03 Names, Fear and Visibility

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Welcome to the Market Inside Out Podcast with Suzanne Longstreet, Emma O’Brien, and Michelle Tresemer. It’s time to defuse the marketing mind field for entrepreneurs.

Today we unpack fear. Fear can really hold new entrepreneurs back and arises when naming your business to being a visible voice on social media. Our trio talks about our fear journeys, which too often included listening to bad advice, asking for feedback when we really wanted validation, and ‘grandma’s cat syndrome.’ At the root of it all is fear. So, if you fear visibility, pressing post, or not having anything original to say, this episode is for you! You’re not alone. We’ve been there.

What we sort out in our discussion is that it all starts with the mindset. Thanks for joining us!

When Naming Your Business isn’t a ‘Tranquil Path.’

Suzanne starts our discussion by sharing the not-so-tranquil path she took to come up with a name for her business. [00:16]

“Oh my gosh, I should show you all my business cards. Within about five years, I had five or six business cards, completely different brands, and different websites and names. I tried to figure out who I was….I started off as Tranquil Path. Nobody had a clue what it was. ‘You’re a business coach and you do what? Tranquil Path?’

Listening to and Acting on Bad Advice. [01:18]

With Suzanne’s HR background, she then decided to focus on helping people with their recruiting and decided Engaged for Growth might be a great name. Because she also worked as a Pampered Chef consultant during her transition to entrepreneur, she consulted her Pampered Chef mentor about the name. This business-savvy individual, an expert at Pampered Chef who had been selling for those products for 15 years, rebuffed the idea.

“That will never work,” she said,” because no brand that starts with an ‘E’ is going to work.” [02:18]

Suzanne concluded that any name that started with a vowel would not work. (Sorry Amazon!) “I trashed the whole thing. I trashed everything because she was somebody I liked and respected for her business savvy. And because she didn’t like it, the whole thing went in the garbage.”

Michelle expands on that experience [02:50] “At least you were listening to someone who you perceived to be up the ladder from you, right? Do you guys also see it happen with people who are not anywhere on the ladder? People will pivot their business because the guy who mows their lawn said, ‘Oh, well you have to do this.’ Or family members….If I hear one more time, oh, I need my wife to look at this. Well, is your wife a marketing expert? Does she spend 20 hours a day on this like I do?

They’re completely unqualified. What is that about?”

Suzanne answers [03:30]: “Because we trust them.…The family member, the friend, somebody that we think has got it all–and they don’t.”

Although Suzanne’s Pampered Chef mentor was great at direct marketing—brilliant at it—Suzanne asked her the wrong questions. Had she asked about direct marketing or building a direct business, the advice would have likely been spot on. Brand names? Not so much.

Pro Tip: When asking for advice, ask questions within that person’s expertise range.

Do you want feedback or validation?

Suzanne [04:00]: “I was going to somebody I liked; what I really wanted her to tell me was that what I was doing was great, and then I could go out into the world with this.”

Michelle [04:07]: “Most of the time we don’t want actual feedback. We just need validation….Had you had internal validation, right, your own mindset work, you would have ignored her feedback completely.”

Most of the time we don’t want actual feedback. We just need validation….Had you had internal validation, right, your own mindset work, you would have ignored her feedback completely.

Michelle Tresemer

Suzanne: “Absolutely. You’re right. I would’ve just taken action and got out into the world, tried this Engaged for Growth with my ideal client and see if it works with them.”

Pro Tip: When you’re starting out, try to sort out your need for validation from your need for expert advice.

Grandma’s Cat Syndrome—The Struggle with Brand Names.

Emma explains: [04:38] “Here’s the thing about names. I do naming as part of what I do in brand work. And when I help clients with names, there’s this thing I call ‘grandma’s cat syndrome.’ Everyone’s got an opinion, and someone will be like, ‘Oh, I don’t like that name. My grandma had a cat named that.’

“We can really torture ourselves over the name. I can’t do a website and start my business until I have a name. And you can kind of spin and swirl around that, but actually, the name kind of doesn’t matter. You can even make Tranquil Path work if you’ve got the right story around it, and you market it in the right way, and the visual works.

[05:28] “People just accept names, just like you have accepted all brand names.”

Emma’s Pro Tip [05:43]: “Pick a name and move on.”

Suzanne: [05:55] “I remember handing my business card to a woman…which is currently Success & Clarity. And I handed it to her and she goes, ‘Oh, another one.’ And I went oh, that might be a problem. So I haven’t changed it since 2012.

“But before that, it had been: Tranquil Path, Engage for Growth, Delegate to Profit; then it went to Suzanne Smith Coaching. Remember, my name is Suzanne Longstreet, because I married the guy the month later. I became Suzanne Longstreet. But then somebody said to me, who was another mentor who I respected and she was kicking it in business….and she was a coach. I thought, okay, good. This is good advice. And she said, ‘Yeah, you need to be Suzanne Smith.’

 [07:00] “And I went, okay. I put all my marketing out towards suzannesmith.ca which is Canada. (And if you Google ‘Suzanne Longstreet,’ you will most likely find me and possibly one other person.) I took [the Suzanne Smith] advice, and I went to town with it for three years. And then finally in 2015, I went wait a second. Suzanne Longstreet makes so much more sense because when you Google Suzanne Longstreet, you get one or two people, not hundreds or thousands.”

Suzanne finally realized “if I had just been who I was, my name,” all those brand and name changes could have been avoided.

Pro Tip from Suzanne’s Story—don’t fear being yourself.

Fear of Visibility

[08:03] Emma: “Something that is so interesting and that I come across again and again is mainly a lot of women— it’s mainly women—you say, ‘well, it’s not about me, right? I don’t want it to be about me.’

“There’s often a hesitancy to even be on the website….part of that, it’s okay, it’s a strategic decision to name your company either after yourself or give it a different name; both can work. But that statement of ‘it’s not about me, I don’t want to be on that About page. I don’t want to tell my story; I don’t want that photo. It’s not about me.’

[09:00] The fear of visibility. The mindset of ‘You don’t need to see me.’

[09:16] “And I didn’t know that I had it. And you may not either, but one of the signs is fear of showing up—on social media, in your business, kind of saying as Suzanne did, it’s not about me, I’m the CEO of this business.”

Michelle: [09:32] “I’m not kidding. I’ve gotten paid to sit next to someone in a coffee shop for 30 minutes to make them push publish on one Facebook post….I had to do it a couple times, right. It’s terrifying to be out there and when they’re ready, I make them post it with a typo.

 “Because that is huge. It is so difficult to have a mistake out there, but then 10 minutes later, I show them how to edit the post, and it’s like, no big deal.

Emma: [10:12] “I love, Michelle, how what you do serves not just the brass tacks of marketing, but the emotional side, the psychological side.

I can totally relate to the abject horror of pressing post.

Emma O’Brien

“I’m not on Facebook, my business is on LinkedIn, and I remember, eight months ago, a year ago, the thought of writing a post on LinkedIn made me want to hide in the closet.

 “So I didn’t. Or I would write some long, tortured posts that took me two weeks to write and then not post it. And I realized I had a problem. I’m like, this shouldn’t be so terrifying. Look at the world, the world is on social media, why am I finding this so hard?

[11:04] “But it was helpful to go through that, because I was like, I’ve got a problem, I need to figure out what this problem is. And I realized it was a fear of visibility. And I was like, okay, let me fix that and see if it makes the rest of this easier.

“So I worked with Suzanne as a mindset coach, and that was one of the things we worked on was around my mindset, really understanding where is this fear of visibility, this fear of vulnerability coming from? Of course, it was something in childhood, right?

[11:35] “It’s amazing how when you clear that, when you get your mindset straight and you’re like, the world is not going to end, I’m not going to be ridiculed by everyone in the world if I post this. As soon as you get rid of that, suddenly it’s no big deal. Now I’m posting every day. I’ve got a small following starting, because I’m just myself….Social media can be a great vehicle, and you don’t want your fear holding that back.”

Michelle: [12:07] “Can I take that a step back? Because, I’m tech savvy; it wasn’t the actual pushing it out that was my hang-up. It was the Suzanne piece where I used to think, well, I don’t have anything original to say or someone posted this similar thing, why would anyone want to listen to me? And I did not feel worthy enough to post it.

“It was ridiculous. [12:31] And now I realize, the more I’m on digital marketing, everybody’s full of shit, you know? Sometimes they’re brilliant, sometimes they’re not. And it’s okay .”

Suzanne: “I love that. It does start with the mindset piece….[13:07]

we wrap ourselves into contortions, trying to be the right thing for the right person, but we don’t pay attention to who we’re talking to in the beginning.

Suzanne Longstreet

And then we make all sorts of shit in our heads that keeps us from doing what we need to do and get out there in the world.”

Bottom line: Don’t let your fear hold you back from being a visible voice on social media. Be yourself. You’ve got something worthwhile to say. And remember, like everyone else out there, one day you’ll be brilliant; the next day maybe not. And it’s okay.

Pro Tip on Fear of Visibility: Getting past fear of visibility can take some mindset work. Figure out why, and then jump.


Today’s Key Takeaways

  • It all starts with mindset. If you’re running on fear, you’re holding yourself back.
  • When asking for advice, ask questions within that person’s expertise range.
  • Sort out your need for validation from your need for expert advice.
  • When it comes to naming your business, pick a name and move on. The messaging is more important.
  • Regardless the business name you choose, don’t forget to be yourself.
  • Does your ‘it’s not about me’ mindset come from a fear of visibility? Drill down deep to where that comes from, and make your voice visible.
  • You’ve got something worthwhile to say. Just say it.
  • Pay attention to who you’re talking to in the beginning; that will keep you from trying to mold yourself to meet everyone’s needs.

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