Good Businesses Have Bad Moments. Cut Them A Little Slack.

No Business Is Absolutely Perfect.

As much as any small business wants to deliver a perfect customer experience during each and every interaction, it will slip up. Perhaps (and hopefully) notThumbs down often will that happen, but it will happen.

For example:

  • The local coffee shop’s brew won’t be piping hot.


  • Your veterinarian will be behind schedule and you’ll wait longer than you care to for Fido’s appointment.


  • The Mediterranean restaurant down the street will forget to serve your salad dressing on the side.


  • Before she wraps the bracelet you bought for your mom, the cashier at the gift shop downtown will forget to remove the price tag.


Honest, unintentional, few-and-far-between mistakes happen. They’re unfortunate and can inconvenience you, yes. Are they something to get upset about enough to warrant slamming a business on social media? I say, probably not.


But many people see things differently. They jump to criticize and discredit for the smallest measure of imperfection. And sometimes they don’t even explain why they’re dissatisfied.


Just recently, one of my own Facebook friends blasted a status update calling out a local coffee shop. Her remark…“Was at [name of café] this morning. Very disappointing.”


That was it.


She tagged the business’s Facebook page in her post, but didn’t post directly on the page. Because of the way she went about mentioning the business and because she and the business owner aren’t friends on Facebook, the business owner had no way of responding on the platform. She had no way of asking why the customer had a bad experience. She had no way of asking the customer if they could talk about it offline. She had no way of asking the customer how she could make it right.


So there it was. Her business was publicly shamed for no specific reason and with no direct way to respond.


Coincidentally, I had a meeting at that coffee shop the same morning. My experience was wonderful—as usual. And so, as a fellow small business owner and regularly satisfied customer, I felt it my duty to come to the rescue (well, as best I could anyway) by commenting on my friend’s post to share my positive experience at the café that day.


My comment probably didn’t undo much of the damage, but by seeing similar comments by others posted after mine, I’d like to think it helped restore at least a little bit of public favor for that small business.


It’s Better To Pick Our Battles On Social Media.

Just as people aren’t perfect, neither are businesses. They’re owned and staffed by imperfect humans who will try their very best, but who will sometimes fall short.


Sure, negative remarks on social media about a business’s performance are sometimes justified—particularly if a customer has had repeat bad experiences that weren’t addressed when brought to the owner’s attention. But shouldn’t every business have an opportunity to find out how they failed a customer and how they can set things right?


As customers ourselves, we need to remember that. When we have a lackluster experience, we don’t do ourselves any favors by venting for the sake of simply getting it off our chests. What will improve our future visits to businesses that have disappointed us in some way is to start an honest dialogue with owners and managers to explain why we’re unhappy and what we would like them to do differently.


Simple. Sensible. And something about which we should remind the overzealous business critics in our social media networks. After all, you and I never know when they might turn on us for the slightest slip.


How has your business (or others that you frequently visit) been bitten by unjustly harsh social media commentary? How have you handled it?


Image courtesy of photostock at

The Right Way To Earn Small Business Bragging Rights

Leadership expert Steve Gutzler wrote a post that made me pause to think about the qualities of being self-employed that I tend to Bragging guyemphasize when talking with other professionals.


Upon reflection, I realize I too often share about my packed project schedule or the fact that there never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. It’s as if being overworked or overwhelmed are valid markers on the path to success.


They’re not. There’s no glory in excessive stress and leading a professional life that seems to control us rather than the other way around. What’s the point of being your own boss if your business is the boss of  you?


Sure, we need to work hard to build sustainable businesses, BUT that’s not what should earn us bragging rights as solopreneurs and small business owners.


What should give us something to gloat about?

  • We can choose the types of projects we want to work on.
  • We can choose the clients we want to work with.
  • We don’t have to ask anyone permission to leave work early on a beautiful summer afternoon.
  • We can plan our work schedule around our kids’ ball games and play rehearsals.
  • We can enroll in any professional development course we want without someone telling us it’s not relevant to our position.


Having lifestyle flexibility is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s OK to step away from work and enjoy other things.


And you shouldn’t feel like less of a business professional because you have the ability to do that when others don’t.


Isn’t it time we wore THAT as our small business badge of honor?


Of course, having the ability to do more than work all the time means finding the discipline and resources to plan better and work more efficiently.


Accomplish that and you’ve really got something to brag about!


Your turn! What do you find yourself quickest to communicate when talking with others about your experience in self-employment?


Image courtesy of bplanet at

Four Ways To Instantly Boost Your Self-Confidence

As a solopreneur, I’ve experienced moments when I’ve felt like I can take on any challenge—and moments when I’ve felt like I can’t do anything right.Confident woman with clenched fists


Like when I accepted an assignment to write birthday card copy. My confidence was shaken after spending far more hours than I anticipated on the project and after dealing with almost two weeks of ideas not flowing as naturally as I expected them to.


Other self-employed friends have told me they, too, have stretches of self-doubt that rattle their confidence.


When you find yourself questioning your capabilities and competency to perform to expectations (typically your own!), sometimes you need a little kick in the pants to stop you from kicking yourself.


Need to be kicked?


Here are four ways to instantly give your self-confidence a boost:

Revisit positive feedback from clients.

Re-read testimonials on your website or LinkedIn, or look at thank you cards and emails that you’ve saved. They serve as reminders of how much others appreciate you and respect your work.

Eat the frog.

I don’t mean this literally (blah!). What I’m suggesting is that you dig in and take care of a task you were avoiding either because you were intimidated by it or you were dreading it for some other reason. When you “eat the frog” before you tackle the rest of your to do list, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment—and relief. With the worst thing awaiting you that day out of the way, all else will seem easier.

Look back on how far you’ve come.

When you feel like you aren’t measuring up or haven’t accomplished enough, do a reality check. Focus on what you have achieved, rather than what you haven’t. Reflect on the new clients you’ve recently acquired and the long-term clients you’ve built relationships with, take stock of how far you’ve come with your social media presence and website, applaud yourself for how many blog posts you’ve written in the past year, congratulate yourself for being asked to join a prominent networking group, etc. You’ve made progress. That’s something to be proud of!

Help someone else.

There’s nothing like empowering someone else to give your own self-worth a boost. When you share insight and information to help others avoid pitfalls or improve their skills or knowledge, you remind yourself of the value you bring. Doing that can be as easy as emailing them an article about an issue they’ve been struggling with or giving them a quick phone call to share some golden nugget of valuable info you just discovered.


Not feeling confident kills motivation and productivity. Don’t let lack of self-confidence linger and overshadow your solopreneur super powers. Confidence, combined with hard work and continual effort to learn and grow, breeds success. You can’t get there without it.


How do you conquer lapses in self-confidence and bring your self-esteem back up to speed?


Bonus! Here’s a list of some other helpful articles from some stellar sources about self-confidence:


Confidence Breeds Success—And It Can Be Taught via Forbes

Science Says Overconfidence Key To Success via Inc.

9 Ways To Show More Confidence in Business via Entrepreneur

Image courtesy of stockimages at

You Don’t Have Time For That

Your time is precious.Spending-time


I know. You’ve heard that before, but do you believe it?


Think about it this way:


After you’ve spent your time, you can never get it back. When you spend time on something, you’ve forfeited the opportunity to spend it on something else.


That’s why it’s smart to carefully consider importance and impact before you decide whether or not to spend time on something—or someone.


With limited hours and minutes every day, you need to choose what and who WON’T get your attention.


Here’s a short list of what I say “no” to in the course of running my solopreneur business:


  • Face-to-face meetings with “tire kicker” prospects (those who have no idea what they’re looking for or are looking for a writer based on price alone).
  • Producing complete, official proposals before I get email confirmation from a prospect that they want to go forward with the scope of work, pricing, and payment terms we’ve discussed.
  • Answering every phone call and text immediately. It interrupts the work I’m doing for clients so I’ll often set my phone aside in another room so I don’t hear it while in my office. I always aim to respond as soon as possible, but rarely is there a “writing emergency” that can’t wait a few hours.
  • Constant complainers. We all know them, don’t we? People who only talk about how they’ve been done wrong and how they can’t catch a break. People who spend too much time wallowing in despair and not enough taking action to change their situation.
  • Taking on projects that aren’t the right fit. What I mean by that:
    • They fall outside of my skillset, and I don’t believe I can do a stellar job for the client.
    • They will demand too tight a turn-around.
    • I don’t feel the right chemistry between the client and me.
    • I think they’ll suck the life out of me.
  • Requests to “pick my brain” by people who have “picked my brain” before and only connect with me when they have a need to “pick my brain.”


By saying “no” to the above, I’m free to say “yes” to things that will matter and make a difference.

What do you say “no” to?

Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Public speaking has never been in my comfort zone.Scared woman biting lip


My heart starts to race a little even during those short and sweet roundtable sort of elevator introductions we’re so often expected to deliver when attending a new professional group or meeting.


What’s with that?


I had performed on stage in theater productions all through high school, throughout my four years in college, and in community theater. Shouldn’t public speaking be easy?


It’s not.


When put in “in the spotlight” situations, I inwardly freak out a little every time.


Just last week, as a sponsor of a chamber of commerce program, I presented the Business & Technology Student of the Month Award to a senior at one of the local high schools. As part of that presentation, I was expected to stand in front of the class and talk about my business and answer questions.


Those same all-familiar nerves picked at me throughout my entire 10 minutes center stage.


Do you get those crazy butterflies and anxiety about speaking in front of a group like I do? The odds are you do.


According to Statistic Brain, the National Institute of Mental Health’s research in 2013 indicates that 75 percent of people suffer from speech anxiety.


That’s three out of every four of us!


Note that this number has been challenged by Richard Garber who blogs extensively on public speaking. According to information Garber has found, approximately 21.2% of U.S. adults have a fear of public speaking and 10.7% have a phobia of public speaking. Check out his post, which calls out the stats that are being used in articles everywhere.


In either case, we’re not alone in our suffering from fear of public speaking.


But what makes standing up and talking in front of people so doggone scary?


In an article on Psychology Today’s website, Glenn Croston shares, “When faced with standing up in front of a group, we break into a sweat because we are afraid of rejection.”


That makes sense to me. While we may not be consciously thinking, “I hope they don’t reject me,” we fear messing up or looking foolish. Or at least I do when I’m putting my personal self out there.


So how can we get past our anxiety and feel more at ease with public speaking?


I’ve searched for and found some articles that provide what seems to be some very sound advice for those of us with nagging cases of glossophobia. Here they are along with one tip from each that I found particularly helpful or interesting:


Five Tips For Reducing Public Speaking Nervousness – “Whether you’re good at public speaking or not has nothing to do with your value as a person. It’s simply a skill that you can learn and become better at with practice.”


Thirty Ways To Manage Speaking Anxiety – “Eat for success–foods containing tryptophan (dairy products, turkey, salmon) and complex carbohydrates tend to calm the body. Eliminate caffeine, sweets, and empty calories.”


Eleven Easy Ways To Finally Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking – “Slow and measured breathing is a sign that you’re in control. Before you go to the front of the room, concentrate on taking a few, slow breaths. Repeat this a few times. When you start to speak, remember to pause and breathe after you make a point.”


7 Little Tricks To Speak In Public With No Fear – “All you have to do is admit that you are a bit nervous speaking to your audience. When you do this, the audience will be more forgiving if your nervousness shows up later on.”


How I (Finally) Got Over My Fear Of Public Speaking – “Even if you feel you’re not entirely ready, actively seek out speaking opportunities and take each one that comes your way, whether it’s simply presenting to a few colleagues or giving a talk to a room of 30 people.”


Of course, each of these articles offers other tips as well, so dig in and take note of some things you’d like to remember and try the next time you’re faced with speaking to a group. I hope that in my quest to be more comfortable with public speaking I’ve helped you, too.


If you’re one of the lucky folks who either doesn’t have a fear of public speaking or who has overcome it, please share your tips and tricks in a comment.


Thanks for reading! — Dawn


Image courtesy of marcolm at





3 Facts About Self-Employment Your Friends And Family Probably Won’t Believe

When a national corporation bought the regional telecommunications company where I worked for 17 years, my position was among the nearly 60 percent of Realitythose company-wide that were eliminated. Rather than look for a job at another company, I decided to go the self-employed route.

I was excited, motivated, and yes, a little frightened. Some friends and family members were supportive. Some didn’t quite get it.

Sound familiar?

Now that I’ve been making a successful go of it for the past five years, pretty much everyone in my life has grown comfortable with my present career path. But it has required ongoing effort to help people closest to me understand what I do—and why I do it.

Here are some of the truths about your self-employed status that the people in your life might not understand or accept when you’re first getting started:


Working From Home Isn’t Unemployment.

For serious solopreneurs, self-employment isn’t a way to kill time until they find a “real job.” While some people might do it because they don’t believe they have other options, many choose the path for the flexibility, autonomy, and income potential. According to The Solopreneur Life’s annual survey in 2014, 82.8 percent of respondents said they have at least a bachelor’s degree; 38.5 percent attained master’s degrees; and 4.3 percent are PhDs. Most solopreneurs are well-educated and most likely could find a job working for an organization if they’d really want to.

You’re Running A Business Even Though You Don’t Have Employees.

Although you don’t have multiple departments or a payroll to manage, you’re operating a bona fide small business. You’re the person responsible for your accounting, marketing, sales, administrative duties, and more. And you pay taxes (a lofty amount!) on your business’s net income. In many respects, you have more responsibility and accountability as a self-employed person than you would have working for someone else.

Your Time On Social Media Has A Purpose.

You MUST spend time—a good bit of time—on social media networks to build your business. People I know have made comments to me to the effect of, “It must be nice to play on social media whenever you want,” or “Are you always on social media?” Besides my personal Facebook page (which I don’t really spend all that much time on), my presence on other online channels is part of my marketing strategy. People who only use social media for personal purposes have a hard time wrapping their heads around the frequency and consistency required to use it successfully in a professional context. Don’t feel guilty about using social media! But do stay focused on delivering quality content to your followers, concentrate on building professional relationships, and don’t get sidetracked by watching too many cute kitty cat videos.

Realize Your Efforts To Bust The Myths May Not Be Easy—Or Successful.

As you demonstrate your self-discipline and your ability to make a living wage in your business, you’ll likely gain the support of most of the skeptics in your life. But prepare to see some relationships drift away. Your interests—and your circle of friends—will change to some degree when you’re in business for yourself.

Self-employment is an adventure in professional and personal evolution.

Do your best to help people understand that, but realize not everyone will come to terms with it or stick with you for the entire journey.

Thanks for reading! You probably know this already, but you can subscribe to my blog via RSS or email so you’re notified about new posts. And don’t forget to connect with me on social media. I’d love to meet up with  you there, too!


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

What You—And Only You—Can Take Responsibility For

I just wrote a guest post about accountability for the TDS Business blog that broached the subject from the standpoint of how to be accountable for getting Finger pointing at youthings done in your business. As a self-employed small business owner, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, formal performance reviews, or a structured monetary award incentive to motivate you. It’s all you.


But besides the down and dirty business stuff, there’s another thing you need to hold yourself accountable for. YOU are the only person with ultimate responsibility for it.


Taking care of yourself. Physically. Mentally.


And your success in doing so hinges a great deal on managing stress.


Stress Sucks.

According to statistics provided by the American Psychological Association and American Institute of Stress (which I found on the American Institute of Stress website), 77 percent of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. And 73 percent experience psychological symptoms because of stress.


That’s nearly all of us. Rather astounding and unnerving, don’t you think? But it’s a little reassuring, too. If you’ve felt the effects of stress like I have, it’s sort of nice to know we’re not alone. We’re not the only ones who have dealt with the ramifications of letting stuff get to us:


  • Tightened neck muscles
  • Nervousness and inability to relax
  • Never a good night’s sleep
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Upset stomach and wacked out digestion
  • No energy


The list goes on.


Unfortunately, there’s not always a way to eliminate the work and home pressures that add stress to our lives. But the one thing we can do is take responsibility for prepping our bodies and minds to deal with stress more effectively.


The Stress-Busting Trio

I’m not a doctor, psychologist, nutritionist, or any other variety of health and wellness expert, so I’m not going to tell you what you should do. But I know what it’s like to have competing priorities and to feel the overwhelming pressure of trying to get everything done (and done “right”). So I thought I’d share some thoughts on what helps me keep stress levels under control in hopes it will help you explore ways to manage stress better.


I’ve found my success at dealing with stress depends largely on how attentive I am to three things.


  • Exercising
    I’ve been working out for over thirty years and can’t imagine how much of a frazzled mess I’d be if I didn’t get that boost of endorphins that comes from some physical exertion and sweat. Exercise helps reduce anxiety and improve mood and sleep. And then there’s the side benefit of getting fit and feeling better about yourself.
    Now that I work from home, I find it more manageable and mentally beneficial to break my workouts into smaller chunks and do them throughout the day rather than doing a single longer workout.

    According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, I seem to be on the right track with that approach, “Studies have found that people who spend more time each day watching television, sitting, or riding in cars have a greater chance of dying early than people who spend less time on their duffs. Researchers speculate that sitting for hours on end may change peoples’ metabolism in ways that promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.”

    As solopreneurs and small business owners, we typically do a lot of work at our desks or sitting in a sedentary state somewhere. In addition to refreshing our minds, fitting in breaks to get our bodies moving could help us keep some potential health issues at bay.

    Not sure you have the discipline to do it? Consider getting one of those fitness bands like the Vivofit (that’s the one I have), that tracks your steps throughout the day and raises the equivalent of a red flag whenever you’ve been planted on your behind for an extended period of time.


  • Eating Smart
    “You are what you eat.” I’ve found that to be true. Certain foods can trigger and aggravate stress, particularly processed foods like soft drinks, fast food, microwave and out-of-the-box meals that are pretty much void of nutrients and full of sugar, sodium, and additives.

    I notice a big difference in my ability to concentrate and to deal with challenges when I stray from eating whole foods and indulge in quick convenience foods instead. There’s plenty of evidence to support that food plays an important role in regulating cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. That gives us very good reason to eat wisely.


  • Sleeping Enough
    It’s a vicious, frustrating cycle; stress can interfere with your sleep and not getting enough sleep can make you feel more stressed. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations, adults from 26 – 64 years old should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day.

    Hands down, sleep (or lack of it) is the one thing above all else that can make or break my day.


It’s a Package Deal

All of the above don’t work as well alone as they do together—at least not in my experience. Eating better makes me feel more energetic when exercising, and exercise facilitates better sleep at night, and better sleep at night makes me more inclined to exercise.


My outlook, energy level, and productivity are all more optimal when I make the trio of exercise, eating well, and sleep a priority. And only I can hold myself responsible for doing those things.


How accountable have you been for managing stress and taking better care of yourself? It’s not always easy when you’re schedule is jam-packed and you’re pulled in multiple directions. But remember, if you don’t do it. No one else will do it for you.


As I finished this post, by friend, client, mastermind group colleague, and all-around savvy small business owner Rachel Strella posted an article reminding us how important it is to take time for ourselves. Check it out!

By Dawn Mentzer

Image courtesy of stockimages at





Two Ways To Scale Your Solopreneur Business

As 2015 creeps upon us (O.K. Who am I kidding? It’s not creeping, it’s coming at us like a rushing bull at the rodeo!), I’ve been putting thought into what I Hands holding growing seedlingwant to accomplish in my solopreneur business in the New Year. I’m guessing you’ve been thinking about ways to boost your business, too.


It’s no easy feat to grow your business when your income is very much tied directly to your time spent. And one thing I’ve talked about with my colleagues, mastermind partners, clients, and friends for the past year or so has been finding ways to scale my business.


What do I mean by scaling my business? Simply put, increasing revenue with minimal cost and without substantially increasing my workload.


How Can You Scale Your Solo Business?


Take On More Work, But Don’t Do All Of That Work On Your Own.

Despite my best intentions, I haven’t implemented scaling as I’d hoped to. As a professional services solopreneur, scaling doesn’t come easily.


It can be a problematic notion for a services provider. In my case, as a freelance writer, my clients rightfully expect me to personally do the work they hire me to do. Sure, I’ve streamlined my professional process a bit by bringing on a virtual assistant (Rose Boettinger) to do research, periodically do administrative tasks, and proofread some of my work before I send it to clients.


That’s alleviated some stress and has helped me take on some additional clients and work. But I realize I need to utilize her more—and in different ways—to really grow my business.


The trick will be to set new expectations for “Dawn Mentzer Freelance Writing” as a team versus a single writer who does content writing. That will take some time—and some strategic thinking.


If your clients view you as a “one man (or woman) band,” you’ll also need to carefully consider how to manage client expectations—and uphold your quality standards—while contracting the time and talents of others.


Embrace Efficiency Tools.

We’ve all got 24/7 at our disposal to accomplish what we need to do professionally and personally. No more. No less. And we—well, at least, I—don’t want to spend all of my days and hours working. Technology tools to boost productivity, add efficiency, and streamline processes can help. I’ve used several with success, but know I could do more with them.


Evernote, Quickbooks, Toggl, LastPass, Trello, Quote Roller, Hootsuite, and Google Apps. These tools help minimize time spent saving and retrieving information, tracking and collaborating on projects, issuing invoices and proposals, logging into websites, and monitoring and posting to social media networks. When you save time on administrative tasks, you have more time for billable work. That enables you to scale to some degree without outsourcing your work.


How Do You Plan To Grow Your Business?

As I contemplate what my expanded solopreneur business will look like, I’m wondering what plans for growth you have either on your brain or in active execution. Are you looking for ways to scale your small business?


If yes, I found a few articles on the topic that I believe you might find particularly helpful. Check them out, and please leave a comment on this blog with any tips you have that might help our fellow solopreneurs and small biz owners grow their businesses.


7 Points To Consider Before Scaling Your Small Business via Synnovatia


From Solopreneur To Company: How To Scale Up Your Organization via Firepole Marketing (Although not my ambition, it might be yours. The article shares some helpful pointers.)


6 Steps To Scaling Your Freelance Business via Envato Studio


Beyond Freelancing: 4 Models for Continued Business Growth via Bidsketch (This one touches on the topic of turning some element of your business into a product you can sell. For example, an e-book or a training course, etc. that will generate passive income. )


By Dawn Mentzer
An Insatiable Solopreneur™ post


Image courtesy of adamr at

Asked To Tackle A Project That Uncharted Territory? Keep These Things In Mind!

Even professionals in creative fields can sometimes feel the grind of working on the same types of projects over and over again. So, atypical (even off-the-wall Yoga stretchprojects) may look appealing.

Taking on projects that are new, different, uncharted territory can help you breathe fresh air and generate new mojo when you’re feeling uninspired—but they can also leave you feeling inadequate and defeated if they don’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped they would.

I recently worked on a project that was a far cry from the type of writing I typically do. It came to me as opposed to me looking for it, but I thought it sounded like fun and interesting, so I decided to accept the opportunity.

Wow, it was hard! Dang hard. But I learned a lot from the experience and I’m going to share some of what I discovered with you.

When you venture outside of your “project comfort zone,” I suggest keeping these things in mind:

You don’t know what you don’t know.

When taking on a project you’ve never done before, you won’t truly know what you’re in for until you get started. It might demand a whole new way of thinking or executing your work.

Expect to spend more time on it than you anticipate.

Because you haven’t worked on the type of project before, it will probably demand more of your time than you anticipate to get it right. In the case of my recent project, “getting it right” was subjective and dependent on my client’s perspective and preferences. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it does up the level of challenge.

Expect to spend more mental energy on it than you expected.

You might find that the project pervades your thoughts in all your waking (and sometimes sleeping) hours. That’s exhausting and can draw your focus and attention from your other responsibilities.

Put on your thick skin.

You may need it. Even if you’re used to hitting a home run with your other projects, you might flounder in producing what your client wants with this one. Requests for re-dos are never fun, and they can hit the ego hard. Don’t take it personally. It’s part of the process.

All things considered, I’m glad I made the stretch to try something different. It was hard work that brought a healthy does of humility, but it’s made me appreciate how effortlessly other projects proceed for me.

Have you taken on any unique, out-of-the-norm projects lately? What have you learned from the experience?

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post


Image courtesy of Ambro at

Over The Top On Social Media? Here’s How To Avoid Pushing Your Personal Brand Over The Edge

I’ll bet you’ve seen it in your news feeds. The opposite ends of the spectrum in the tone and content of social media posts by your friends and the business woman-on-cliffprofessionals with whom you’re connected.

Some gals and guys share an endless stream of rainbows and smiley faces. Their lives and careers appear without flaws. By all accounts, you’d believe they experience nothing but happy, happy, joy, joy 24/7.

And then there are folks who seem always down and out. They’re oppressed. They’ve been done wrong. They can’t ever catch a break. They constantly look to their online connections for validation that their feelings of “me against the world” are fully justified.

Reality Check.

Both of the above are illusions. No one’s life is either all perfect or typically all bad. We all experience both the good and the really crappy.

How Going To Extremes On Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Brand

If you’re one of the people who go to either extreme on social media, chances are you’re turning off someone, somewhere, at some time.

If you appear to always be in a state of overjoy in overdrive, people might find you disingenuous.

Likewise, if you’re consistently ranting or putting on a pity party, you’ll start to drive people away.

For those using social media for personal purposes, all of this might not matter so much. But if your personal brand is directly tied to your professional persona as a solopreneur or small business owner, you’ve got more at stake.

The Social Media Balancing Act

When you’re using social media as a self-employed person, the lines between personal and professional become blurred. For example, many of my clients are also my Facebook friends. So anything I post personally becomes a reflection of me as professional as well. Sure, I could use Facebook’s list function to prevent certain posts from being seen from clients vs. other friends, but that’s cumbersome—and quite honestly (I think) sort of sneaky.

Instead, why not strive to achieve balance and use common sense to show you’re genuine, likeable, and someone people will want to stick with on social media channels? Sure, you can pretty much post whatever you want. It’s a free country, right? But as a businessperson whose personal activity on social media can either enhance or weaken your professional image, you should always think before you post.

Here are a few of the self-made rules I’ve found reasonable to follow on social media:

  • Don’t demean others (including your competitors)—ever!
  • Share your challenges, but don’t dwell on them.
  • Share your successes, but give credit to others who have helped you achieve them.
  • Don’t overshare. Posting too frequently and/or sharing too much personal detail will push followers away. According to a SlideShare on Forbes citing results from a SocialToaster survey, 39 percent of social media users would unfollow someone for crossing the line by oversharing.
  • Be helpful to others—share articles, information, and advice.
  • Don’t always make it about you—share other people’s content often.
  • Politics and religion—use extreme discretion when posting anything related to either of these hot topics on personal social media accounts. Avoid them on business social media accounts. (Note, I don’t avoid them completely on personal social media because they’re a significant part of life. It’s unreasonable to make them completely off limits.)
  • Don’t get caught up in others’ drama.

I’ve discovered having rules like these in place help ensure I provide variety in the content I post and prevent me going to extremes on social media. Have you set your own rules of engagement for your social media channels, or are you finding it tough to achieve balance? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment and share your thoughts.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post


Image courtesy of Just2shutter at