There is nothing more frustrating for the creative entrepreneur with big ambition than feeling like nobody is listening, reading, or buying what you have to say, write, or offer. It’s especially deflating when you feel like you’re giving it everything you’ve got only to be greeted by chirping crickets in return. You might start to play the “if only…” game. “If only Seth Godin was my dad.” or “If only I had more talent.” or “If only I were friends with Marie Forleo.” or “If only anybody knew what a difference I could make!” It’s easy to throw yourself a pity party, but that’s the last thing you want to do when you feel like nobody knows who you are.
So what should you do when you’re not getting the recognition you desire or deserve? Here are a few ideas.
WHEN NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE … GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
You can lose yourself when you spend all your time trying to impress anyone and everyone who might read your blog or buy your product. Stop thinking about what “they” might like and start thinking about what it is you really want to do and be. Start by simply asking yourself “What do I want?” and go from there. Or dig deeper with daily meditation, journaling, ECourses (we’ve got one or two you might like), or hire a coach for some outside perspective and accountability.
Related post: Grounding Exercises for Dreamy Creatives
WHEN NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE … GET TO KNOW SOMEONE ELSE
If you want someone to buy your product go buy something another creative has to offer. If you want blog comments then first go comment on someone else’s blog. In other words, start creating good karma for yourself by being a someone to another creative who might feel like a nobody. You just might make their day – and you might make a new friend.
WHEN NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE … SHOW UP AND BE SEEN
If you’re feeling like nobody knows who you are show up and be seen by saying yes to as much as you possibly can. We’re talking conferences, clubs, coffee with creatives, volunteer projects, a fun workshop, yoga class… I promise after a few months of saying yes, showing up, and being seen you will no longer feel so anonymous.
Related post: How to Find Your Creative Community
Our most popular Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do will be in-session starting this Friday, August 22nd. You have until THURSDAY to register. Learn more to see if it’s a fit and sign-up here.
Or if you’re craving more work / life introspection dig in with our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. You can sign up to receive 4 weeks of creative coaching content delivered straight to your inbox for just $40 anytime.
SHARE THIS +
Our friend and internet-awesome-maker Sarah Von Bargen is re-launching her Post College Survival Kit – if you just graduated college and have spent one last summer kicking it on your mom’s couch watching Sex and The City marathons wishing you were Carrie Bradshaw (but feeling a bit more like Lena Dunham from Girls) then the Post College Survival Kit is for you. Or if you’re about to enter your senior year of college and are already freaking out about the real world that lies ahead … well, The Post College Survival Kit is for you too. Anyway, as part of Sarah’s launch she asked us to share a few bits of advice we’d like to give to our younger selves. Here’s what some of the Braid team had to say:
DON’T BE FREAKED OUT THAT EVERYONE KNOWS SOMETHING YOU DON’T from Tara
My advice to my younger self would be the rules of the real world really aren't that different than school. It kind of flies in the face of most contemporary advice of "you learn way more in the real world than you ever can in school" and that's true, you do learn more. But your confidence level to take on that learning shouldn't be diminished by the fact you're on a new playground. Don't be freaked out that everyone knows something you don't. If you were a wonderful writer in honors English, you probably should still write in your job (even if it's not in the job title). If you were a class clown, your charm should still show up for you in relationship building. Your talents don't disappear, they just get shy for a while. That's natural, but don't let ability-bashfulness keep you from putting your best stuff out there.
DO THE WORK THAT YOU WANT TO BE DOING FOR YOURSELF from Kristin
Now that you’re out of school you will finally have free time to do the work that you want to do – even if it is only on the side. Then put that work you want to be doing in your portfolio. Don't get bogged down by other people's opinions about your work, even if it is your greatest hero, because everything is subjective. There is a market for almost anything now! So follow that niche thing that you want to be doing.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH OTHER CREATIVES from Kathleen
I was really intimidated by the idea of networking after graduating from college. I thought “networking” was reserved for business majors and sorority girls, and I thought it was something you only did so you could get a job. Now I know that networking is just another way of saying “make friends with like-minded people.” My advice to my younger self would be to simply make friends with young creative professionals who will geek out about Wes Anderson films and typography with you… because in ten years you’re all going to be creative badasses.
What advice would you give your younger self? Let us know on Facebook.
SHARE THIS +
I recently read an article that said something like 92%* of first graders, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, respond with “famous.” They don’t necessarily care about how they achieve that fame – whether it’s as an actor, the president, a professional athlete … they just want to be famous. (*I have no idea what the actual percentage was but it was alarming.)
So yeah, it’s pretty disturbing that we’re bringing up kids who value fame and recognition over talent, grit, skill, and smarts. But this post isn’t going to address how we solve that problem. This post is about how I’m seeing the exact same desire for recognition happen with aspiring creative entrepreneurs. Here’s how I’m seeing this show up for well-meaning creatives:
“I want to inspire others to create and live an authentic life.”
“I want to inspire people to not give up.”
“I want to inspire and empower women to be brave…”
I get it, because... “me too.” However, inspiring others shouldn’t be the goal in and of itself. Fame, recognition, money (as much as I condone getting paid), and even something as noble as inspiring others shouldn’t be the thing that drives you to do what you do. If it is, you’ll never measure up and you’ll always be chasing a moving target.
So what I propose instead is that you capture, shape, and share whatever it is that you want to do and then be the best at it every single day. When you share who you are and go full force with the things that really light you up – that’s when you’ll inspire others. When you can package up what you do best in a way that people know how to buy – that’s when you’ll make money. And when you make waves in someone else’s life – that’s way more rewarding than whatever your perception of fame may be.
Don’t quite have a handle on what you want to do and be? Check out my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions – it’s $40 for four weeks of content that will help you dig deep so you can uncover the good stuff and make decisions about what’s next.
Our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do starts next week! It will be in session from August 22-31 and is great for bloggers, creative professionals, and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to feel more aligned both at work and play. See if it’s a good fit and register here.
SHARE THIS +