The endless dissemination of good news on social media is just too exhausting/nauseating to keep up.
My new business, Frame Again, has started much slower than I thought it would and we’ve missed every target we had so far (by miles). There. I’ve said it. I’ll tweet this article. And I’ll be at peace.
I love selling things, I love good news and I’m an enthusiast in general but there’s something about social media that doesn’t sit comfortably with me. The torrent of endless promotions, self-promotion, good news and success I’m spouting just doesn’t ring true. I’m sure an expert will tell me that it’s because I missed the point and that social media is not meant for ‘selling’ but meant to be a discussion and engagement opportunity for a network of people interested in your progress and opinions. That would probably make more sense.
With a new business based around a product you think people will love at a price point you think they’ll pay, it’s hard not to just want to hammer out the ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’ message, adding in a ‘Look how many everyone else is buying!’ and a ‘get in quick before they run out!’. They aren’t running out.
Business is hard, and takes ages to be successful. This business has been really tough to start, more expensive than I thought and hindered by stupid misjudgments I’ve made along the way (together with my equally culpable business partner, Joe. Hi Joe. Sorry Joe.).
I have come to hate the stories of people who got rich quick – I hope it’s not because I’m jealous (I would love to get rich quick so it might be) but more because the dissemination of those stories makes you feel like if it’s not working early, something isn’t right and maybe it’s not going to work at all – that maybe you should give up. Sometimes it’s a bad business and you should (I’ve been there) but it’s also sometimes the case that your business can work, you’re just gonna have to sweat a lot longer and a lot harder than you’d thought/planned/hoped.
And yet from our social media profile all you would see is good news, flash sales, prizes and taglines. I don’t have a problem with any of it, except it feels a little false and I just don’t like it.
I heard that a lot of young people are struggling because it looks like everyone else is having so much fun all the time, while some of the time they just feel sad and lonely. The sense that they are missing out or ‘behind’ everyone else makes is making them feel bad about themselves. I feel it every time I see a new business telling everyone about how well they are doing. It’s not that I don’t want them to do well (I love business and respect entrepreneurs and want others to be successful – I really really do), but I can’t stop it making me feel like I’m doing badly. It’s not about them, it’s about me – turns out my emotional maturity and insecurity levels haven’t really improved since I was 15.
So, if you know anyone having a tough time getting their business going who hates themselves for feeling worse the more others are successful, please feel free to share this just in case hearing how much I’m struggling makes them feel better. I realise how screwed up that sounds, but it’s not a rational thing, just an emotional reality for a lot of people.
I love my business and have as much faith as I can my product, my service and the people involved in it. I’m intent on making it a success. It’s just a lot harder than I thought it’d be and felt the need to punctuate the good news blasts with some truth, before I feel a bit like a fraud.
Jake Hayman is a co-founder of Frame Again (www.frameagain.com). Other financially unsuccessful organisations he’s founded include The Social Investment Consultancy (www.tsiconsultancy.com) and Future First (www.futurefirst.org.uk).