Even though I had no clue what it was to become, in 2010 - when I started blogging - I knew that my blog would be successful. I didn't know why, I didn't even know what I wanted to accomplish, I just knew that I wanted to be taken seriously.
For the first two years, I blogged, I wanted business results with hobby efforts. I thought having a point and shoot while posting a handful of times of months was going to cut it. It wasn't. Finally, I decided to treat blogging like work - because it certainly is - and apply myself. And I'll tell you what, it took some time but people eventually started taking me seriously when it came blogging.
Here are 11 things to do to help you (and others) take yourself seriously when you're not "there" yet:
BE CONFIDENT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO
As someone who comes from traditional West African parents, blogging was not only unheard of, but certainly not taken seriously. But every time my parents asked about what I was working on or something major for my blog happened, I shared it proudly. Now, that I've made the decision to blog full time, my mom has not only been vocally accepting, but supportive as well.
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR WORK
Stop doing things for the sake of being busy. I get it. Events happen and you don't want to have a case of FOMO. But be more attached to your work than your scene. If you're going out, go to make that connection that you've been wanting to make for a possible collaboration. If you're going to post everyday, make sure you're not giving your readers fluff and BS content, just to say you're posting everyday. Do work that gets you closer to your goal vs. makes you look busy.
BE PROFESSIONAL YET APPROACHABLE
Professionalism will get you far. Always. No matter what industry you're in, it's always a plus. Heidi hit the nail on the head when she said, It’s always okay to be professional. It’s not always okay to be casual. Make phone calls, write amazing emails and act appropriately when you're at events. People are ALWAYS talking - good and bad - so when your name comes up, ensure you're a positive in conversation.
[bctt tweet="It’s always okay to be professional. It’s not always okay to be casual."]
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR VISION & SHARE WHEN NECESSARY
A lot of times, people can't take you seriously because they don't see the whole picture. You've only given them a glimpse. Lauren makes a great point about "helping others catch the vision." What's the point and purpose of your goal/dream/blog/business? Be very clear. Again, being confident is key. But also remember, that not EVERYONE deserves your vision in the beginning. Share when necessary.
BE PROACTIVE ABOUT FINDING A MENTOR
Find someone who knows the industry you're trying to master and be a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge they are willing to share with you. Here's a tip: send someone you respect & in the same city as you a short, detailed & respectable email asking them for a quick coffee/lunch on you just to learn their story. (Asking for specific advice is called a consultation.) Even if your budget is tight, only buy them coffee/lunch and listen to their story about how they got started. If it goes well and it's natural, ask them if they'd be open to being your mentor where you did this once a month. People are usually down for food, especially if it's someone else's treat.
The easiest way to be taken seriously about anything is being educated on it. Go to workshops, attend webinars, purchase (e)Books and read, read, and the read some more. Don't get caught up about being in someone else's shoes. I get it. It's easy to daydream being at the next level, but I haven't heard of anyone making it from daydreaming. Do > Daydreaming.
BE SURE TO AVOID YES PEOPLE
Create a support system of people who are honest and will let you know if you're not doing what you need to be doing. They need to do it from a place of love, of course, but you need them to keep your focus sharp. "Yes" people are simply verbal smoke and mirrors that merely set you up instead of lift you up. Welcome constructive criticism. And remember not to take compliments to the head or criticism to the heart.
PULL YOURSELF OUT OF THE CENTER
I know this may sound craaaaaaaazy, but everything isn't about you. Pull yourself out of the center and think about the people you approach for help. Think about your audience/customer/follower. How can you add value to their lives? With your new mentor you'll get by following my tips, they'll at the least get a free meal. What value will you add to everyone you cross paths with? People respect those who add value to them - especially if it's unexpected.
STOP THE COMPARING
A lot of the problem with taking ourselves seriously is that we're too busy imaging that we were someone else and what it would be like if we had their success. You know what? It doesn't matter. Their success is for them just like your success is for YOU. And it's honestly not fair to you to compare your beginning to someone else's middle. It's actually illogical. Comparing a caterpillar to a butterfly is silly, especially when everyone knows the butterfly was once where the caterpillar was. Focus on your journey versus the destination and focus on direction versus speed. The real gems are in the process.
[bctt tweet="Focus on your journey vs the destination + focus on your direction vs speed."]
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Be explicitly honest with yourself about what you want and what you're willing to do to get it. Keep it 100. Some people want to lose 50 lbs but don't want to change their diet or work out. Some people want to start their own business but won't work harder than they do now at the 9 to 5 they hate. Some people want to monetize their blog but want that success handed to them. Be clear about your "bottom line" and open to the brutal truth about yourself. That way if you hear it from others, it's not a surprise. Fewer things are more powerful than being real with yourself. And everyone takes the person who can do that seriously.
Making your dreams come true is hard work. Ask anyone who's had the honor of doing so. But every time you want to quit, think about the person in your life who never quit because of you. Think about the person who truly inspires you and the void you would've had in your life if they had quit. Your story isn't about you, it's about the person who's life you're going to change because you decided to keep going. Take that very seriously.