The other day a small business owner (a man), noted how much my blog seems to “feel his pain.” I liked the compliment but then had to ask — “do you think it’s too dark? Do I share too much about the struggle versus the joy?” We had a good conversation about how there are plenty of inspirational slogans and memes and hero-driven, blue-sky press profiles of successful entrepreneurs, to say nothing of the Facebook phenomenon of the-fabulous-life-you’re-not-living…but that too few people talk about the swamp, the hairy underbelly, of this entrepreneurial life.
I think I do talk about the challenge more than the pleasure because I’ve established a “space” where I unpack conventional wisdom. That is my format. You have one too — whether it’s in writing or in a product that solves problems or a regular event or even your social media feed. People have come to expect a certain contribution from you. Continuing to support and inform that “format” builds your voice in that space.
There are platforms where it’s always a mom championing the underdog, or a cook working without sugars, or an entrepreneur on the balcony of her five star hotel (showing you what success looks like…ahem.) The topics change, but the conversation should always share a common DNA.
If I wrote about yacht excursions and shopping trips to Paris, maybe you’d still read —but it would be for a different reason. My format relies on asking questions, pushing back on accepted wisdom — and — not always having answers.
Your format is your formula. What do you do / say / make / reflect — that no one else does in the same way? Figure it out. Then keep doing it.