For years I did no outreach in my business. By outreach I mean reaching out to influencers, connecting with people who were further along the entrepreneurial path than me, putting myself forward for interviews, pitching myself to media or conference organisers.
I said yes if things came my way but I never went looking for them because it all felt like too much hard work.
- I felt uncomfortable about putting myself forward with thoughts of ‘I’m a nobody, why would they be interested in me?’
- I felt pushy, like others would judge me for stepping forward and presuming a place at the table when I hadn’t been explicitly invited. (By whom? I’m not sure. There is no official invitation to the table of entrepreneurial success. You invite yourself.)
- I felt like I should learn more first. That I should perfect my business model, improve my branding, and/or build a bigger community first.
The thing that I was missing the whole time was this; the outreach was the thing that would build my brand, take me from a so-called ‘nobody’ to a ‘somebody’, and build my community. I needed to be visible for those things to happen.
Most of all I needed to be truthful about what was really going on. I didn’t need a better business model, or to improve my branding, or wait for an invitation. I needed to overcome my fear of being judged. My fear of not being perfect. My fear of trying and failing.
The consequence of not knowing about visibility blocks and not realising what was holding me back was that my community – and my business dreams – stagnated. For quite a few years, I just couldn’t grow my community beyond 1,000 people.
I did business courses and I did money block clearing. I became very knowledgable about how to run an online business and I had an impressive conversion rate which kept the money flowing, but I just could not scale.
I felt trapped in a job of my own creation. Trading my time for money just as I had when I worked for someone else.
This was a huge problem because one of the things that really attracted me to entrepreneurship in the first place was the thought of being able to scale my business. I was chronically unwell at the time and loved the idea that I could develop a program or product and then sell it over and over again without always having to create something new.
Here’s the thing I didn’t realise when I first heard about that way of running a business; you have to continually grow your community for that to be possible. You have to be good at marketing and you have to be good at putting yourself forward for opportunities. In short, you have to be willing to be seen and heard. A lot.
Once I finally realised that it was visibility blocks that was holding me back – and I did a lot of work on clearing those blocks – I grew the School of Visibility community faster and in a much shorter period of time. In the last few years we’ve grown to almost 15,000 women and I’ve found ways to be visible that work with my visibility personality and feel natural to me – rather than feeling like I have to show up in ways that just don’t suit me.
It’s taken me 10 years to work out how to be effortlessly visible and to develop visibility habits that are in alignment with my personality, rather than working against it and this has been crucial to the growth of the School in recent years. Because when things feel hard and you work for yourself, it’s easy to just not do things. To put them off, to prioritise other tasks, to tell yourself you’ll do that later.
I dearly wish someone had come along early in my career as an entrepreneur and said, ‘There are these things called visibility blocks. You need to clear them. Once you’ve done that you’ll be set to do the number one thing you need to do in your business to grow it; you’ll tell people about yourself and your business. You’ll connect with more people. You’ll put yourself forward for opportunities. You’ll be comfortable being seen and heard and you’ll love sharing news of your business with the world.’
If you’re ready to be more visible, join us at the Visibility Challenge. It’ll help you support you to clear your visibility blocks and build your business with ease.