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Mar 14 2014

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

When it comes to branding your business, you may have to consider some crazy ideas. When you’re looking to make yourself stand out among other businesses, you probably won’t get very far doing exactly what “the other guys” did. You’re different from them, and you’ll need to find your own path. And sometimes, that means pursuing ideas that take you out of your comfort zone.

I can tell you that, when I first started Upswept Creative, it was just me doing the work, and I never thought in a million years that I’d ever do a workshop. The idea of speaking in front of people made my stomach knot up–and still does, a little!–and although I had people suggest that I teach a class about some of the things I do, I shied away from it for a long time. I’d tell myself, “who am I to be teaching people, anyway? I mean, I’m good, but I still have so much to learn!”

Thing is, I kept thinking of ideas for workshops, ideas that I was passionate about, and I eventually realized that I wasn’t going to stop thinking about them until I did something about it. I had a wonderful partner in Shelby Rice for our first online class, Branding Your Style, and after that, I finally stared my fear of public speaking in the face, and scheduled my first solo workshop. Since then, I’ve done several rounds of workshops, had a surprisingly great time doing it, and now Upswept has another source of revenue.

Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone in your own life can bring change to your business, too. Doing something different in your own life can change your perspective and your mindset, and help you approach your life and your business differently.

Katie of Katie Kelley Networks
Katie of Katie Kelley Networks

We recently had the pleasure of shooting with Katie Kelley of Katie Kelley Networks, and the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone ended up being a theme for our session. All of her promotional images show her (admittedly, totally brilliant!) big, bright smile and all-American look, so makeup artist Erin Moore and I challenged her to dial back the million-dollar grin and try something more subdued. It felt a little strange, at first, but she handled it gracefully and looked gorgeous.

Katie clearly understands the importance of stepping out of her comfort zone, too–she shared with us that she would be presenting at the Portland Urban Campfire event, and in a way she never had before. The Urban Campfire presenters would be taking about challenges and struggle–topics that can easily get very personal–in front of a sizable audience. Katie knew this would be unlike any of the other talks she’s given before, but she was ready to take that step out of her comfort zone, and create that opportunity to connect with other female business owners on a new and different level.

A lot of the things we do might feel risky. They might make our hearts race a bit faster. The thing is, if you’re a business owner, you already have stepped out of your comfort zone!  You might have left the security of a steady paycheck, or put your work out there (for money!) for the first time, or added the time commitment of your dream business to an already-packed calendar. Would any of you describe starting your own business as “relaxing” and “comfortable?” Those probably aren’t the first words to come to your mind, right?

So, when those slightly-scary-sounding ideas pop into your head, stop for a second, before you dismiss them. Maybe even embrace them! If you give them a try, you might discover you’re better at something than you think, or stronger than you expected, or smarter than you know, and that can be the tipping point between you having something Good and something Great. Just put that foot outside of your comfort bubble, and see what happens.

Branding your business Portland – Upswept Creative