It’s a simple enough question, really…
What do you do?
Are you a consultant? An entrepreneur? A vlogger? A blogger? A writer? An author? A producer? A project manager? A healer? A coach? An artist? A strategist? And on and on we could go…
Yes, I am all of those and more. A mother. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A human being.
So, where, when and why is it important to be able to put yourself into a box that gives you a label? Is it important to have a label?
Yes, it is.
And no, it isn’t.
It isn’t important because we are all people and labels (rich, poor, black, white, red, thin, fat, etc) shouldn’t matter.
It is important because as a business owner, if you want people to be able to pay you for your services or buy your products, they need to be able to put a label on you and your work. This type of label is not a bad thing, it is simply an indication of the type of product or service that you offer and the desired outcome. The more direct your label is, the greater the chance that people will hire you simply because they know that if they looking for a “small business blogger” (or whatever your label is) you are someone who fits that description.
For example, if I am hiring a web developer, I know that this person will most likely be able to write the code for the new website that I need for my business. I do not expect this person to be a virtual assistant or a graphic designer, although some web developers do offer these services as well.
While being multi-talented is a blessing, it can also be a curse in business. When your audience can put many labels on you, it dilutes your strengths and makes the necessary label seem a bit elusive. If you want to make the sale, you have to be able to put an identifying label on yourself. I can tell you this from experience, as I am someone who has…
- been an artist (with collectors all over the world and exhibitions across the US)
- worked in costume design for film
- directed and produced short films and videos
- been a child safety expert who has appeared on television shows as a parenting expert
- written a bestselling child safety book, produced an award winning child safety video and spoken at international conferences on topics ranging from child safety to parenting
- hosted, co-hosted and been a panelist at tweet chats for mom-focused social media marketing campaigns
- written several screenplays (not yet sold or produced, but have pitched to networks, production companies and networks)
- won awards for being a leader in small business
- been named a top social media blogger
- worked with 20th Television to launch the social media community “Friends of Ricki” for the Ricki Lake Show
- produced Youtube videos and appeared in videos with other vloggers and video personalities
- spoken and moderated panels at conferences for entrepreneurs and bloggers
- hosted my own radio show about small business and appeared as a guest on other shows talking about social media and business
- contributed to the Huffington Post and other magazines in the areas of small business and lifestyle
- and the list goes on
As you can see, with all of this experience, it is challenging to put a label on what it is that I do. I do and have done a LOT! And I am sure that many of you have a list that is just as long, with experiences that make it difficult to put a label on the powerful work that you do. Some call it your brand story. Some call it your resume. Whatever you call it, sum it up into an easy to explain label or elevator pitch.
In many ways, having a vast array of experiences is a benefit because it gives you a ton of information and resources to pull from with each new project. The drawback does not come from having a wide range of talents and strengths, but from the overwhelm of having done so much.
Focus in on where your passions and opportunities lie so that you can articulate how people can benefit from the work that you can do for them.
To solve this “labeling” problem for myself, I took some time to really look at the whole picture of me and the life that I want to create for myself and my family. It sounds silly, but without doing this work, I felt confused and overwhelmed when someone asked me this simple question about what I do. So, after all of this experience, I am now focusing on my writing and creative talents, but it took a little while to settle on a label. For the past few months, when someone would ask me what I do, I would immediately get a pit in my stomach because all I could think of was what I had done.
It took quite a bit of soul searching and writing out what I want to be doing now and in the future to come to terms with the idea of having a concrete label to slap on my work. But, I have finally figured it out!
I am a new media content producer and Work Smart Lifestyle is part of my portfolio.
What is it that you do?