How to show up as the face of your business when you don’t like being in the spotlight
Branding a business doesn’t stop and start with the business itself but incorporates all that is connected to it, and that includes you the owner. Research by Craft Council in a 2020, The Market for Craft report* showed that 41% of people in a mature mainstream group who buy or want to buy handmade objects are more likely to buy if they know the person behind the craft. You’ve probably heard it said many times before that ‘people buy people, so showing up as the face behind your work is a must.’
Well, for some of us showing up as the face of our businesses when we don’t like being in the spotlight is easier said than done. And, being told you just have to suck it up and go out there and be seen is unhelpful. You know you need to be visible to your audience but you could be facing internal and external barriers that are holding you back.
These fears could be a feeling of not being a charismatic personality or good enough, which is often rooted in the fear of judgement, being afraid to show your face and share your stories because of what others will say about you and your work. Valid fears when you consider the dark sides of interacting in our online worlds, where showing up often requires having a thick skin to fend of things like thoughtless comments.
Showing up as the face behind your business doesn’t mean being visible 24/7, there are ways to do it in alignment with who you are. And keep in mind showing up is not just about physically showing your face it also relates to the relevant personal stories you may want to share with your audience.
Here are some things you can do if the thought of showing up as the face of your business is causing you sleepless nights:
Pinpoint the source of your resistance
What is the reason you don’t like being in the spotlight? There are many reasons why people struggle with showing up as the face behind their work, including being:
- a private person
- naturally shy
- an introvert
Once you understand why showing up as the face of your work and brand is something you wrestle with you are better able to create a visibility strategy that suits your requirements. The key is to work through your resistance and not against it.
Set boundaries over how you show up
It can help to put in place boundaries over how and when you choose to show up. Having boundaries prevents you from over sharing and feeling like you’re losing control. Rather take the time to plan out how you need to show up. For example, when selling your work at a craft market being physically present to interact with and sell to customers is, for most, unavoidable. In contrast posting behind the scenes updates on social media doesn’t mean showing your face in every single post you share. For example you could choose to share one image of yourself every 10 or 20 posts. Where showing up is through images of yourself select the ones you will use and share on your website, social media pages, press releases and so forth.
Showing your face doesn’t literally mean showing your face
Not every business requires the owner to show up as the face of their brand, but if the story of your work and business centres around you then your audience is going to want to see you. That said, being the face of your brand doesn’t mean literally showing your face, so get creative with how you present your content. Options include, presenting graphics and videos and speaking as a voice over. You could experiment with poses like not looking directly into the camera or showing your self making where the focus is not solely on you.Doing this will help build your confidence with showing your face.
Create a bank of personal brand images
Having a set of personal brand images can go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable with showing your face when promoting your work. Not only does this give you a set of go-to images to use, taking away the anxiety of having to take your own images, but it also boosts your confidence when it comes to sharing images of yourself. If you can afford to invest in a professional personal branding shoot I highly recommend it. There are photoshoot options to suit every budget including free, for example, if you enter into a barter exchange with the photographer. If a photoshoot is not an option, experimenting with your mobile camera and a bit of planning are the next best thing. There are plenty of online resources to guide you on everything from posing to lighting. And, keep mind the images you create will align with the stories you want to share.
Start with the platform you feel most confident with
There are many platforms for you to choose from and it can get overwhelming trying to show up as the face of your brand on them all. Take it slow by starting with the platform you feel most confident with. Once you establish a presence on that platform you can then explore others, adapting the way you share your content and how you prefer show your face to suit. When you are confident with being on a platform it will come through and your audience will respond accordingly.
Identify a person and speak directly to them
When you do public speaking a common piece of advice is to make eye contact with someone who is responsive to what you are saying. Speaking directly to them can put you at ease, encouraging and helping you to relax. This technique can be adapted to showing up as the face behind your work. To do this identify then create a visual representation of your customer or audience member and call it to mind whenever you need to show up. This is where having customer personas come in handy. I go through these in my branding masterclass.
Get help with sharing your content
Sometimes getting someone else like a VA, or a freelance marketing or social media marketing manager to create, schedule, post and share your content for you can remove the barrier around doing it yourself. Just remember to remain involved to ensure that nothing gets shared without your approval.
If you’d like to create a deeper connection with your audience but are struggling with how to show up as the face of your brand I invite you to have a look at Unfold Your Story, my signature brand storytelling course dedicated to helping designers, makers, creatives and artisan brands create and share their stories, meaningfully.
*Craft Council: The Market for Craft, Commissioned by the Crafts Council and Partners, May 2020.
[Image credits: The images shown belong to cottonbro studio. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]