Promote Your Business-of-One

Recently this email came to me from and its CEO, J.T. O’Donnell:

Spend any time watching our CAREEREALISM TV shows and you know how much I promote the idea we are all businesses-of-one. Why be an employee held in golden handcuffs when you can be an entrepreneur in control of your life and destiny?

So, it should come as no surprise much of what is written about launching a start-up or being an entrepreneur can be applied to ourselves as we lead our respective business-of-ones to greatness.

With that in mind, I’m here to tell you as a business-of-one, you need to contemplate being two things. They are being:
A) Transparent
B) A Little Crazy

Bare Your Soul = Be Relatable

Being transparent means being willing to open up to others and be vulnerable in a way that enables them to relate to you. To understand this better, I highly encourage you to read Penelope Trunk’s recent article on BNET where she shares how being transparent helped her save her start-up from bankruptcy.

Go for Slightly Over-the-Top = Attract Attention

Being a little crazy speaks to the idea of exuding a passion for your concepts and beliefs (i.e. being just manic enough it has a magnetic effect on those around you). They see you as unique, but not necessarily ready for nut house. This article by the New York Times explains how venture capitalists chose to invest in entrepreneurs who display this trait.

WARNING: Dosage is Everything!

As you plan out your career path and subsequent job search, I think it’s important to recognize the power of leveraging these two traits. The secret lies in doing it effectively – and in just the right amount. For example, be too transparent and people will be whispering “TMI” behind your back (a.k.a. Too Much Information, for those of you that don’t text). At the same time, act a little too eccentric and people will stop taking your calls, returning your emails, and inviting you to gatherings.

To find the balance, I suggest you use a peer, mentor, or hey, maybe even a career expert (I happen to know a few), that can act as your sounding board and approval meter. The reality is when it comes to our business-of-one, we are so close to it, it’s so personal, we can sometimes make mistakes regarding the best way to present it. And so, while mastering the ability to be transparent and just a little crazy can help your business-of-one achieve great things, the first step is to determine the right amount of both.

I like this message about everyone being a business-of-one.Whether you are looking for a position or already have one, we each are in charge of our career and future. It helps to think of this as a business.

One thing I’ve learned in 2011 is how to share. Not so much that it’s TMI, but enough to move and touch (and sometimes inspire) others. This is key to building relationships and networks. Be honest and sincere in a way that others can relate to you. And note that being vulnerable does not mean being weak. Vulnerability is exposing and showing the real you to others, while weakness refers to lacking power.

Image: Master isolated images /

Stand Out From the Crowd by Master isolated images /

Everyone is crazy sometimes, but being passionate about your beliefs and what you care about is a good kind of crazy. You want to make an impression on others, and being passionate about things is one way to do so. It’s a way to get noticed, to stand out from the crowd, but without going over the top. It can draw people to you, but can also push people away. So take to heart the advice to run things by a peer, mentor, or career coach.

Take the time to consider how you act and what it means for your business-of-one. We can all do big things with some insight and help.

Note: Stand Out From the Crowd courtesy of Master isolated images at


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