EXPOSE YOURSELF

I am about to launch my very first company website. I boldly made the announcement on Facebook several days ago that I was going to get it done by the end of the day and I was then accountable to my virtual network who was (no doubt) waiting with anticipation for the finished product. After months of researching design tools, hosts and all the other assorted options associated with building a website, I settled on a platform that I felt was sufficient to communicate the message of my new company. I worked tirelessly, with the help of my village of colleagues, family members and friends, to develop content that would effectively communicate our mission and provide a good marketing tool for our services to our clients. And, finally, the site is done.

Holy cow!

When I thought about the website, it felt like a necessity that I had to deal with and I knew I wanted it to look good. I’ll admit it – aesthetics are important to me. And, while I am a staunch advocate of and believer in the power of social media, I was surprisingly reluctant to finish this project because I did not believe that it would make a hill of beans of difference to my business. After all, I do my best work face-to-face with the client and who is really going to look at that website anyway? So, despite my resistance, I just went with it. Well, mostly because my husband kept nagging me, relentlessly asking me at the end of every day that I complained about clients not returning my calls or expressed fears about not generating enough new business, “Did you finish your website today?”

I decided not to hire an outside firm to design the site because I knew I had the capability to handle this myself the same way I designed my beautiful logo and business cards. Besides, that is an enormous expense for a new business and I would rather spend the money on attending a conference where I can network with clients. I could do it but would I?

Finally, when push came to shove, I forged ahead and ripped the bandaid off really fast and just did it. I locked myself in my purple office (which was simply the perfect spot for me to do this work) and I worked and worked until I was done. I suffered through highs and lows, both loving and hating the site at various intervals. I ignored all the tips about not comparing your site to others and scoured the web for friends’ and competitors’ sites to set the bar and measure my site against theirs. Not surprisingly, in my state of feeling very anxious and vulnerable about my work, my site always fell short. But I persevered, called in my mafia to edit and review and was done!

I had my big big girl pants on and finally had a company website!!! I felt excited and accomplished and ready to take on the world…until it was time for me to share the site with the world. The minute I turned the site live (if a website goes live in the woods and no one knows about it, is it really live?), I felt anxious. Now anyone could see my work and I was exposed to the world. I was now available to anyone who might want to google me or type in my company name. Now, one might presume, after having this blog out there in cyberspace, I would not really worry about a company website that is professional and well-written but, in fact, I actually felt more vulnerable and more exposed by that website than I do with this blog. Intriguing.

I spent most of yesterday trying to understand my feelings while mustering up the courage to send out the email blast to my many contacts who I have known for many years to let them know that my site is live. It was time to put my company and myself on the market and, hopefully, generate some interest in the work that we do. And, I realized that it was a watershed moment for me. For the very first time in my life I was standing on my own two feet, not hiding behind anyone else, and putting myself out there. I was ready to be accepted, rejected, measured and critiqued. And while this all excited me a lot, just a small part of me was scared and wanted to run and hide behind someone who could serve as my armor and defense. But, as with many other aspects of my life, I no longer need to cover up or hide because I can step forward and take on whatever is being thrown my way. So, today we go live for real and anyone and everyone can take a look at my new website.

Even better, now this blog also lives on my corporate website so everyone can learn who I really am and understand the authenticity I bring to the work that I do. Now, I will just stand naked before the world and hope that nobody laughs too hard.

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