star review on iTunes, that would help so much. These reviews help get my show in front of more people, which means that I can reach more health coaches and complete my mission. Thank you so much for your help. I can’t wait to talk to you in the next episode.
- Daring Greatly
- Building a Business with a Chronic Illness – Previous episode
- @KendraPerryInc on Instagram
- Apple Podcasts – The Wealthy Coach