"Expressing myself online is so hard. I can't do it"
If you've been reading my content, you know that I talk about Building in Public a lot - sharing the stories of your own journey no matter what you're doing.
I even wrote a full-on guide like this to help thousands of people like you to express themselves online.
This post is for those who just can't get themselves to start building in public to reap the benefits of it. Don't know the benefits? Here are some:
- The more you share, the more opportunities you get.
- You're talking about what you're doing from all sorts of angles, so you're not just selling or promoting things.
- You work with your audience. You get feedback quickly. You then build better things for them.
I can spend days on this so let's pause here. Let's go back to the easiest way for you to tell your own stories.
But first, let me tell you a story.
I used to be scared to invite friends to dinner. Every time I sent out a message on my group chat "Anyone free to have dinner this Sat?" I got no response.
It was embarrassing and then I stopped asking.
Then I figured what went wrong. When people get an open invitation in a group setting, most of them are afraid to commit. "What if no one else joins? Am I going to eat with Kevon alone? Yuck!"
I changed my tactic. I privately asked 2-3 people whether they're free to have dinner on Sat. Once they got back to me with "Yes", I then sent a message to the group "Jenn, Brian and I are getting dinner on Sat, anyone wants to join?"
Then notifications started to pop up and everyone said Yes!! People just love to jump on the bandwagon, I figured.
"Kevon, what is this story about? Can you get back on track?"
After working with 1,000+ people on building in public, if you're struggling with building in public, I figure it is because:
- You haven't expressed yourself much online. You don't think you can offer value to other people
- You're not exactly sure what you can talk about
- You're scared that no one cares and you look pretty bad publicly
So let's tackle these things.
Step 1: You just need 3-5 buddies to start
Maybe you've made the mistake of tweeting into the void and just wait for likes & replies to come. Then you feel like that kid who is left behind at the school trip.
This is a terrible way to start. Remember how I failed to open invite a group of friends to dinner? All you need is to make 3-5 like-minded friends on Twitter (for this, sign up for this free email course: Making Twitter Friends if you haven't).
Get to know them. And then when you write your tweets to share your progress on your project, send them a direct message (DM) and get them to engage. Brian got it right:
Not only will you feel less stressful, you also focus on deepening these relationships first before expanding your circle.
You're no longer scared that no one cares about you!
Step 2: KISS - Keep it simple, stupid
People's attention is getting shorter - that's the truth. You either catch their attention in 1 second or you lose them completely.
If you're just getting started, your tweeting skills might not be that good. Then focus on simplicity - write short and meaningful tweets. Damon shares frequently and always keeps his tweets to-the-point:
Get your friends to jump in and then once you share enough of your work in public, you'll see people gathering and supporting naturally.
By keeping your tweets short, you remove the pressure to create something of "crazy value".
Step 3: If you learn, they learn
You're likely stressing over what exactly to write. Again, your goal is not to be an expert in people's life. You can simply show up as your true self and share snippets of your life.
The one way I find most useful is to share my personal learnings:
- Start off with what I struggle with
- Then how I approach finding an answer
- How the answer turns out
This 3-step sharing is unbeatable. No one can invalidate your sharing and probably many people can resonate because they struggle with the same thing.
Then once you feel comfortable and want to expand your coverage, you can pick out prompts here to add variety.
Over time, you'll not be wondering what to tweet because you realize almost everything in your journey can be shared once you know "how to tell a story".
If you don't want to put extra pressure on yourself, practice this flow with a small group of Twitter friends first before you go out to share with the wild Internet.