I‘ve blogged previously about how business blogging has enhanced my life and how to use social media as personal development tools. Today, I'd like to share three examples of people who are increasing their confidence and self-esteem through small business ownership.
These are real people, so I am not using their real names.
- Caroline. As the leader of the Indie Social Community, I made an executive decision that participants must use their real name and a photo of them at their profile page. Not only does this virtually eliminate spam, but it also helps people be successful.
Caroline emailed me to ask if I could make an exception for her because she thought she was not photogenic enough to use a picture of herself.
I called Caroline and explained why I thought her photo was important, not just for the site, but also for her business. I shared some of my thoughts on community leadership, and soon after, Caroline created a Profile Page using a picture of herself smiling. Today, Caroline is being welcomed into the community, and is using one of her best assets — her smile — to engage people and nurture meaningful business and personal relationships.
- Tobie. Tobie came to me a few months ago almost in tears because she could not figure out where her confidence had gone. She'd had a successful career as an executive assistant in a past life, but now that she had her own business, she didn't have a boss to stand behind anymore.
In her prior professional life, Tobie always represented herself as representing her boss, thus deflecting the focus away from her as a person. Now that Tobie has her own business, those days are over.
Since we talked, Tobie has begun to put herself out there — and guess what comes with her? Her products! She blogs consistently and has even been a guest on a podcast (not mine, so don't go looking ….).
- Lily. Because of cruel comments hurled at her in elementary school, Lily was convinced that loading a photo of herself to her website would turn people off and prevent them from buying her products. Over time however, she began to see that others were gaining business ground in part because they displayed their photographs wherever they went online.
Lily could tell that, when a person used their picture, they enjoyed more engagement and influence. She didn't want to miss out, so over time, she came to accept that while some people may consider the color of her skin to be an issue, whatever they think is their issue, not hers.
Lily now confidently displays her photograph at her website, Twitter and everywhere else she connects online, and she does it without a second thought. Lily tells me that she remains convinced that she loses business because of her color, saying
I know some people don't want to do business with me because of my color, but that will happen anyway, no matter what I do. Today, I think I earn more business than I lose because people can sense how friendly I am when they visit my website and see my smiling face.
How's that for pushing fear out of the way!?
And what's the common denominator here? These women are leading businesses! (Well, “women” is also a common denominator, but that's for another blog post!)
Were it not for Caroline's, Tobie's, and Lily's businesses, all of this self acceptance and confidence may not be happening. Sure, making a profit will always be a central focus of entrepreneurship. But there's so much more to it than that.
–> It's about stepping up to the plate when you're terrified of what others will think, like Caroline.
–> It's about learning how not to hide behind the accomplishments of others, and being proud and outwardly communicative about your own, like Tobie.
–> It's about putting yourself out there when you've previously been mercilessly teased and taunted because of the color of your skin, like Lily.
Question: Do you see yourself or someone you know in Caroline, Tobie, or Lily? How has your business enhances your confidence and self esteem? Tell us in the comments!