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April 18, 2017

How To Make A Living Being Yourself

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You’ve probably noticed by now, but we are in the age of the influencer. Most people want to be famous for doing little to nothing. But if you’re reading, I choose to believe otherwise. I know you’re brilliant. You do, too. You’re funny. You’re unique. And your story deserves to be heard. You have a lot to offer and thanks to this machine they call social media there is no better time to offer it. This is the most perfect time in history to make a living by being YOURSELF. But there’s a bit of a problem:

Most people don’t know what they want to do because they haven’t decided who they want to be.

People don't know what they want to do because they haven't decided who they want to be. Click To Tweet

Yeah, that’s the caveat. You have to decide who you want to become.

One of the coolest things about the Internet is that you can create a business easier than ever before and build an effective personal brand where essentially you make a living for being yourself. Being yourself doesn’t equate to being overly materialistic while trying to do what everyone else is doing. I started out a style blogger because I’m passionate about maximizing my personal style by reinventing pieces I already own. Over the years, I’ve grown to truly love using blogging as a platform to support my personal brand while I help others live what they love. But that’s my story. Not yours. And that’s totally okay. Your story matters and it’s your responsibility to know that and share it. If you’re not a style blogger, that’s fine. If you don’t want to be an online marketer & sell courses or become a music artist, that’s fine, too. But whatever you do and no matter who you are, you can both benefit and build a career by just being you.

You’re probably reading this because you feel like you’re missing something. Maybe there’s some special potion you need to drink for the light bulb to go off for this “getting paid to be yourself” thing to work. You don’t. You already have everything you need: 1. You 2. Your Story 3. Your Voice. The trifecta of authenticity. But how do you connect it all and make it work?

If your brand is your story, then branding is simply storytelling. You make a living being yourself, you must learn and master some type of storytelling. Maybe you’re an amazing writer. Or maybe you tell great stories through Instagram images. You can even tell your story through video. But you MUST tell your story in an interesting way that keep people hooked to who you are.

1. You 2. Your Story 3. Your Voice. The trifecta of authenticity. Click To Tweet

Here are the three things you must absolutely do to master telling the story of being yourself.

FIND OUT WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE TO YOU & MILK IT

When I was in my early 20’s I moved to NYC to discover myself and make my pop star dreams come true. That didn’t exactly happen (discovering yourself is a life process and I’m a full time blogger). But what I did learn is what draws people to me. I’m a true extrovert. I come a live when others are around and I can make them laugh, excited or simply feel good about themselves. I became a personal assistant for a party promoter and he told me something one day that bothered me. He said, “Mattie, you’re incredibly approachable. Anybody feels like they can come up to you and talk to you.” Now as a 22 year old, I wanted to be taken seriously. As an “adult,” that wasn’t the biggest compliment to me. But as time has gone by and I’ve built my career off of my approachability, I’ve realized that it’s my superpower. And so, I milk it.

Everybody has something that makes people like and pay attention to them. Some people are great talkers (*raises hand*), great listeners or even great storytellers. Others are fantastic at visuals. If you’re lucky, you have the ability to make a room laugh. But pay close attention to what people respond positively to you on a daily basis. Everyone from your mom to the barista at Starbucks likes a “je ne sais quoi” about you. Ask your close friends what they think your most attractive quality is. When you figure out what it is that makes you irresistible, milk it in an authentic way

SHARE YOUR STORY + USE IT AS PROOF

Your story is what makes you unique. So inject that in your everyday interaction with everyone. It’s how we connect to others. Your audience – you know those hundreds of people who follow on social media? – likes you. So share what you have going on. If you’re just starting your graphic design business, chronicle the journey on your IG stories. While you may not be the successful business owner you’re attaining to be, the story matters to others. It’s proof that you’re trying and when you do make it, it’ll be proof that you had to start at square one just like everyone else. People love that. Sure, they may not say it, but even Beyonce started out as one of four members of Destiny’s Child. She didn’t just show up with Jay-Z and Blue Ivy. We watched her go from 1 of 4, then 1 of a different 4, then 1 of 3 and then become one the biggest pop stars in the world.

No one else has it and it’s what you’ve overcome – poverty, unemployment, terminal illness, a 9 to 5 that made you unhappy – that makes your story not only matter but proves that it’s possible to make things happen. We all go through something. Some stories are longer and deeper than others but even if it’s not, still share it. Sharing your story with your audience humanizes you. When you humanize your story people trust with you. When people trust you, they pay you.

HELP THE PERSON YOU WERE IN THE PAST

If I’m being honest, you being your true self is about helping someone else. Someone who was in the same or similar position you were in the past. Use your voice to tell your story and help your audience. The reason why I teach bloggers and influencers how to monetize is because a few years ago I didn’t know how to do that. I wish I would’ve had someone to look up to and teach me how to do that. I learn through experience. I fell flat on my face numerous times and failed at working with brands. That was in the beginning when I had no idea what I was doing, how the industry worked and what the standard was. But then I got better. And I built relationships. And I kept showing up to my little blog – day in and day out – until it wasn’t so small again. It was a slow and gradual process, and I probably could’ve grown faster had I known what I do now. But now my audience can benefit from who I was because of who I am.

Your audience is typically a group of people who are who you were 2-3 years ago. How do they get better? How do they monetize? How do they get to the next level? To the right person? That is what makes your voice so powerful, because you’ll be able to tell them how to do what you’ve already done by using your story & being that thing that draws people to you.

Your voice = your story + what makes you irresistible. Click To Tweet

Keep in mind that no matter what you want to do – blog, motivational speaker, online business owner, make up artist, etc. – being yourself will help advance you further in your career – no matter what you’re niche is. It’s about being YOU, sharing your story, using your voice and helping who you were in the past.

Now that I’ve shared some of my story? I want to hear from you. No, REALLY. What’s the one thing that draws people to you on a daily basis? Let me know in the comments below.

comments +

  1. Shaquita Coleman

    April 19th, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I am extremely passionate about wherever I share about, marriage, motherhood, politics, whatever people draw to the passion of my inner voice.

  2. Arika

    April 19th, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I really loved this read. I’m thinking of starting a blog but wondering would it be successful, what is a successful blog to begin with? But one thing for sure is when I go places people love me. It’s sounds narcissistic lol but it’s very true not all but generally that’s the energy and response I get. I had to kinda think why lol I recently went to a co workers gathering she said out of every one I was her husbands favorite it always happens. I go out strangers females and males come up to just tell me they love my energy. I learned people love that I am me. I am authenticly me I do me! Not caring what people think and I don’t pretend like I have it all together. I’m just thinking how do I turn that into blog if I really wanted to? I’ve been thinking about it more often lately. This was insightful.

  3. beBeautiful

    April 19th, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    i always get so motivated when i visit your blog. this was a good read.

  4. Freda Koomson

    April 20th, 2017 at 4:57 am

    First, this is awesome humbling and empowering stuff. I’ve been following your trajectory for a few years and of course was even more tuned in when I realized we share Liberian ancestry. So, kudos to the progress and growth I’ve seen you make thus far! I’ve recently grown more comfortable in sharing my story and have been told to seek publishing opportunities. In my 20s I relocated far from home (away from NYC) to pursue a medical career and today, find myself on a path to social entrepreneurship (in Liberia) and not as a physician. I’d say the one thing that draws people to me on a daily basis would also be my approachability. Others have called it agreeability, but I think it’s a combination of my openness, willingness to share my story, listen to other’s stories and connect via the humanity of shared experiences despite different origins, life experiences, etc. Love your work, keep on, keeping on.

  5. Stephanie BwaBwa

    April 21st, 2017 at 2:33 am

    Hi Mattie! What a great post! Thank you for writing and sharing it.
    I suppose I always struggle with believing my story really matters because I’m young and I’ve not “experienced enough” to help others.
    However, each day I’m learning to cast fear aside and march on!
    I’m a writer by nature and nurture, so oftentimes it’s my storytelling that draws people in. I’m always talking about an event or something that happened as though I’m telling a story I’m about to turn into a book. This is usually what gets people in my corner and asking if I can either write for them or how can they write a novel, etc.
    Storytelling is my heart and comes naturally, so it’s certainly my strongest suit.
    I’m now in the place of needing to learn how to turn storytelling into a machine that gets me coins and helps others simultaneously. Lol. 🙂

  6. Danyell Taylor

    April 23rd, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Mattie.

    First, I’m sending this blogpost to my two closet friends! I have a very infectious smile (in the words of my mother) and know how to work a room. I’m naturally a teacher and start so many conversations with I read, I heard, I saw to inform people. I have all the questions and really appreciate giving others a chance to engage in meaningful conversations that might just change their perspective, their world or their minds. So after reading this comment…that totals 4 things. But its the smile that leads the way.

    Love and light,

    Danyell

  7. LeJeanne

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Mattie! I’m thrived that I discovered your blog. I am a new blogger and looking forward to telling my story. Thanks for the tips!

  8. fleur

    May 4th, 2017 at 5:17 am

    I enjoy this post!! <3

  9. Charlene

    May 4th, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I have been told I have way with words in terms of inspiring people or just writing a good paper, or thank you note. I started a blog sometime ago but put it on hold now that I am studying for the bar. I have the itch to get back to it again once I am finished. I have been slowly thinking of what I want to blog about. I am glad I came across this post because I am now thinking about that thing you mentioned that gravitates people towards me. Thank you as always for your tips

  10. Tanisha

    May 8th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I wanted to get into personal blogging, but I cannot decide what my ‘brand’ is. This article has pointed me in the right direction. Great read!

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