Authenticity in Business: How to Ignore "Should" + Use Your Uniqueness

Comfort zones – so cozy, so convenient, so easy to stay in them! But often we’ll struggle to achieve anything if we stay where we are. Comfort zones can be less about what feels right and more about fear – the fear of standing out, of being different.

You will never influence the world trying to be like it.
— Sean McCabe

I first came across this image and quote on Pinterest in 2015 (possibly inspired by Sean McCabe), but it rings true today and, I'd assume, it’ll always ring true.

In this post, I want to share:

  • Why I love this quote,
  • Why, as a blogger or entrepreneur, it’s vital for you to embody being different
  • And some of amazing businesswomen who live this to the core.

And, BTW, when I talk about influencing the world, I don’t mean all 7.6 billion people on the planet. I mean your little slice of the world – your audience, readers, and wider community online and in real life.

Why you should drop the mask and just be yourself

The reasons I love the quote above is that it’s about three things:

  1. Being yourself
  2. Celebrating difference & doing things differently
  3. The impact you can have on others when you embrace #1 & #2

On the surface, it might sound like the first two contradict each other, but actually, being yourself means being true to who you are, which also means going after what you really want and, that my dear friend, often means stepping out of your comfort zone!

 authenticity in business: how to ignore should and use your uniqueness to stand out

Embracing authenticity & difference – what it can do for your brand and business

Your audience is craving authentic connection with you. By including more of your unique personality in your content and marketing, you can ensure your brand:

  • Is relatable
  • Builds trust
  • Inspires others
  • Stands out from the crowd

So, stop trying to be the person you think you should be (as in, practically copying another brand) and be who you’re truly meant to be.

Need some inspiration…?

7 Inspiring Entrepreneurs Owning Their Distinctiveness

You’ve probably heard of the famous six and seven-figure business owners who’ve built their companies with their personal brands at the center - I’m talking about people like...

  • Marie Forleo - Marie has been a huge inspiration to me from the start. She teaches that your most important differentiation factor is YOU. Even if the market seems saturated, you have to remember that no one has the same strengths, experiences, and views that you do, and someone out there needs exactly what you have to offer.
  • Sophia Amoruso of #GirlBoss - Sophia built her first biz, Nasty Gal, up to millions within a handful of years, but 10 years later filed for bankruptcy. Bought by the BooHoo group, Sophia continued as CEO and launched the #GirlBoss community. She's had her share of controversies over the years, but has built her career around being herself (which can sometimes lead to trouble)!
  • Brené Brown - Author of 4 #1 New York Times bestsellers, I’m not sure if Brené is a millionaire or not, but she has sold millions of books haha! Seriously though, her research on courage and vulnerability has enriched many lives and her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views. So, yeah, she deserves a place at this table!
  • Danielle LaPorte - I love Danielle LaPorte. I re-listen to her audiobooks almost every year, and cannot wait for her podcast to launch. I feel like she's very much herself on Instagram, which is a great example of her authenticity in branding. Her pictures aren't all styled photoshoots. In fact, a lot of the photos of her are darkly-lit (but very real) selfies.
  • Talking of authors, who hasn’t heard of J.K. Rowling?!

But I want to share a few of my personal favorites - women who are fueling their solopreneur and small businesses with pure, unabashed authenticity.

1 | Sarah Morgan - xosarah

XOSarah Blogger

I’ve followed Sarah for at least 4-5 years and it’s been so cool to see her progression. Not only is she consistently herself, she also opens up about the realities of blogging, like burn out.

For example, at the end of 2017 Sarah confessed that she’d been struggling, losing motivation and that blogging wasn't fun anymore. Later that month, her business coach said she had to “be a thought leader” and she shared her journey from disbelief to uncomfortable acceptance to injecting more creativity and writing from her heart into her content.

This really struck a chord with me, as it did many other business owners. Why do we not see or fully value our own expertise? Why is being an expert or thought-leader so difficult to claim? Food for thought indeed.

2 | Carrie Green – The Female Entrepreneur Association

carrie green female entrepreneur association

Carrie has built a thriving community of 500,000 businesswomen and she is the face of her own brand, while still putting the success of her community first. Technically, maybe she’s outgrown the solopreneur & small biz arena, but it took her at least 5 years to get to that point (and this wasn’t her 1st business either).

One of the things people (including me) seem to love about Carrie is that she shares all her ups and downs and, for the most part, she views her challenges as opportunities. Her success mindset and motivation are infectious, and she keeps it real by bringing us simple-to-do tips, behind-the-scenes videos, and great interviews.

3 | Alisha Nicole – Living Over Existing

 Living over existing by alisha nicole

Alisha is another fellow blogger I’ve followed for years – the dedication she has to her vision is admirable and I love her latest brand adventure, Living Over Existing.

What started a book, turned a blog, podcast and a whole way of biz-life! Alisha shared some inspiring truths on our, including:

 Angelica Ross copy writer & podcaster

I originally met copywriter + social media manager, Angelica, through a #createlounge twitter chat years ago, then when I moved to Pittsburgh we met in person. Since then we’ve worked on projects together and stayed connected. It's awesome to have local entrepreneur friends!

You have to check out Angelica’s IG - she posts stories on Instagram almost every day full of helpful marketing tips and her personality shines through. Also worth checking out is her newest project: a pared-back show about digital marketing called the Decent Exposure podcast, which she hosts with Jason Cercone.

5 | Tara Gentile - CoCommercial

 Tara Gentile creator of quiet power strategy and popular podcasts

Believe it or not, Tara started in 2009 as a blogger, helping arts and crafts businesses with their content, marketing and web design. In 2011 she began building upon her New Economy concept, centered around the age of ideas.

Since then, Tara’s created the Quiet Power Strategy®, and currently teaches for Creative Live, is the host of her popular podcast Profit, Power, Pursuit and founder of CoCommercial, a digital small business community for entrepreneurs. Whatever Tara’s enterprises, her personal brand is always at the heart of everything she does.

6 | Heather Crabtree founder of The Savvy Community

 Heather Crabtree founder of the savvy community

Heather is another must-follow on Instagram - she keeps it REAL over on her personal IG (with 16.8k followers!), sharing life as a biz mentor, mama, and “pediatric cancer fighting ninja." Safe to say, Heather’s family life has been completely turned upside down with her daughter London’s diagnosis of neuroblastoma, a rare cancer.

For business owners, our personal lives are never truly separate from our working lives - that’s just the way it is. Heather continues to share her journey, with both a brand Insta and personal + fantastic business blog and community for all stages of your biz.

7 | Ashley Beaudin founder of The Imperfect Boss

 Ashley beaudin movement starter & blogger

If you’ve been around here long, you’ll know I’m a big fan Ashley and what she stands for. In 2016 she invited me to take part in her #theimperfectboss campaign on Instagram and it was amazing. She ran it again – there are over 25,400 on IG! – and has since held an online summit and, in October 2018, The Imperfect Boss Camp in Ontario, Canada, with some fantastic speakers + mentors who are running small businesses, just like you. (I'll be there! Join me?)

Ashley is a writer, speaker, mentor and heart encourager. In 2017, I interviewed Ashley and she shared some nuggets, including:

My goodness, there are so, SO many amazing entrepreneurs and bloggers, this list could go on for thousands of words more!

But I’ll stop here, as I want to know - who are the personal brands that inspire YOU?

Let me know it the comments - I’m always excited to discover new bloggers & business owners.


Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!