Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Are You Confusing Your Audience with Multiple Businesses?

By Katherine Lazaruk on Aug 11 2010 • Filed under Image Intensive

Multiple streams of income are terrific from a financial point of view, but when you talk about all the things you do at a networking event, family gathering or other business function, are you confusing the people you talk to?

Women in particular, multitaskers that they are, often have at least two different types of businesses, or a job and business on the side, and sometimes more. While your energy is admirable, this multifaceted existence can be detrimental to your business image in networking. When you are asked to describe what you do, you may try to ‘fit it all in’ which results in confusion for your listeners and a potential loss of credibility as you may be perceived as scattered and less serious about your work.

If you are someone who has multiple business interests, keep these tips in mind when networking to avoid confusion in your audience and grow your businesses:

1. Choose which networks you want to target for which businesses you operate.
If you are a skin care representative but also sell financial products, you might choose to target your women’s networking groups with the former and leave the latter for co-ed networking, or vice versa, depending on your marketing strategy. Think carefully about your product or service and where it would be most advantageously promoted.

2. Consider keeping your multiple streams of income interrelated.
For example, if you work in the health industry, then selling natural health supplements would be a consistent fit for your portfolio of interests. If you are a makeup artist, skin care or fashion products would be a good fit for you. If your businesses are too diverse, people may question your ability or expertise in the various areas in which you practice.

3. If you do have very diverse businesses, it can help to explain clearly what you are doing and why.
For example, one networker talks about her day job in law that she really enjoys and talks about her home products business as something she does as a hobby on the side. Another talks about her business as something she is gradually transitioning into while describing how the skills she is learning in her regular job will benefit her as a business owner when she is ready to make the leap. This is a much more effective approach than talking to people about two or three different businesses at once without explanation.

4. Remember that people need to hear a message multiple times to absorb the information.
If you talk about something different each time you see them, people will have more difficulty understanding exactly what you do. Even if you see your networking group as often as once a week and even if your businesses are related, keep your messages consistent on a single topic over a period of time and you will achieve greater results.

Ultimately, this type of focus will benefit your businesses by making it easy for your audience to clearly understand what you do and for them to refer your products and services to the people in their networks. Apply these tips to avoid audience confusion, increase your credibility and watch your businesses grow.


  1. This article was so timely. I too have been struggling with multiple identities and feel that I have been further confusing people with my posts on my social networking sites. I have a full time job in sales that literally consumes every minute of my day. I started with a direct sales company to still make money but have a little fun at the same time. Thank you for recognizing that there are many other women in the same boat.

  2. Wow, Katherine, I loved your article! As a client attraction specialist, I am always appealing to entrepreneurs to have the courage to niche more narrowly. So, what you said about more than one business (especially ones that are totally unrelated) really muddies the waters and makes it very difficult to not only articulate what you do, but it makes it nearly impossible to create truly compelling marketing messages that really resonate with your ideal client. As I like to ask, “Have you ever seen a winning jockey ride two horses across the finish line?”

    Thanks so much for discussing this important marketing topic!

  3. Good article. With social media, it’s become harder to differentiate between multiple businesses, products, and services. I ran into this problem a couple years ago and found that tying my various ventures together under a single umbrella worked well. Now people are much clearer about what I do and what I have to offer.

    • Hi Patrice,

      Thanks for your comment and compliment; I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’d be curious to hear what you did or what specific strategy you employed to help people be clear on what you do – how did you get to a place of clarity?

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