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Rainbows and Unicorns Don’t Exist in Business or in Marketing

I don’t remember ever seeing a unicorn flying through a rainbow in real life. Have you?

Yet every day this picture is painted online and in the media, making us mere mortal business owners feel like we have failed or we somehow missed the secret “success ingredient.”

I’ve been pondering this issue for a while and to be honest, I am so sick of the rhetoric and content online that feeds into the illusion that business success is full of unicorns and rainbows. The untrue images of overnight success, massive growth in ridiculous time frames, and that being the boss mean long lunches and luxury travel (hahaha).

Online the content on Facebook feeds, Insta ads, and TikTok reels are all full of images and words that talk about six-figure months, scaling to 7 figures in 90 days, and how everything smells like roses when you run a business.  You’ve seen the headline “How I transformed my business to earn $50K a month working 4 hours a week.” Please it makes me want to throw up in my mouth!!

That is far from reality as anyone in business can attest to. No one talks about the times when cash flow is an issue and there’s not enough in the business account to pay the bills, because clients are slow in paying their invoices.

No one talks about the failure of product launches, after spending weeks or months putting your heart and soul into this fantastic offer, that is not selling.

No one talks about the doubt, the days where you really don’t want to deal with a difficult client, the fear of a client sacking you, when you are unsure of what direction you want your business to take.

No, it is NOT glamorous. So why project an unreal version of what real business looks like?

Success looks so different for everyone. Not all of us want to run businesses with staff or scale to million-dollar turnovers. I’ve never wanted that in business. I’ve always been very vocal about never wanting staff (and the headaches that come with that). I’ve never wanted an agency model or to have loads of clients (quality over quantity and all that).

My business has always been about lifestyle, and about giving me the freedom to work the hours I want, when and where I want.

It’s time to show the reality of business.

The reality of what our days involve. The reality of the crap days where we just want to give up, when we call in sick, when we are at our desk at 6 am, when we are juggling responsibilities, when revenue months are lean, or the credit card is bursting at the seams.

It’s time to stop pretending.

It’s time to show the reality of what business looks like.

I shared a post yesterday about my podcast Sales Without Socials being 12 months old. In that post, I mentioned that it hasn’t been hugely successful if I look at download numbers. I am still learning about podcasting so I am not going to pretend I am an expert and that it has had thousands of downloads. No one wins by me painting a false picture. As I learn more and as more people discover it, I am confident it will grow but that also takes time. I have gotten so much from the experience, which is worth more than downloads to strangers for the sake of sharing a number. Success doesn’t happen overnight despite what some people want to tell you.

I’d love to see more business owners being a bit more vulnerable and showing their reality in daily life. And a great place to start is in your marketing. The posts and content you share with the world, paint a picture. It makes you relatable and relevant.

I’m not saying to be all doom and gloom. But I’m saying share the good and the bad. Share your days, the wins, the losses, the highs and lows. Don’t sugarcoat the reality. The more we all show the realness of business, the more we all win.

Keep it real. The rainbows and unicorns have no place in business or in your marketing messages.