One of the most powerful ways to grow a sustainable lasting business is learning how to stand out and lead with impact. It’s easily been one of the biggest reasons why I’ve grown and scaled my business so quickly.
When I first started, I was immediately trapped in comparisonitis like a moth to a flame. Simply because that’s the way it is taught. Google how to stand out and most marketing articles out there recommend that you do thorough competitive market research to start with. I believe competitive market research has value, but now is not the time and place.
So, for me, I was taking inspiration every day from what other people were posting, what they were saying, what they were selling that. And what happened in doing that was that I faded into the noise. Instead of being India Butler, I was pieces of her and other pieces of this person. My marketing presence was a mesh of other people’s identities. The worst part was that it made me feel like a fraud. Like I was disingenuine. I hated that. But I couldn’t see anywhere that was teaching how to do it any other way.
I decided to do a purge of the people I followed, to wipe clean the slate and to reconnect with what made me ME. It’s easier said than done of course. Try it. You’ll notice that everytime you try to identify something about yourself, you’ll still be warping it from the perspective of someone else. How you come across rather than who you truly are.
Want to know who you truly are?
Your desires, your dislikes, your aspirational identity are where the answers lie. The reason we look up to certain role models is because something about them is triggering a part of us. A part that is either already who we are or something that has yet to be activated. So, your aspirational identity is the person you already are – you just aren’t fully showing up as them yet because of your limiting beliefs, your mindset blocks or simply because of what’s been normalised for you.
For me, I discovered that I was hugely drawn to bold, outspoken, empathetic women. I was instantly turned off by people who felt devoid of life, who were very reserved and who weren’t confident. Nothing against them but they didn’t trigger any part of me that activated my aspirational identity.
When I started to lean into the things I felt attracted to, when I started to embody my future self, quite literally practicing being her, I noticed a huge shift in my marketing.
It goes to show how marketing isn’t just strategy. It’s also branding, positioning and energetics. It’s the impression you give through the camera, the screen, your content. That’s all it is. Good marketing has powerful impressions. Good marketing triggers people to feel attracted and called in to that space.
How to Stand Out
So, what does it mean to stand out? Surely that just means being different from your competition. I invite you to start by looking within instead of looking at the market and your competition. The first thing people do is they look at what other people are doing. They compare themselves to others and try to force themselves into gaps that just don’t fit. They falsify their identity and that is a fast track to burn out.
Here’s why you need to look within. We all are already unique. We don’t need to MAKE ourselves unique. There’s no work that needs to be done there. This isn’t cosmetic surgery where we need to mould ourselves. Instead, you need to get to know yourself again.
So, if you want to learn how to stand out – move away from the noise.
There’s a book called Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim which teaches you how to make the competition irrelevant by finding your own corner of the market. See, the theory is this. If you are swimming in a red ocean full of sharks, the chance of catching fish is lower. But if you just swim out a little and find your blue ocean, you’ll unlock new demand and capture new markets. And the best way to do this is to first identify what your zone of genius is.
What is your zone of genius?
Your zone of genius is the arena, the realm in which you find flow and creativity. You thrive instead of just survive. For example, I love to tell stories, captivate people’s attention and share what I know with other people – so creating content and being an educator is my zone of genius.
While your genius zone may be related to innate talents and abilities you possess, you don’t need to feel boxed in by your zone of genius. Your zone of excellence is where you are already at your peak ability and you do your best work, but your zone of genius allows you to challenge yourself and grow still. It’s where you feel most like you. Your zone of genius is what people might call an “unfair advantage” over your competition because you’re not only good at it, but you actually excel in it.
So, what you want to do is identify and isolate the individual areas that you are expert in. For example, for me, I am good at speaking, explaining things, creating stories, at marketing, planning, creating logical workflows and people experience. This means that I thrive when I get to help, teach and support people because the underlying common theme here is client experience.
See what I did there? My zone of genius is client experience. I found the overlapping theme between my expert zones to identify my core zone of genius.
How to use your zone of genius to stand out & have more impact
This is your superpower. This is what you want to have at the forefront of your marketing. You want to be known for. Because not only will you sound 100% authentic when you say, “Hey, this is what I’m good at” but you will also thrive when you build a business that allows you to do more of that.
Which leads into having more impact in your business. If you build a business that allows you to tap into your zone of genius as often as possible, create offers that surround that and you lead with it – you’ll grow far quicker than before. You are essentially clearing the path.
Now I don’t believe that we need to get rid of all obstacles in order to be successful and that success means never struggling again. But instead, it’s learning how to equip yourself in a way that means that when those obstacles do come your way, you get better and better at overcoming them.
The final thing I want to encourage you to do is to think about your legacy. Yup, we’re going there. I don’t mean your legacy as in once you die, what will people say. But rather I want you to think of the word legacy as another way of saying reputation. Legacy has more powerful connotations than reputation.
What do you want to be known for? What footprint do you want to leave on people’s lives? If there is one thing you want your clients to walk away with after working with you, what is it?
That is your CORE impact. And when you lead with that, you drive that messaging and you position yourself as the go-to for that thing, you will stand out, impact people on a deeper level, and you’ll attract your dream clients with more confidence than you’ve ever experienced because now, you truly believe in the impact you offer. Now you have clarity.