I’m Illana Burk, CEO of Your Life’s Workshop, coach to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs across dozens of industries and host of Good Business. With nearly 20 years experience helping hundreds of clients create profitable, ethically driven and sustainable businesses based on their life’s work, I’m here to teach you how to do great work, make great money, and make a positive impact without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Hi everybody. Today’s episode is a branch off of our last episode, which is episode 22 on stakeholders and figuring all that stuff out. Why stakeholders matter and what to do about that. If you listened to that episode, you should have a clear picture of exactly who matters to you and your work and why, as well as how much time you have for your work without sacrificing all those VIP needs and expectations of you. So, next up, we’re going to talk about exposure protection and the responsibility you have to those who matter most. See, this thing happens when you start a business. You market yourself, and when you market yourself, you become public in some ways, maybe more than you have ever been before. Maybe more than you ever intended.
This is the conversation – what’s your intention around this? That means that you need to make clear decisions about how you’re going to do that and how that will affect the people you care about most because in this social media world, your exposure can become their exposure if you’re not careful, and they may not want that.
Take social media as a whole, as an example. Your business’s needs might necessitate daily, honest, raw videos of you talking about how much you love your pet potato. We’ll call him Mortimer. You might feel called to talk about Mortimer and all the funny things Mortimer does. You might want to film Mortimer doing embarrassingly darling twirls in a Tutu, and that might get you a lot of attention. Mortimer will certainly be internet famous, but what happens when Mortimer wants a life of his own? What happens when Mortimer gets a job or a date? Will Mortimer appreciate the warm glow of social media’s attention?
Good for your business does not automatically mean good for the people or the potatoes that you care about. So now do this. Talk to your people about exposure. Ask them how they feel about being props for your business. I know that sounds really derogatory, but it’s true. If they’re not directly involved, including them in your world, in your business, media, in your marketing, makes them a prop. Be ready to talk about what you think is okay and what isn’t, and be ready to listen. Share what you want from them. Just like your business might not always be good for them; they might not always be good for your business. I still remember that one time, I had to remind my mom that her comments in my first professional group that I ran were not all that welcome. I really wish I would have had that convo a little earlier because it SUCKED.
Finally, the most important thing to remember: Don’t violate the trust of either group. Both groups matter. Deeply. You need to be ready to hear what your people need from you. You need to value that your business is not more important than them. Your business is not more important than how they want to be perceived in the world, how they want to show up in the world, how their professional lives could be affected by how you choose to make them show up in the world or even by how you show up in the world. There are people in this world that have jobs that could be endangered by your raw social media. You have to think this stuff through. Your dreams do not happen in a vacuum. They affect other people and are affected by them. You can’t forget this. You can’t set it aside, and you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.
You can’t use your calling as an excuse for doing whatever the fuck you want on social media. You just can’t.
I have a really good story about this. I have a woman in my orbit that I think I gave her a full proposal for a huge branding project three separate times over about four years. She was one of those people that was like a total evangelist for me. She loved everything I posted. She’d send me emails telling me how great I am. She signed up for the little courses that I did over the years and for groups that I ran, and she was like a really amazing person and was interested in doing conscious parenting coaching. She wanted to be able to talk about it in this extremely raw and transparent way, but she always had this thing where she was always holding back a little bit because she was a responsible, fantastic mom. We did a cycle of coaching to try to figure out how to make this work for her and how to build a business around it that felt in alignment in her life.
What we discovered after several rounds of coaching and a lot of soul searching was that there was an inherent conflict. She wanted to put out a message around conscious parenting and putting your kids first. That felt like it was in conflict with being a, you know, mom, blogger, coach type, where she was going to have to use examples from her own life, using her children, in her relationship, and her family dynamics, as a lens to teach through. She realized that she didn’t want to do that. That wasn’t okay with her stakeholders. That wasn’t okay with the person who she most wanted to be, which was a really fantastic mom. I coached her out of doing business. I coached her out of her idea and helped her be at peace with not doing it. Sometimes, that’s the right answer, you guys.
Sometimes, being in business is not the right thing for the people in your life. If they truly matter to you as much as you say they do, you have to be ready to face that. You have to be ready to put them first. Before your business, because frankly, your business is just fucking money. It is just money at the end of the day. It is just business, and it’s not personal when it comes to this. I hate that phrase in the context it’s usually used in, but in this one, it’s true. If your business could endanger your personal life, DON’T FUCKING DO IT. Okay?
Don’t do it. There’s a lot of things you can do in life. You have a lot of skills. You’re creative, you’re interesting. There’s a lot of other things you can do. Get creative. Figure out a way to do whatever matters to you in a way that’s not going to harm the people who love you, support you, and who you love and support back.
If you are lost and trying to figure out what all this means, please feel free to reach out to me. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All right, everybody, talk to you all soon. Have a great day. Bye.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. For more information, visit www.thegood business.co or www.yourlifesworkshop.com.
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