Small Business & The Fear Of Putting Yourself Out There…
By Kerry at Paper Joy (creator of happy
& bright art prints)
Like any small business owner I am in the bewildering battlefield of trying to get more exposure for my products. I am constantly trying to think of ways that could boost my engagement and get my products under more people’s noses in a way that is genuine and not damaging to my brand. I know spammy instagram posts are just not gonna cut it ‘Hello buy my product, thanks, goodbye’. Facebook is a minefield of self-doubt when your latest post gets zero interaction and falls into the abyss that is where small businesses go to die on social media. RIP me.
We all know conversion rates are low (in the UK retail/ecommerce conversion rates are 2.5% on average), so getting the footfall in the first place to then make the sale is like trading in gold dust.
Getting yourself out there is the essential thing; small businesses have to be savvy in order to be seen amongst the big boy retailers. Talking about your product, showing your product, sharing the process of how you made it or why you made it is what we need to do in order to garner the right kind of exposure. Be that blog posts, social media posts, dare I say it – speaking face to face with other humans. Magazine editorials are always keen to sell a story of how a product is produced or whose hands actually produced it, it’s the biggest weapon we’ve got in our (very small) arsenal against the big boys – we are personable. Think about it, what makes someone want to buy from you? If they relate, if they ‘get’ the product or you, if it resonates with them, then they’re sold.
The thing is, you are your brand. It’s scary putting your products out there because…you are those products. Putting yourself out there opens you up to criticism and judgment. No less from the keyboard warriors who have no problem in throwing shade your way if they don’t like what they see ‘Susan *dog profile picture* ‘This is vile, give up now’… say that to my face Susan… It’s a terrifying assault course of worrying whether people are actually going to like your products if you try to get yourself some much needed exposure.
My heart sinks when I see a new review pop up because I’m petrified someone has something bad to say about my products. I know that if I sold more products, I’d get more feedback and inevitably I’d get some negative response. You just can’t please everyone but the fear of getting negative feedback holds us all back from putting ourselves out there more.
We all flourish in the warmness of a positive review, 10 seconds of ‘ahh that’s lovely’. Get hit by a negative review and que 10 days of morning for what was your self-confidence.
So, in order to drive more traffic to our products we have to be brave and peak out from behind the cosy sanctuary of our blissful creative bubbles. A scary thought because no one likes being criticized, no one wants to hear negative things about themselves, much less about something they’ve created and poured their souls into, in the vain hope that someone somewhere will like it enough to hand over their cash.
Stuck in this self doubting ‘ohhh please just like my product and don’t say anything mean about it’ pit. The whole reason we create in the first place is to express ourselves. What if you express yourself, make yourself truly vulnerable, open up to the general public AND they don’t like it. Sign me up to the psych ward now because my sensitive soul just couldn’t take the harsh reality that people don’t like me or my products. Of course this is looking at things with a very pessimistic view, in reality you WILL find your tribe.
It’s a catch 22 really; you design and create because you want to make some sort of connection with The World. But you fear no one will get your connection. Pity party for one. The only solution is to start drinking gin and not give two hoots about the critics. I’m not so sure about the gin part, but us small businesses need to find some self-confidence and shout about ourselves a bit more. I know I need to do it more. Let’s turn those ‘stick your head in the sand’ attitudes into ‘beast mode’ attitudes. You’re awesome and amazing and you need to believe in yourself – I type that as much for me as for anyone caring to read this far. I’m going to start writing blogs, maybe I’ll get brave and do videos! This is just a rambling way of saying I know I need to put myself out there, but also I’m terrified of putting myself out there. Ya feel me?