Remove "CEO" From Your Title
Your title should reflect what your customers are searching for, not your ego.
If a pipe at home bursts and you need a plumber, you’d likely do a couple of things:
Google “plumber + [your area]” and browse the results
Call your friend and ask if they know any plumbers
Go on Facebook and search for “plumber + [your area]”
Look up “plumber” in the Yellow Pages
At no point will you search for a “CEO,” “Managing Director,” or “Founder.”
Even though the plumber may be a solopreneur who runs their own business, that’s immaterial to you.
You want the plumber who will fix the pipe, not the director or CEO that will manage the process.
And yet, everyone on Facebook and LinkedIn is a CEO.
A classic mistake new business owners make is adding puffed-up titles to their business cards, social media profiles, and websites.
I know this because I was one such business owner, calling myself a “CEO” on LinkedIn and adding “Creative Director” to my business card even though what I did was a lot less managerial and a lot more operational.
And I get it. You started your own business and you’re technically managing or directing your operations (even if it’s just you at the moment).
But none of that matters to your customer. They're hiring your expertise, not your title.
I recently wrote an article on SEO (read it), and the basic premise was that people are searching online for solutions to their problems every day.
If you want to get in front of all those problem-having, money-spending customers, you need to position yourself in a way that is relevant to their search terms.
For example, if travelers are searching for hotels in Cape Town, they’ll likely search for “hotel cape town” on Google and click on the first few results that pop up.
If the words “hotel” and “Cape Town” are nowhere to be found on your website, you stand little chance of ever showing up at the top of those results and earning bookings.
The same concept applies to social media platforms - especially LinkedIn.
People are searching for service providers every day, and when someone wants a job done, they look for an operator who can do the job - not their boss.
For example, if I want a copywriter for my website, I’ll plug “web copywriter Johannesburg” into LinkedIn’s search bar and see what pops up.
If you’re a copywriter who specializes in writing web copy - and you’ve been creating content, forming connections, earning recommendations, and have those keywords in your headline - you’re more likely to show up in the search results and earn my business.
But if your headline says something silly like “CEO of WriteRight,” or “Managing Director of Kopy Konsultants,” LinkedIn will assume you’re too busy MD-ing and drop you to the bottom of the pile.
Even if you were a skilled web copywriter, lacking the right keywords on your profile will prevent you from getting paid.
At some point, you have to choose between fancy titles or money - but the irony is that you need money to free you up to enjoy fancy titles.
Once you’ve built up a big enough customer base and are raking in the moolah, you can hire people to work under you so you focus on overseeing operations.
But to get to that point, you have to position yourself the right way so customers can find and book you.
Leave your ego at the door. There’ll be plenty of time for fancy titles later.
Till next week,
In my last post, I wrote about 11 ways to reinvest in your business for long-term growth. Read it:
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Great article, Mo!