microphones We’ve talked before about storytelling and authenticity, and how being your true self is your most powerful branding tactic. But just how open and honest should you be when it comes to sharing your story?

Pat Flynn and Jon Lee Dumas are notorious for their transparency, even going so far as to post monthly income statements. You might argue that when you’re making the kind of bank they do (6+ figures each month) it’s easy to share—perhaps even inspirational to your audience. But it might also be off-putting to some, since talking about money is often seen as vulgar. In this case, though, it works to attract the exact audience they are after. Others will find other mentors, and that is, after all, the point of marketing.  

Transparency comes in other forms as well. Struggles with alcoholism, depression, cancer and other health concerns are commonly shared. Stories of marriage and relationship triumphs (and tragedies) are told. Even spats between competing businesses aren’t off limits for some marketers.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to be frank and honest about all areas of your life and business. With a little forethought and planning, you can keep certain aspects of your story private.

Watch Your Social Media Profiles

Here’s where a lot of business owners falter, especially when it comes to Facebook. You have your personal profile, to which you invite friends and family, and your business page, where you talk, well, business.
But there will inevitably be some overlap. Colleagues will slowly filter into your personal timeline, and you into theirs. Pretty soon, your business people are hearing all about your latest bout with the flu and that snarky thing your mother in law said yesterday. Too much? Maybe.

When it comes to your social media sharing, it’s important to pay close attention to not only what you say, but who you’re saying it to. Using privacy settings, contact lists, and even limiting who you “friend” can help maintain your privacy while still being transparent about your business offerings.  ( click here to read more about these).

Remember, the Internet is Forever

While privacy settings can help, a better way to keep your personal business away from prying eyes is to simply not post it at all. Think of every blog post, Tweet, Facebook status update and Instagram pic as a billboard. If you wouldn’t post it on the side of the highway for all who pass to read it, don’t put it online either. The chance that it will “leak” (despite your best efforts) is great, and once it’s out there, you will never get it back.

So think twice about those nasty replies, intimate details, and other confidential information. You just never know who might be reading, and they will affect your brand image.

The bottom line? Know your audience and know yourself. If you’re not comfortable sharing certain aspects of your life and business, chances are they won’t be comfortable hearing about it, either. It’s okay to maintain some privacy, even in this transparent world of online marketing.

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people at a tableOnce you’ve set your mind on a goal and cleared away distractions, you’re ready to get started working. But first, you need to do some planning. When you plan in advance and use that plan, you’re more likely to succeed with your goals. ( To read the first post in the series ,click here)
You can make a list of things to do to reach your goal. But it’s usually easier to start by evaluating what you need to make your goal a reality.

Tools or Supplies
What tools or supplies will you need in order to meet your goal? If you’re starting a blog, you’ll need a website and hosting. If you’re aiming to lose weight, you’ll need a food scale and measuring cups. If you’re starting a jewelry business, then you’ll need modeling clay to make charms and necklace thread.
You also need to consider supplies you may have forgotten about. If you’re starting a business, you may need child care. If you’re changing your diet, you may need new recipe books to help you prepare healthier meals.

Specialized Help
Sometimes, you can’t achieve your goals by yourself. That’s where specialized help comes in. Specialized help can take many forms. It might be hiring a personal trainer so you can get the toned body you want. It might be hiring a business coach to help you book enough clients to pay your bills.
Specialized help can sometimes be expensive. But if your goal is important to you, don’t be afraid to invest in it. Some coaches and trainers may be willing to work with you to develop a payment plan so be sure to ask if this is an option. ( Click here to schedule a free consultation to see how I can help you).

Support from Friends and Family
You can’t succeed in a bubble. In order to reach your goals, you’ll need the support of your family and friends. If your family and friends can’t be supportive, you should look for the support elsewhere.
Joining a support group or finding an online community can be helpful in these situations. Look for groups and communities that leave you feeling upbeat and are filled with people that want to achieve similar goals.

Return the Support
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your new goal that you forget to invest in others. If you’re part of a group or community, make sure that you offer help to other members. Be willing to take time from your day to support someone else.
Now that you do know what you need in order to succeed, it’s time to go after your goal. It’s scary to take that first step, but you have to be willing to do it. Once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll experience a rush of confidence and increased motivation.

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