It’s scary to show up and really be seen. I know because I’ve been ghosting myself and my business for YEARS! Literally… years!

I had a vision and a clear plan centered around what I really, really wanted to experience in 2020 at the end of 2019. My vision was to automate processes and create standalone products that would generate a little extra income without trading more of my time. In the midst of the pandemic, I fell deep into a creative well that brought to life many ways to earn the passive income I envisioned. I even designed a planner to help me achieve my bigger vision, which turned into a new business, Juggling Khaos.

And I was on track to succeed UNTIL… I actually had to go talk about, promote and sell all the new creative products that came to completion in the third quarter of 2020. That’s where things got ugly and when my “ghosting” symptoms started showing up for real. I already had a business and could have simply focused on promoting those services. But I didn’t. Instead, it was easier to launch an entirely new business. The sheer lack of active marketing was embarrassing and I really didn’t know what to do about it. While I love creating a ton of high value content and products, the truth is, I have zero confidence when it comes to marketing myself or my business.

The funny thing is, I didn’t realize I’d been “hiding’ until very recently. I’ve been working with an accountability partner who pushes me to explore what’s getting in the way of clear goals and fierce work ethics, but a total lack of results when it came to my creative ventures. She asked me point blank, “Kelly, why aren’t you promoting all of the amazing things you’ve created this past year?” I listed all the “reasons” and while they were all legitimate (no marketing plan, no clear strategy to sell, no budget), they weren’t the REASON. She picked up on this right away. She has a radar for bullshit like that.

“Tell me what’s really going on,” she said in her most caring but direct tone. “People may not want it or like it.” “Okay. But what if some people LOVE it and buy it? Why not get it out there and find out.” “But what if it sucks and they don’t?” “Kelly, what would you tell your client if they spent an entire year creating products but never actually tried selling them?” “I’d tell them they need to step up and start promoting them ASAP.” And then, as those words left my lips, I realized everything I had been telling my clients to do I was completely resisting. I was ghosting myself, my dreams and my business. This painful revelation flew in as fast as the virus and left a similarly distressing impact. And OMG the ghosting symptoms suck…

  • It was painful to talk about what I created, and when I did, I babbled about nothing. I circled the drain. Never landed the plane. Flinched when it came time to sell.
  • The mere thought of creating a simple post sharing what I had created gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach.
  • Downplaying the quality of what I had created with “I guess it’s okay,” “it’s almost good enough,” “not bad for my first try.”

Woah there… hold up a sec. I’m a marketing copywriter for crying out loud! This is what I do for a living. This is WHY people hire ME. Ugh! The ONE thing I encourage my clients to do in their businesses is… Step up, show up and share your message.

And yet, here I was, not doing the ONE thing that I know makes a business successful. I wasn’t showing up. Hell, I was going way beyond just not showing up. I was staying completely invisible. Like so many of my clients, I wanted to be seen and I wanted to get out there and share what I’ve learned, but I was (and still am) afraid to step up and be seen for who I am. Yikes! That’s a BIG problem.

And if I’m struggling, as a marketing expert who gets paid to write sales copy…. I know I am not alone and many other business owners encounter this same block too. So, with the help of my accountability partner, I faced the big *ss block of being afraid to be “seen.” I explored what was really holding me back and surprisingly it wasn’t the gray hair, the imperfect skin or even the lack of lighting or proper equipment. It was much deeper and far more nefarious than these “external” things. Here’s what came up for me when I thought about stepping up, showing up and being really seen…

  • What if people made fun of me?
  • What if I offered generic, run of the mill crap that no one wanted or needed?
  • What if I got real and people laughed, mocked or made fun of me?
  • What if people started unfollowing or unfriending me?
  • What if my family judged me?
  • Or worse, what if I showed up and shared who I really am as I am and no one liked me.

Uhhh, no thank you! No wonder I’ve been hiding! This all sounds like my worst nightmare. But it also sounds like a bunch of excuses. Because, yes, it’s safer to hide. There’s no risk of getting hurt, or being judged or being rejected if I never really show up. Ahhh… and there it is. The real reason, the real fear, the real block and why I’ve been in hiding for so long. If I’m seen as I am, I risk getting hurt. I risk getting rejected. That kind of makes me want to cry, but in a good way. Because now I can deal with what’s really going on.

If any of what I’m sharing sounds familiar, but you’re not exactly sure if or how you’re ghosting yourself or your business, here’s what it looks like:

  • You are uncomfortable promoting yourself and/or your products/services
  • You often stay quiet in a crowd even when you know you could offer real value
  • You hardly ever (or never) run ads or talk about what you offer
  • Your heart races (and you feel a little sick to your stomach) when anyone asks what you do
  • You downplay your expertise or knowledge
  • You are so afraid of saying the wrong thing, you don’t say anything
  • You are a writer who never writes for yourself or your business
  • You compare yourself to others, and in your mind, you never “measure” up
  • You don’t believe (unconsciously maybe) that you’re worthy of success (not smart enough, savvy enough, good enough, good-looking enough , young enough, etc)
  • You hide behind your clients, your colleagues or partners
  • You are afraid to be “seen” online
  • You worry no one will care about what you have to say
  • You doubt you have anything meaningful to offer
  • You don’t take any risks because you are terrified of failing and how that will “look”

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of hiding, of playing small, of working so dang hard but missing the most important step in the goal achieving process… receiving the rewards and gifts of creating by sharing those creations with others.

So here’s what I’m doing about it in 2021. I’m going ALL IN on myself and my business. I’m showing up and stepping up to become 100x more visible and more vulnerable. Period. And if you’re here, reading this, I know you are tired of playing small too.

If you’re ready to step up and be seen as you are and who you are, here are 10 ways to show up in 2021:

  1. Do ONE thing that scares you at least once per month
  2. Be willing to fail (actually, look forward to it because this is how you’ll get better)
  3. Look for opportunities to be different and unique
  4. Add value wherever and whenever you can (it gets easier with practice)
  5. Trust your gut (you always know what’s best for you)
  6. Be 100% yourself – do it YOUR way
  7. Ask for help or share your struggles (people love to share their wisdom and secrets)
  8. Start conversations with potential partners and clients
  9. Invest in your personal and professional growth
  10. Get comfortable and confident in saying no to people and projects that don’t align with your business vision

And to anyone who chooses to judge, dismiss, unfriend or belittle you as you step up, say BRING IT. Because once you’re ready to be seen, there’s only one way to go and that’s UP. I’d love to hear from you. Reach out to me and let me know how you’re going to stop hiding and start showing up in your life and business.

Kelly Stokes Brown is the Owner of KSB Online Marketing. Affectionately known as “the fixer” by clients and colleagues, Kelly has over 10 years’ experience in sales copywriting and lead generation. With a tenacious spirit combined with in-depth understanding of the psychological principles of copywriting and sales, Kelly often exceeds her clients’ expectations in delivering copy and in providing innovative solutions to marketing and sales challenges many business owners face. Kelly is also the Founder of Juggling Khaos, through which she is dedicated to creating the best all-in-one planners for freelancers, consultants, and solopreneurs.