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Is your body image holding you back?

How many of you have suffered from body image issues? *hands go up*

I certainly have and since starting my Sparrowlegs business, it has become apparent to me how many of us women in business have struggled with the image in the mirror.  Did you know that your body image could be holding you back in your business? Body image is what we think and feel about the way that we look and not just simply what people see. So, how can it get in the way of your greatness? In the way of you showing up and being successful (and a reminder here that you get to choose what success looks like for you, it’s not one size fits all and I really didn’t intend that pun!)

Is negative body image holding you back?

So, firstly, negative body image LIMITS you. Believing you aren’t ‘beautiful’ enough (what defines beauty anyway?!) you aren’t slim enough; your skin isn’t clear enough, to be the person you want to be. We are subjected to a constant barrage of images and inferred expectations of a construed idea of what ‘beautiful’ is and sometimes we can’t see past it. These thoughts limit you; you might not choose a certain career path or say “yes” to opportunities because you believe that isn’t a choice for people who look like you. You may not progress your business because the image you have of yourself holds you back. Sometimes we think “when I’m slimmer I’ll succeed” or “when I look better, I can work on my business” – These are just limiting beliefs.

Secondly, feeling negative about the way you appear may stop you from taking risks, and from being brave. That’s not to say that I don’t have days where I look in the mirror and struggle with what I see BUT through the work that I’m doing I’ve learned how to manage those feelings better. Your body image, if negative, can keep you in your comfort zone. It can keep you from doing your lives on social media, from sharing the photos and even from turning up to meetings. We all know though, that forming true connections is a way to build our business, being relatable and vulnerable. That all starts with showing up as our true selves.

Lastly, having a negative body image makes you more likely to compare yourself with others. You can start to believe that others are more successful because they look a certain way. That’s not the case though, those that are successful (and to reiterate – success looks different for us all,) don’t limit themselves; they take the risks, and they stay on their own path without comparing. Another person’s beauty doesn’t make us less beautiful – this we MUST remember!

What can you do about it?

So, I hear you asking, what can you do to change things?

Surround yourself with the people who like and love you for who you truly are. Talk to them and you will realise that everybody has worries and insecurities. We all struggle with negative body image at times.

Support your body image by taking care of your body. That can look different for each one of you but don’t underestimate how much self-care can make you feel good about yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, and speak to yourself kindly. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend don’t say it to yourself.

Lastly, be you! People love to see the real you. Don’t let what you look like hold you back. Some people will love you and others won’t (their loss obviously!) Just remember your purpose and the right people will surround you

Now go, shine your light and follow your dreams and passions……

My links

Facebook Group:     www.facebook.com/groups/sparrowlegs

Instagram                 www.instagram.com/miss_sparrowlegs

Website                     www.sparrowlegs.com

Email                         anupa@sparrowlegs.com

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Are you setting boundaries between your personal life and business marketing?

The image shows a laptop, book and phone wrapped in chains. This is setting boundaries at its least technical and most extreme.
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-android-smartphone-on-top-of-white-book-39584/

I’m a big believer in sharing some of your life in your marketing. Here’s why. The question is, how much do you share? It’s one thing to give your audience a glimpse behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean giving them access to your entire private life. Everyone is different; what’s right for you may be inappropriate for someone else. Here are some of the things I thought about when I was setting boundaries between my marketing and life behind the scenes. I hope they help you too.

Can you talk about work?

I ran a blogging workshop at a business retreat a few years ago and one of the attendees told me that she couldn’t talk about her day job. At all. She’d signed a non-disclosure agreement. She was building a business on the side and could talk about that but couldn’t share any anecdotes about her work history or experience. It’s an extreme example, but if you work with sensitive information or have a duty of confidentiality towards your clients this could be an issue for you. The problem is that case studies are a great way of showing future customers the kind of challenges you deal with. I often share an anonymised version of a case study in these circumstances. If it’s something distinctive or highly personal I’d still recommend contacting the client in case they recognise themselves.

What do you want to protect?

Your family might support you in your business but that doesn’t mean they want to feature in your marketing. My husband has appeared in the background of a few Zoom calls, but he’d be deeply uncomfortable if I put him on Instagram. I talk about my children because it helps me to connect with other business-owning mums, but I never share images of them or mention their names. This is the kind of boundary that it’s best to set by having a conversation with the people closest to you. My kids aren’t old enough to consent to be on social media, so I don’t put them on there. That’s why I acknowledge their existence but don’t share details.

You might think this is a small issue, but it can cause rifts if you make assumptions. (Google ‘why don’t we see Aimee Osbourne’ if you don’t believe me.)

Setting boundaries around personal details

Setting boundaries isn’t just about protecting your family members and throwing caution to the wind when it comes to your privacy. On a practical level, sharing too much personal information puts you at risk of identity theft or being scammed.

You might have started your business because of something you went through and want to help others with. Connecting with your audience might mean sharing some incredibly personal details. You might be talking about your experience of baby loss, medical treatment or mental health issues. Your audience might read about your experience and emotions and be relieved that they’re not alone. At the same time, you might feel that some details are too personal. Remember, it’s your decision. If it feels like too much, leave it out. I know you want to help your audience but think about what’s right for you too.

Do you need some help creating marketing with the right boundaries? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat. Or, sign up to my mailing list for blogging and marketing hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Why you need to show your life in your marketing

A woman celebrating - you can put life into your marketing too.

You’ve probably seen loads of marketing advice telling you that you need to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s all true. When you have a small business, you need to go one step further and share a bit of your life with your customers. The big brands can build a corporate image around their values, but you need to show your audience who you are as a person. Here’s why you need to put some of your life into your marketing.

It makes your audience feel part of something

Content marketing is designed to help you build a relationship with your audience so that they’ll buy from you. When your marketing creates a community, it helps your audience feel as if they’re part of something amazing. That might happen because of chats in the comments on your posts or what you share in your Facebook group.

The easiest way to make your audience feel included is by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. If you create products, you can share videos or posts of you making something. Someone might see the work in progress and decide they must have the finished product! Case studies are brilliant if you’re like me and offer a less visual service. You can show prospective customers the process so they know how you work and can read about the results.

Shared experience connects you with your customers

Maybe you started your business because you came through a challenge and wanted to help other people do the same. Your story needs to be central to your marketing. It shows your customers that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve been in their shoes. You can build trust by talking about your experiences. This is particularly good for business or health coaches, personal trainers and parenting experts.

Showing your life and the experiences you share with your customers can also work in another way. Whilst it might not be directly relevant to your business, sometimes you just want to work with someone who’s on the same wavelength as you or support their business. I work with lots of business-owning mums and it gives you a shorthand that makes communication easy and fun.

Sharing your life shows people you’re human

When you spend time running a business online, you’ll inevitably come across people who forget you’re a human being with feelings. They think that those nasty comments will bounce off (if they even think before they type). Sharing posts that show people what your life is like when you’re not at work helps to remind people that you’re a real person. It could also help to distinguish you from another, similar, business. I haven’t had anyone tell me they want to work with me because I’m a rugby fan so far, but you never know!

One word of caution; use posts like this sparingly. Every so often is fine but your customers aren’t your friends. They don’t need 500 pictures of your baby, cute puppy or to hear about how hungover you are. Just an occasional reminder that you have a life outside business.

Are you ready to put some of your life into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat.