When I finally decided to jump off a cliff and start my own freelance copywriting business, I was terrified. I mean, literally shaking-in-my-boots kind of terrified.
I wasn’t worried about finances, even though I’d just quit my job. I wasn’t worried about attracting clients, even though I didn’t have any.
The one thing that kept me awake at night was my competitors. And the horrible nagging feeling that I would never match their brilliant standards.
From what I could see, every other copywriter was exceptional. Their websites were great. Their writing was perfect. They were members of this, and guest posted on that. How on earth could I compete?
I read so much I lost sight of who I was
I read everything I could find. Seriously every single blog, web page, link, and interview I could get my hands on. My mind was buzzing with ideas and techniques about how to build a successful business.
When I found something that sounded great, I bookmarked it. But then I found something better by someone else so I bookmarked that too. I just kept bookmarking and reading until it got to the point where I just froze.
The nagging voice inside my head told me over and over again why I could never compete. Never be good enough. I was a fraud, an imposter, a fake, it screamed.
I spent so much time reading about my fellow copywriters that I lost sight of who I was. I forgot why I started this journey to begin with. I lost my voice.
Then one morning while I was moping around feeling sorry for myself, I had an epiphany. I remembered what I had been telling my friends for years; that things are not always as they seem.
The internet and social media only give us part of the story. They create a facade. A fake world filled with filtered images and fairytales.
For every perfect Instagram shot, there are 100 horrible shots before it. For every perfectly written post, there are thousands of deleted words. You can never know what someone’s life is like unless you live with them – day in and day out.
Finding my own voice
I realised that the only way I would ever be successful was if I maintained my own voice. I needed to stop comparing myself to my competitors and start building the business of my dreams.
I also came to the conclusion that the professional standards set by my competitors were a positive thing because it made me work harder. It made my will to succeed even greater.
Since starting my business, I have met lots of copywriters. Funnily enough, they are all wonderful people and brilliant at what they do. But they are not me. They have not lived my life or shared my experiences. They can only write what they know, just as I can.
These days whenever negativity creeps in, I remind myself of who I am and why I started my business. I tell myself that although it’s good to have people to look up to, success can only come if I stay true to myself, to my vision and most importantly, to my voice.
5 tips to help you stay true to yourself in business
- Create a mission statement – this will help you define your goals and remind you why you started your journey. Print it out and hang it in your office so you never forget who you are and your company’s reason for being.
- Get a mentor – a mentor is one of the most powerful tools you can employ as a business owner. A good mentor will not only keep your business on track but they will act as a sounding board whenever you need advice or a confidence boost.
- Take a break from social media – social media is both a blessing and a curse. If it starts to impact your mental health, unplug yourself and take a break. It will still be there waiting for you when you get back.
- Use positive affirmations – gather all your favourite quotes and inspirational images and pin them around your office. Whenever you feel down, read the quotes and look at the pictures. This will remind you that there is more to life than work and that your job does not define who you are.
- Read your reviews – whenever you start to doubt yourself, read your customer reviews. If you haven’t kept track of them, reach out to your customers and ask them how they have been affected by your business.
Do you have any tips on staying true to yourself to add to this list?