One of the most memorable learning opportunities I've had recently was attending a virtual town hall for small business owners hosted by Rachel Rodgers. Those in attendance were seeking information on building anti-racist companies, including new ways to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Ericka Hines reminded the group to “be humble and ready to fumble.” Recognize that you will mess up. And when you do, it can be as simple as saying:
I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm going to change my behavior.
On the day of the town hall, I had a long talk with a trusted colleague and friend of mine, Jasmine. We talked about social media, and how some of the places where our businesses can be found (i.e., Facebook business pages) our voices are silent, often because we neither use or check them very often.
I've been thinking about where I show up as a business online. I’m sure I’ll fuck up more–and do more good–but I've neglected to pay attention to where I’m showing up most often regarding Jennings Photo & Photo Business Help.
This is my first blog post in a while, but I’ve been using Instagram Stories and my personal Facebook page like crazy to elevate voices, share resources, and post some of my own business work.
What about you?
I want to think of the message I’m sending about myself and my business when new folks find me.
Facebook and Instagram Stories last for a day then disappear. New clients or coaching students may not be friends with me on Facebook and thus can't see a lot of my posts. And even though I'm relatively loud on Twitter, my business isn't.
If you're a small business owner, I'd like to encourage you to think about how and where you're showing up and where you're silent. Especially when it's SO important to speak up. This is an ongoing conversation, self-assessment, and lifelong journey.
I'm talking about clear messaging.
It's making sure that if someone finds you for the first time, they're getting a clear picture of who you are as a small business and what you stand for without having to dig through all of your social channels.
Here's the thing: what used to be a no-no in business (getting personal, loud, or even political) is now imperative. If you're a small business, people want to know who you really are and what you stand for.
Human rights, animal rights, and other important issues must be amplified, elevated, and given a platform. Your platforms are part of the fabric of your community.
Inaction is fear-based.
It's a worry of offending a potential client. Do you want to build a client base and brand working with people who are offended by what you believe in? I don't.
So, I'm listening and learning. I'm changing my behavior where it needs to change.
Reframing that fear is possible. Instead of offending, openly sharing can edify website browsers or bring positive attention to things I care deeply about.
Absolutely. Hell yes.
And if it turns them away, not my ideal client anyway.
I've added some of the organizations I care about, financially support, and feel need a voice on my about page.
Next, I will be working to improve the consistency of my online presence (especially social media accounts) in the coming weeks and years.
In addition to what you've seen from Jennings Photo & Photo Business Help, I'm pledging to share more of what I care deeply about, and share my platforms with the voices that need to be heard.
As I learn more, I’ll add more.
If any of this resonates, I highly recommend you watch the replay and sign a pledge of your own if you're a small business owner feeling called to learn, grow, and continue to show up. More on the pledge here.
PPPS: Please, for the love of god, vote.