Why Being a Cliché Might Actually Be Good For Business

There’s something going on in the online business world that is really fucking annoying, but I can almost guarantee that you don’t even realize that it’s happening because you are so immersed in this world and it’s all around you.

Let me paint you a picture of what this phenomenon is, using a real world, non-business example (so you can see just how ridiculous it really is).

Picture this:

You go to the doctor for let’s say, some kind of funky rash (you name the body part). You tell the doctor all about it, and he takes a minute to decide what to do about it. He knows very well that it’s just a standard run of the mill heat rash and there is some cortisone cream can get rid of it. But for the love of god, everyone is using cortisone these days. It’s SO overused, he says to himself. SO last year. He’s sick of hearing about it, because he isn’t just any old doctor. He’s different, he’s special. He doesn’t want to use what all the other MDs are using. So even though he knows it will do the job and heal you right up, he decides that he should give you something different, something new, something unique.

But you don’t know the damnedest thing about the different creams and treatments and all the crazy options out there. You’re not a fucking doctor. All YOU care about is getting rid of the damn rash in the quickest way possible, with a treatment that’s tried and true and WORKS.

Do you really give a shit whether your doctor is offering something different than what everyone else is offering?

No, because you don’t know the difference.

You have a problem, your doctor has a perfect solution. So he should give it to you.

Yeah? Yeah.


So then, why is it in your businesses you run around trying so hard to be different, to not talk like anyone else, to not offer solutions that others are offering?


Rhetorical question. I’ll tell you why:

Because someone somewhere told you that you had to stand out. So you got your panties all in a knot and took it to the extreme.

But you are forgetting one (very, very important) fact:

You are fully immersed in your own industry, as well as the online business industry as a whole. You are in it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You are part of a thousand Facebook groups and email lists and courses that are full of other people JUST LIKE YOU.

You see what every single other goddamn person in your field is offering. You hear the same language again and again. You see the same programs. You read the same blog posts.


But your client is not like you. They have no bloody idea that any of this world even exists. They aren’t coaches, or nutritionists, or copywriters, or designers.

They are just a person with a problem that needs fixing.
When they find you, you are likely the most unique damn thing on the planet.

They never knew that someone understood them like you do! They’re amazed at how much your website speaks directly to them (even if you use the words juicy, or awesomesauce, or authentic, or any other “annoying” online business words that we might be sick of hearing). And how all your programs are exactly what they need (even if they aren’t the most obscurely unique thing out there)

In fact, they probably LOVE that you use those words. Because before now, all they have had to turn to is boring career counselors, or MDs, or their family and friends – and none of them really GET IT.

But you! You get it! They love you, you are their new idol and they want to be a part of everything you do because they have a problem and overuse of internet business words isn’t one of them.

You have the magic potion that will fix their lives.






We tend to forget that we are in this super weird, slightly incestuous, overly obsessed with different industry, and that our clients are just regular people.


And I am ALL FOR being yourself in your business, letting yourself create all the wacky and unique stuff that YOU want to create. But when we become so obsessed with being different, we lose sight of what we wanted to create in the first place.


Your job is not to worry about being different than anyone else, it’s to worry about being more of YOU.

So please, get your stuff out there, in all its juicy, awesomesauce, authentic glory, and remember that your clients love it.

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 8.24.14 AM

What do you think? Agree or disagree? I know the whole “be different” thing is a hot topic, and I want to know your thoughts. Let’s get the discussion going in the comments.


  1. KristenBaker on September 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I love this. This reminds me too that – its so funny how I moved from a corporate world where the voices were: “you can’t make money being an entrep” to the entrep world, and the voices are still there, voices that are not my own (ie “be different”). In some ways, they may be MORE aligned with mine, but it is still that practice of coming back to my own voice first. Anyway, just funny — this is one of those voices that definitely shows up. A good reminder to keep coming back to JUST, simply, being more of YOU. 🙂

  2. morgan haines on September 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

    oh man, this SO resonated with me! I often get stuck in the awful spinning wheel of comparison and get hung up on how to differentiate myself. this came at a perfect time, with a perfect reminder that I just need to be me. and keep my eyes on my own paper 🙂

  3. MetNightOwl on September 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Brilliant as always, Rebecca. Let’s trade one cliche for another! Instead of focusing on “be different” we should focus on “be yourself.”

  4. Marinda on September 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I think that being yourself is what will make you different, but in that subtle kind of way where it all still makes sense to people.

  5. conniehealth on September 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I am starting a business and there is so much stuff out there.. Its just insane. I am just putting me out there in everything I am doing and its slow but the more I do it. I know its me and that is the point. I am unique .. this is perfect not to spend so much time on creating this.. I have found it gets clearer every action I do.

  6. unwhitewedding on September 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    This was such a refreshing and timely reminder! I have definitely found myself stuck in the cycle of having ideas and then trying to find out what makes me stand out versus just following through, producing the work, and putting it out there. Thank you, I always appreciate the way you cut through the crap and deliver the truth!

  7. AshleyLashea on September 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    By being yourself you’re naturally different. They go hand in hand. A one sided hand in hand but still hand in hand non the less.

  8. JoannaShock on September 25, 2014 at 5:59 am

    It’s so true that we surround ourselves with people doing similar things for support, and then just assume any client is comparing us all we have to differentiate ourselves. But I also think that by nature we’re people who want to be different, having stepped out from the sameness of corporatedom, we’re desperate not to fall into another path of sameness. There’s a fine line to be tread somewhere in the middle.

  9. ExpertlyDunne on September 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I love this post! I am always trying to figure out why people would hire me over any other event planner out there…but it’s because I am me; a sarcastic, fun, creative girl who knows how to plan a party! I am unique because I am me, not because I tried to do something new and different. 🙂

  10. lucysheridan on September 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    This post has really been a wake-up call for me to bring my head out of the ground i.e. my obsession with the self dev industry!  And with it I need to tone down the arrogance I’ve been guilty of!

    I heard Gabby B recently say, and I’m paraphrasing, that, ultimately we are all appropriating the same stuff but it’s our interpretation of it and the ‘being more of you’ that is the the special bit.  Like Rebecca says – our clients are not immersed in this world with its language and the parlance, like we are.

    Another thing is that, whilst I do find those words annoying (I remember chiming into the original thread in the Uncaged group) the use of words and phrases like juicy and authentic do establish a language for our industry.

    It’s not like restaurants would ever stop saying ‘delicious’ or ‘made fresh’ because they’re worried about what other restaurants are doing, is it?

    Brava Rebecca xox

  11. ryankhim on September 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Very Good, You have good insights, and is a brave person- you are not afraid to write. courage+intelligence, the rare combo—which make great stuff( it actually get written/shared) . The More People become like this the better, thanks for helping the world move toward that. 
    i like how you use the doctor example, it grabs my attention.
    then you use the real business example, which solidify the point even more. 

    good job, i like it. You are truly leading by example “So please, get your stuff out there, in all its juicy, awesome-sauce, authentic glory, and remember that your clients love it.”

  12. Art of Breaking Out on October 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Cheers to this!

    Many in the blogosphere get wrapped up emulating others, ignoring their own gifts, not focusing on their own special form of genius. 

    And in the process, their uncommon message get diluted… not good for them or their audience.

  13. Reese Ben Yaacov on October 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Becca the way you have worded this is like music to my ears! I have been telling my coaching clients that what is tried and true to you, what you think EVERYONE knows like the back of their hand….that stuff…your clients have ZERO clue about. So the way you have written this blog post with the doctor as an example really drives the point home.  I love your no nonsense, straight up advice.

  14. MelodeeForbes on November 13, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Love this post! Thank you!

  15. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Reese Ben Yaacov Thanks so much Reese!!

  16. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    lucysheridan love the restaurant analogy Lucy!

  17. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    ExpertlyDunne Go rock yo’ badass self!

  18. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    JoannaShock You’re very right Joanna! We ARE by nature different. And I think those differences show up best when we let ourselves be US – instead of trying to be different. Clients want that!

  19. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    conniehealth There IS so much out there Connie! It’s  a slow process, but being you will help you build our brand fastest!

  20. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Marinda hahah so true Marinda!

  21. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    MetNightOwl cheers for cliches! lol

  22. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    morgan haines Awesome! Now – get off this site and get back to work! 😉

  23. Rebecca Tracey on November 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    unwhitewedding Thank you!! Yes yes yes, actually getting the work out there is better than stressing for 6 months about how to make it different! I actually believe that by DOING the work, and doing it CONSISTENTLY and not giving up – you will make yourself different than 99% of people who try, and quit early. It’s not easy sticking through the ups and downs, and it’s always worth it!