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Putting the “Authentic You” in Your Online Business

I just finished reading and fell in love with a fiction book
by author Angela Hunt called

The Note
.  The main character, Peyton McGruder,
writes a column, "The Heart Healer", for a Tampa newspaper. 
Peyton’s journalist training has taught her to report only
the facts when she writes and not interject any of her own
thoughts, opinions, or feelings. 

So, instead of a column about healing hearts, Peyton
routinely writes dry "how-to" pieces. Her readers,
accustomed to the heartfelt sentiments of the previous
writer of the column, are less than thrilled with Peyton’s
efforts.  Readership is down, and Peyton is called into her
editor’s office one day and given an ultimatum:  she
has 3 weeks to increase her readership or her column will be
given to someone else.

Peyton, devastated by this news, decides to take a week of
vacation to contemplate her next steps. Simultaneously,
Tampa’s worst fictional airline crash occurs, killing all
aboard, and Peyton gets caught up in the activity of
reporting the news of the crash.  One of Peyton’s readers
gives her a note believed to have been written by a male
airline passenger and asks Peyton to find the child for whom
the dying father wrote the note.  Peyton decides to
chronicle in her column her journey of finding the note’s
intended recipient, and in the process, discovers herself.

I used to be Peyton McGruder.  I’ve always been praised for
my writing ability, but writing had always been a struggle,
as I believed I had to write to conform to someone else’s
rules.  Because the writing process always gave me a
headache, I chose not to write very often.  And, I truly
believed that nothing very interesting ever happened to me,
so what would I write about, anyway?

Thanks to some encouragement from a few wonderful clients, I
slowly began the journey to finding my writing voice and
realized I had lots to say, both personally and
professionally.  I spent the better part of my youth and
young adulthood stifling my true feelings and keeping hidden
the trauma I’d experienced while growing up. 

It wasn’t until I hit 35 and my life began to spin out of
control that I felt I had any real life experience to write
about.  It was then that I finally acquired the maturity to
publicly admit that the girl who was always seen as perfect,
highly motivated, goal driven, and without a worry in the
world was completely imperfect and had her trials and
tribulations just like everyone else.  Moreover, writing in
my own voice with my own rules telling my own stories
enabled me to connect with others in ways I had never

So, what does this have to do with running a business or
Internet marketing?  Simply that YOU need to show up in your

The decision to show your authenticity requires an
inordinate amount of courage.  When you decide to let it all
hang out and show your flaws, you risk offending others in
some way. The bottom line is that not everyone will like
you, no matter how hard you try, so don’t waste any more
time worrying about it and get on with the process of
living.  I will tell you, though, that being the same person
with the same values and standards in both your life and
business makes your day-to-day living much saner with much
less possibility of major internal conflicts when your life
and business collide.

I truly believe that it’s only in showing your foibles, your
humor, and your life lessons that you can begin to establish
relationships online and begin to build the like, know and
trust factor so that someone will buy what you’re selling.

Will this happen overnight?  Absolutely not.  Just like in
real life, it takes time to nurture virtual relationships. 
In my experience, some resonate immediately with my website
or blog and hire me right away.  For others, it takes months
or even a year or two to come to that decision. 

How many people have I scared away at this point by simply
being me?  I’ll never know.  I consider my authenticity to
be my client litmus test — you’ll either like me and hang
around or I’ll drive you nuts and you leave, and both are
ok.  There are more than enough of the former to keep me in

Do your prospective clients get a true sense of you when
they read your brochure, peruse your business card, stumble
across your web site, read your blog, or listen to your
podcast?  As a service business owner, one of your most
unique selling propositions is YOU.  What steps do you need
to take to bring your unique perspective into your business
so that you don’t look or sound just like everyone else in
your industry?

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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