Have you built a brand online and wonder if you can shift your focus without destroying your impact and losing followers?
I think that many people in this day and age of social media will find some level of “success” by building a large following on a platform but then they struggle with personal growth. So today I want to give some advice from my own experience.
In 2008 many people know that I launched a nonprofit and ministry, this was after 16 years of working as a youth pastor, being listed as a backup speaker for the likes of Judah Smith and doing TONS of charity type work. I grew my “brand” online where the majority of people began to know me as a minister and I did get some speaking engagements. I published a few books on topics that are important to me and grew a successful podcast. However, I found a gigantic brick wall in front of me in the religious community because the majority do not believe in single women being any type of teacher, leader. In fact I cannot think of one woman that is single (that didn’t grow up in an already established organization by her parents) that has any impact in our current day within the church. There are many who try but very few that succeed and if they do they are usually worship leaders. I then began helping other women build their own churches, ministries and businesses because I saw the need and the opportunity since influence was no longer limited due to social media. However, for myself to actually make a living off of speaking engagements within the four walls I realized was going to be an impossibility. I had to make a decision to be limited or to provide more of who I was to a larger demographic that would actually want to hear what I had to say.
Towards the end of 2015 I realized that not only was my passion much broader than just my faith but that I had a lot more of who I was to offer the world. Because during the past 25 years I had been working in Corporate America and most recently working in Business Management and Consulting to some of the largest brands that exist as well as federal and state government. I had continued to build businesses with my free time and my passion was creating, building and reaping the rewards of my hard work. One of the things I absolutely loved about sales was the fact that hard work paid off instantly. It was almost a high because when I had worked hard in an office environment my hard work didn’t always turn into any type of reward. So from that perspective business became a passion.
So while so many had become accustomed to my faith they were not accustomed to everything else I did because I was not sharing that content at that time online. In 2016 I established “A Call To Thrive LLC” to help people find their purpose, go after their dreams and focusing more on the business aspect drawing from my experience.
Have I lost a ton of followers? Absolutely. But I am not upset by the people who have moved on because while they may have enjoyed the content I provided around my faith I am not a one dimensional person and neither are you. The reality is that where we may share some of the same values they do not share my passion for helping people to succeed in life and in business. Those same people were the ones I was trying to offer business advice to and they kept wondering why I cared and I kept wondering what was wrong with them. Didn’t they want to know how YouTube worked? How to get views? Why didn’t they care about growing their impact? It drove me nuts!
I may have not been the most talented speaker on the planet at the time (it took time folks) but I will tell you one thing, if I needed to figure out how some sort of technology worked to build a business I would find the hack.
I was spending my free time listening to the Cocoa Cast which was a podcast learning Xcode, I was figuring out how to develop Apple Apps and I became an Apple Developer. After two years in school learning how to be a web designer, then taking SQL to query Oracle databases, learning ASP, handcoding websites and learning how to hack into someone’s firewall I felt like any technology had a “hack”. Pretty much through my early 30s I spent my evenings online, coding websites, spending times in forums and discovering the internet through dial up. Yes I am a total computer geek.
So how could I leave the value that I had to offer, my technical mind, my business development sense and my passion to see people succeed in the dust and not share it? Is being true to myself more important than how many people like me for it? Absolutely.
I can create a level of value, I believe, that I could not when I was limiting myself and let’s face it. When it comes down to it numbers really don’t matter. What matters is the community of the few you can help succeed or whatever your desire is for your business and life and quite frankly you never know who is watching you grow and step out that has a far bigger reach than you do.
Bottom line is this. I believe that there is great value in being true to who you are and showing as much of who you are as possible. When we live in one dimension and then feel that we cannot be an actual human being that is far from one dimensional we imprison ourselves to others opinions. And I don’t care who you are, no amount of success is worth compromising who you are.
Be true to yourself even as you grow as an individual first and don’t worry about numbers, just focus on creating value. In a world where people get so into numbers it can be hard to know which one of us is mentally ill, those that focus just on numbers or those that work all night to provide value to one follower. But at the end of the day authenticity wins. Do what you love and find your gift.