being-461780_640 - johnhainAuthenticity? What? I have to sell,
don’t I?

You are a business owner, a solopreneur, or a marketing employee…

You are searching for the right words, the authentic meaning, the right phrase to reflect the heart and soul and that all-important core of the message that your business wants to reflect. You want it to be meaningful, deep, fun, pithy, authentic and you want it to communicate something so clear that the right people can not resist it!

But all you seem to hear in your mind are…cliches. You know there is a way to get out of this drone of “correct marketing” that keeps you feeling held back, held in, and – well – awkward! There is a better way, and you just can’t find it. (Good God, how I know! Been there!)

How frustrating! But you are in good company, as this is the biggest marketing mistake I see businesses make all. of. the. time. It’s the place we all get stuck because we’re trying to “behave”, to “do it right”, and all we’re doing is getting further and further away from doing it well! Yeeesh!

Our words and our marketing approaches can seem to get stuck in this la-di-da sort of mode:

Authenticity Lacking

When in real life, and in the real day-to-day meaningfulness of our business, we’re like this: “Oh my God, that’s feckin’ FUNNY!”:


So, how did we get to this place where we’re tied in knots?

And how do we get authenticity into our marketing?

Lacking authenticity - lipstick on a pig(1) Human beings learn by example, and oh boy what a bunch of bad examples we have!

Truth be known those successful television/billboard/radio  marketing campaigns you hear, not only have far more involved in their choosing those campaigns than you can know, but may not really be as successful as you imagine. 

They may just be lipstick on a pig! Since you don’t know, make your own way! If you go down, you’ll go down for a reason that makes sense and that you can understand – and not because you tried to put on your Mama’s high-heeled business shoes and they just didn’t fit!

(2) We don’t trust ourselves to be “enough”.

If you have ever spoken to a stranger on a bus, a train, an elevator, and suddenly found yourself the recipient of an amazing life story, you know that we are enough, and more than enough. We are fascinating beings. What it takes to uncover what makes you fascinating is a change in perspective: letting go of the thinking that you have to be “shiny” and “clever” to attract your clients, and beginning to think about how naturally comfortable – and attracting – you are when you are at your most real. What are those qualities, for you? For me, it’s being relaxed, silly, freely self-expressive, responsible, connective, deeply thinking, integrity-focused, creative, and caring.

And the overwhelming majority of clients I have attracted by simply being who and how I am have been people I have loved working with – and vice versa! I’m endlessly surprised both that people find me, and how they find me – it seems to be a combination of who I am, my willingness to step up and own who I am – proud and happy of being my usual goofy, actor/spiritual/techie/business self – and to step out and wave: HERE I AM, Y’ALL!

(3) We’re so afraid that everyone else is expecting – and buying – what is “appropriate” and “traditional”, that we’re afraid to step out of the box and into our self-expressive freedom!

It’s only natural to try to copy those who have gone before us. But times have changed. With the internet and the ability to make our own videos, our own blogs, etc., and make our own unique noise out in the world, the world is our oyster, if we’re willing to try the seafood!

My advice to you: try the seafood!!! There is a woman named Ashley Ambirge who started a successful and authenticity-based copywriting business called The Middle Finger Project (and if you want real, read this: There is another woman named Jenna Soard who started a branding business called You Can Brand, and her entire marketing push is based on her authentic love for the 1940’s, and her image as a 1940’s fly girl!

Is this authenticity bit really new, though? Well, not new. No. The idea of doing what you are meant to do, what lights you up – that’s not new. What’s new is that now when it happens, it is more visible, and more people are visibly doing it. But this authenticity “thing” is what makes people really shine! As an example, look at Steven Spielberg, Director of E.T., and general artistic god! Decades ago, in his youth, he said to himself, “Nuh-uh, I’m not going to school because that’s not going where I want to go! I’m going to do film making right this hot minute, and I’m dropping out of school!”, and look where he’s gone! Now that is someone with qualities to emulate, in your own way: courage, vision, creativity, determination. Yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

My new directions in authenticity

Freedom. Authenticity. Creativity. Depth. Integrity. Oh my God those are yummy words to me. And after 30 years in offices, and 8 years being a Contractor, and 20 years of acting, I am folding all of that together.

At the end of July, I am traveling out to Santa Fe, New Mexico to work with the remarkable Tanya Taylor Rubinstein on writing and producing my own story-based show, and an expanded, more deeply authentic business. I will be using my expanded storytelling to help my clients find and spread joy and success in their businesses. I will be producing story-based workshops for business people who need to get free in their self-image, self-expression, and in reclaiming their joy in business. Yeah! Let’s get this “slogging through” stuff outta here!

From an actor’s perspective, I gotta tell you something: the freedom of being who you are is addictive. The really amazing thing is that people are afraid that if they “let go”, they will go crazy, be inappropriate, embarrass themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are so held back that a teaspoon of letting go feels like the Grand Canyon to us, and we are nowhere near that let-go we fear. 

I have walked into greater and greater freedom throughout my life – whether it has been workshops, therapy, acting, singing, speaking, meditation, storytelling…you name it! And there is always more, and it has always been magic for all aspects of my life: business, personal, spiritual…

Because I want my clients to succeed, and to feel a sense of wonder, ease, and joy with where we go together for their business, I listen to their needs and to the part and pace of their business/personal story that they’re in before I give them any number of approaches to choose from!

Business answers are never one-size-fits-all, and they shouldn’t be, if we want to be on an adventure that is unique and authentic to us, which we do! 

We want adventure, and we want it our way! Adventure is what makes stories so compelling. When it comes to business, there is this so-called “new” story-based marketing movement; we are all being told to get more personal with our story-sharing because it is powerful marketing. Yes. It is. But it’s so much more than that: it’s a transformation of why you do business, which business you choose to do, and of course how you do that business – and how much joy and fulfillment you can have from the experience.

Imagine: Doing business from such a personal, transformational place that money gets to take its proper place beside you, instead of driving the car and, making you panic, and robbing you of enjoyment.

Better yet, don’t imagine it: Make a commitment to yourself to find your voice,

uncover/discover/own your true strengths (those things “you cannot help but do” – to

quote Strengthsfinders®, think about how you can express the beauty and service of

your business in ways that will give your potential clients goosebumps.

And if you keep getting stuck in the traditional marketing muck, don’t despair. It’s just another part of the story.


Email me if you want to get free of stodgy business self-images, find your unique “voice”, and/or want to redefine how you do your business!