Keepin’ It Real in Business and Life

Before we dive into today’s post, I just want to say “Hey there!” to all the new folks who are checking out my blog for the first time.

Today I’m participating in the #BelleLive Blog Tour with the attendees from creativeLIVE’s workshop Build a Successful Creative Blog with April Bowles-Olin.

This is a “blog hop,” meaning we link to the blog posts before and after us like a conga line through the interwebs. 🙂

Click here to read the previous post on the blog tour, Why I’m Building a Blog That is True to Me by Rebecca Nash.

And now, on with the show! Er, blog tour…

One month ago, I experienced a huge leap forward in my coaching business.

And all I had to do was sit on my ass.

OK, that’s not the whole story, but it’s not far from the truth. This big boost came from my appearance on the Build a Successful Creative Blog workshop. Did you miss the livestream? No worries! Get your copy here.

April from Blacksburg Belle taught me a million ways to take my blog to the next level, but the most important lesson I learned happened after the cameras shut off.

I received dozens of emails from women who watched the workshop and wanted to connect with little ol’ me. “I feel like I know you already!” was a common refrain. They said they loved my genuine personality and somewhat goofy nature.

During that one weekend, I got more than 100 new ezine subscribers, 80 new Facebook Likes, and 3 new clients! Woo hoo! I was happy dancing all over the place.

But none of those good things would have come my way if I hadn’t been authentically me. Call me the Queen of Keepin’ It Real.

I’m incredibly thankful that April asked me to be in her audience, and I’m especially happy that I let my authenticity shine for those 3 days of filming.

Is it time for your true self to come out and play? It’ll be painless, I promise.

Here are my tips for keepin’ it real in business and life.

Drop the Facades

It’s funny that when some people start their businesses, they choose to imitate experts who are already successful in their field. Or worse, they share watered-down advice and bland catch phrases.

Admittedly, I used to sound vague like so many other life coaches. I said a lot of lame things like “follow you dreams,” “change your life,” and “find balance.”

What the heck does that mean? My readers must have been wondering the same thing because I didn’t get many loyal visitors or clients.

To keep it real, you have to drop the facades and stop copying your competitors. That may mean staying away from other blogs for a while so you won’t inadvertently start writing like someone else. My own voice got crystal clear after I stopped following so many people on Facebook too.

Do you feel like you’re hiding something? What facades do you need to drop?

Admit Your Imperfections

Keepin’ it real doesn’t mean letting it all hang out like a hot mess—you do need to have some self-respect! But it does mean letting your imperfections show.

It took me a while to be OK with my flaws, but now I freely admit my past suicide attempt (which I briefly mentioned during the workshop), anxiety attacks, and less-than-professional working environment.

But really, who’d want a professional business headquarters if it meant there’d be no puppy sleeping at your feet?

Your imperfections make you…YOU, and that’s who people want to see whether they’re your customers or friends.

What imperfections do you want to share with the world?

Showcase Your Personality

No offense to April (who did a fabulous job leading the workshop!), but guess who really stole the show? Nope, not me. And not the perpetually perky hosts.

It was my neon pink pants.

Most of the ladies I talked to afterwards commented on my fancy pants. I love showcasing my bright personality through my equally bright clothes. Let’s face it, I’m not a size zero, but I’m still going to rock the outfits that make me feel like Wonder Woman.

My business website also has touches of my personality with my berry pink font, silly self-portraits (see above), and color-saturated images. I’m not a buttoned-up life coach, and I want to attract followers who know how to have fun!

How can you show your personality every day?

Don’t miss my previous post about the workshop, 7 Secrets to Make Your Blog Stand Out.

This post focuses on Step 1 of the Life Editing Process, Create a Foundation. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

How to Run a Successful Online Business In Just 1 Hour Per Day

Take control of your time, streamline your systems, and attract your most likely buyers.


  1. Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista on June 11, 2014 at 8:36 am

    love your bright pink pants! 🙂

  2. Toya on June 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Even though your site was already amazing i can tell you really learnt alot!! I Subscribed to your blog b/c like your style. OMG thanks for all the freebies!! April’s course inspired me as well to get my butt in gear to make my blog better and share it with the world and meet amazing ppl at the same time! All the best:)

  3. Erika on June 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I love the awesome photo of yourself on this post! Love your blog and your style. I really resonated with being yourself – imperfections and all. I kinda feel naked to the world doing that but maybe I just need some neon-pink pants…
    Great post!

  4. linda on June 6, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Great tips, Sage! I discovered you through watching April on creativelive and just love your personality… so I totally love your advice about keeping it real. I think sometimes it’s difficult to do so, because we fear being judged or that we’ll be rejected! But of course, it’s worse to attract the wrong people by putting up a facade for sure!

  5. Renay on June 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I’m still working on what it means to have an authentic work and life. I’m trying every single day to do what makes me feel right about myself. I’ve been trying to work on my business – my passion – a little bit every day in hopes that I will get there.

  6. Beth@That One Mom on June 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I love that your personality shines through when you write! I’m all about just being who I am and keeping a lot of secrets is not something I’m all that great at. : ) I checked out the rest of your blog and signed up for the Editor’s Toolkit. Thanks for the freebies!!!

  7. Michael on June 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Sage, not only did I feel like you were somebody famous (as I confessed in our coaching session — which rocked!) — but I did feel like I knew you as a genuine, wise and very kind woman. Your blog and site sings of your personality, your authenticity and your joy at helping others. I love how much you shared here and I’m learning a lot about blogging just by following you recently. You are a fabulous coach, great role model, and amazing person whom I hope to get to know better. Thanks for all that you did for us via CreativeLive and now beyond! Wishing you everything wonderful!!! 🙂

  8. Lucy on June 5, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Hi Sage, I found you via Blacksburg Belle. I must say I’m fast coming to the conclusions you seem to have arrived at about keeping your personality front and centre of your brand. I have really struggled with this. The internet is so full of opportunities and such an incredible place to forge a career. However, the media is constantly imprinting on us the dangers of the internet. I want to be me but then I don’t want to publish stuff that I later regret. I see people all over the internet getting more and more honest but there must be a line at which you think ‘This is private territory’, and for everyone this line comes in a different place. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t share pictures of my children on my facebook page but I have now, as ‘experts’ advised me to. They got great engagement but I’m left wondering if this cheapens me and my values because I put my business above my children. This is a scary old business at times, and I worry that my fear shows. Good luck with your endeavours and let your you shine through!

  9. Carolyn Smith on June 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I love this post. It is bursting with personality!! Great job.

  10. Vivayne on June 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Okay, I must be blind because I totally missed your obnoxious… I mean fancy pants…. lol.

    My biggest take-away was also ‘be yourself’, be authentic even in your blog and that your biggest marketing tool is yourself because no one else can be you. It kind of seams like duh, but duh, why didn’t I think of that? It’s true though, we see people doing something and we are in a sea of unknowing and don’t know where to start!

    I have to admit, I was really surprised that you admitted THAT on creativeLIVE tv, OMGosh, did she really just say that! But then I thought how very brave of you. How many people can relate to you, and not feel ashamed because of what you said and your overcoming of that?! How many will you help because they feel they can share that with you? Kudos to you 🙂

  11. Krystal on June 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I totally signed up for your list when I saw you in the class! I’m like who is this coach, I need to know more!

  12. richelle on June 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Sage, you would have stolen the show if you were dressed in a sack! You rock! Awesome post, yet again.

  13. Marcie Norton on June 4, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I love the advice about stopping following your competitors, or imitating the personalities of other successful bloggers, and being yourself. It is interesting how sometimes we feel like we need permission to do this. We are all under construction. It is what we do with our imperfections, that matters. Thank you for the 7 secrets to make your blog stand out. I printed it to review.

    Thank you for sharing your blog and passion for what you do. It is all inspiring. I love how your personality comes out in your blog. I have dreams, goals, and wishes in life. My main goal in life is to bless other families with our business products, and draw family members closer, creating more traditions together, through our time capsules.

    I am coming from the New Blogger group on Facebook enjoying the Blog tour. There really is too much to share from April. She is amazing. I enjoyed reading your blog because it is so conversational. Great job! If you want, you can check my blog out at We love to receive comments and shares about our decorative Baby and Wedding Time Capsules as well.

    I learned a lot from April about ways to help our business through our blog, so my husband was very understanding that I was watching Creative Live for several hours, to help us advance our lives and business.

    Best of Luck to you,

    Marcie Norton

  14. Anastasia Parmson on June 4, 2014 at 9:21 am

    It’s an honor to have my post introduced by you Sage! And I love the points you make here, it’s all really great advice. In the past 8 months I have been ‘searching’ for my direction and following a lot of “experts”. Now that I have more clarity and focus a lot of that “expert” advice seems empty and impersonal and a bit sad. I don’t want to go down that road! The best way to not have our professional facade crumble is to not build one in the first place!
    As Jo said it’s way more difficult than it seems to stay authentic and honest and vulnerable. Because it goes against what we are usually taught about business. I am going to jot down my answers to the questions you pose here and keep them in mind as a reminder for future content!

  15. Nela on June 4, 2014 at 4:30 am

    I somehow missed the suicide reference before, but I just read the post and it made me tear up! Such a powerful life story, and I respect you so much more for sharing it!
    I think this actually makes you a more credible coach because you’ve touched the rock bottom and built your way up.

    You really are a great model for being authentic in your business. I love your quirky photos (the one with the pink flamingo really stuck in my memory!) and the way you showed up on the workshop. It’s really no wonder that it brought you so many new clients and prospects!

  16. Sarah @ Long Island Nerd on June 3, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    What an amazing post Sage! I’ve had such a great time getting to know you through your posts and your personality definitely shines through which I love! I always love your pictures and fun outfits (you have amazing jewelry too!). I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind as I move forward with my blog and try and let my true self shine through (although I like to think I’m a pretty open book!).

  17. KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I LURV our pink pants too!! 🙂
    Seriously though? I really dig the idea of dropping the facades and being yourself (without the hot mess factor). Great post, Sage!

    • KrisWithaK on June 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      *your pink pants – not our pink pants

      I’m not creepily taking co-ownership of your fancy pants. That would be weird.

      • richelle on June 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        omg that just literally made me LOL. Maybe you were using a metaphor, like we should all proudly wear our pink pants?

        • Michael on June 5, 2014 at 6:33 am

          Loved this too! Maybe we could form the sisterhood of the traveling (pink) pants… Sage, you rock everything you touch! 🙂

  18. Amanda Sue on June 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Hahahaha I cracked up laughing at the “guess who really stole the show”. Now I personally can’t stand neon clothes (my sister adores them though!), and I’m not a pink person (except in selective doses and usually more of a punk combo while combined with black). But I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you’re rocking whatever you jolly well feel like wearing, regardless of not being a size zero. And you looked fab, and you looked totally at ease.

  19. Cara on June 3, 2014 at 5:19 am

    I love this post, I really want to take a bit of time and answer your questions at the end of each section, because I think those answer can really help me be ‘me’ online and elsewhere. Like I said in our call it was your sunny personality that stood out to me. You were always smiling, even when you were just listening to someone else talk! Oh and of course the pants 🙂 you know I love them because I have the same ones 🙂

  20. Jo Cavagnis on June 3, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Your personality really shone through on the show and you really made me smile! I find myself saying over and over today that it’s so HARD to be yourself and not imitate someone else’s voice…far harder than I thought anyway…practice makes perfect though I guess!

  21. Lori on June 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Sage!!! This is awesome! I remember when you shared on my blog that you used to never wear color, and then you began to embrace the girly side of you that loves pink! It really is amazing to see how embracing those things about ourselves really opens us up for greater things! I’m so happy for you that your business is booming. You deserve it! You are an inspiration to many – myself included!

  22. Rebecca on June 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout and the great post.
    it’s awesome to see just what you took away from the course being that you were there live and in person. As much as I may rewatch, I know the experience isn’t quite the same.
    I also love the points you’ve brought out here. Personally, I’m still working on showcasing my personality. It’s so important that I appear professional that I lost SO much of my personality from my blog, my site, and my business. Now I’m diving into the adventure of staying professional but also being true to myself. What is it that Winston Churchill said?
    “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
    It’s time to stand up for something! It’s time to be me, and if some people don’t like me or the way I present myself, that’s okay. They weren’t my reader or my client anyways!