Should you share your personal life in your business? This is one of the most important questions you have to answer as a business. Will you share your personal life on your blog, social media outlets, and in clients meetings? I really struggled with the answer to this question in my business for a long, long time and it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I think there is an easy way to approach this dilemma.
Here's the question:
Do people have to work with you personally in your business?
Your answer to this question dictates your answer to the first. If people don’t have to work with you personally to be a customer, then you probably don’t need to be sharing your personal life in your business. In fact, I think that sharing your personal life could limit your business if you haven’t already included your life as part of your brand story.
However, if people have to work with you to purchase your services or gain value from the product, then you should be sharing your story! I think that this story looks different for different people. There are also boundaries you need to set. You should never use a marketing platform as a diary. But if it's something you would share with a casual acquaintance, your audience should get to hear it too!
I like to approach my story from a friend and public speaking standpoint. If it's something I would share with a friend then I want to share it online. If it's something I would share if I was speaking in front of a large group of people then I want to share it online! If it's something that I would only share with the friends who hold my heart, the internet just does not need or get to hear about it!
Let’s look at some brands!
Emily Ley - The Simplified Planner
I have linked to Emily so many times on this space. I love her planner and I love the heart behind the planner. In fact, that’s why I was willing to invest in her planner! I wanted part of her story to be part of mine: a simple life. Until recently, she just had one instagram account and it promoted her online business and she also used it to share her story.
It was a brilliant move for her to add an instagram account devoted entirely to the Simplified Planner. Especially since she will be launching another brand this fall! Because she has made her story part of her brand, she continues to share her personal life and business products on her (now) personal instagram account! This is a great example of a brand that does not need to work with you personally. She just decided to share her story and continues to do so!
You had to know that I was going to bring up this company! I think that Steve Jobs was a brilliant entrepreneur and there is much to learn from his time at Apple. This brand does not share their personal lives and if they did, I can’t imagine that I would be interested! I want to stay up-to-date with Apple so that I have the latest news on new products.
I think the “Share a coke” campaign is a brilliant one! It encourages you to buy a coke for yourself and one for a friend which naturally doubles sales. Like Apple, they don’t share about the personal lives of their employees. A better move of Coke would be to share the personal stories of their fans to encourage community!
This girl is a personal stylist, business coach and marketing genius. In order to purchase anything from her, you have to work with her directly. Even if it’s in the form of a pre-recorded webinar! You will see personal styling tips, business advice, photos of her niece, and her fun personality on her Instagram. It makes sense for her to share her personal life because of the personal brand that she has built!
So now it’s my turn: Do people have to work with me personally in my business? Yes, yes they do. And I don’t have any plans to change this! If you want me as your photographer, then I am the one photographing you. If you want me as your business coach, I’m the one coaching you. It’s because of this that I need to strategically and authentically share my personal story in my business.
This doesn’t look like using the internet as an emotional outlet or trying to create a support group from the people who follow my work. There are some important boundaries that each business needs to implement, but that’s a post for a different time! In my brand, that looks like authentically sharing my real life, behind the scenes photos of me working, or what I was thinking when I was shooting.
So start by answer the following question: Do people have to work with you personally in your business? Once you have the answer to that, you will know whether you should be sharing your personal story online or not!