Is Aspiring to Be ‘Likeable’ the Silent Killer of Solo Businesses?

The Relatability Trap: Why Playing it Safe in Your Personal Brand Images Won’t Get You Where You Hope it Will

In the sometimes-Sisyphean task of marketing your solo business, ‘relatability’ is something we feel like we should strive for – we’ve been told that to get clients, we need to be known, to be liked and to be trusted, and we do that by being relatable. But here’s a reality check: aspiring to be ‘likeable’ in your business might just be the fastest way to watch it wither and die. The pursuit of relatability can be a slow poison for your business.

It’s impossible to relate to everyone, in aiming to connect with a massive audience, we risk  watering down our message – and our imagery – until it’s as exciting as lukewarm coffee. 

And let’s be real, no one is out here prioritising relatability as a defined strategy, it’s a tendency, an unwitting pattern, a learned behaviour. Being liked by everyone is a survival tactic, and we need to survive – but in order to thrive, we have to be more compelling. Relatability is not compelling.

Authenticity Trumps ‘Professionalism’.

When fearless business owners break free from the shackles of vanilla marketing, they boldly showcase their unapologetic selves, unafraid to stand out in a crowd. The result? A fiercely loyal following, off-the-charts engagement, and high-quality clients knocking on their door. We need to take the concept of ‘professionalism’ off its pedestal. It’s time to unleash your authenticity. The idea of being a ‘polished’ ‘professional’ limits you and your business in every conceivable way.

Solo Business Owners are probably the most vulnerable to this temptation to play it safe – we downsize ourselves, becoming a faded imitation of who we truly are. Instead of seeking relatability, we can channel our power into shaping the world. Ask yourself: What story do you want to tell? What norms do you aim to shatter?

Oh, and if you’re thinking, yes, but if I make counter-cultural, anti-oppressive images, won’t I just turn *everyone* off? NOPE, daring to be seen is about creating visuals that demand attention, which is the essence of killer marketing- which is the key to great clients and a thriving business.

Compelling imagery can’t diminish your attractiveness, it makes you a magnet for your truest work. It might just be the missing ingredient for skyrocketing your business beyond the mundane and into a realm of daring success.

Twice a month, I send out THE FIRE PIT. I share myself, my ideas and a bit of my heart, and ask you to do the same, if you like. It’s an experiment in a more conversational email letter. Want to join?


Visibility for leaders, creatives, movers, shakers & culture makers who defy the story of who gets to make it.