Hey there, my fabulous listener, welcome to episode 166 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
Thank you for lending me your ears today – I know you have lots of choices, so I sincerely appreciate me being one of them!
If you’re enjoying this podcast – I’d love to you take a screenshot and share it on your socials and tag me in it. How cool would that be!
Don’t forget you can get the show notes for this podcast at www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/166
As Christmas gets closer, I’d love you to consider supporting rural and regional small businesses this year. Spend With Us – www.spendwithus.com.au supports over 1300 of them and I know they’d love your sales as they head into another peak season.
If you’re already done with your shopping or Christmas isn’t your thing, still visit the marketplace or refer to some family and friends. Think Rural this Christmas.
This episode is about my failings. I really wanted to do this episode as I feel the messages are SO important, especially as we aren’t too far from another year starting.
For some, that means a fresh start or looking at what worked and what didn’t.
But I didn’t want to end the year on a bad note – so thought I’d better get this episode out before the year completely closed in on me.
I’ve talked a little bit lately about what mistakes I have made in business so far. And although there’s plenty, there’s two in particular that I thought you might see yourself in.
So, that’s why I wanted to share.
The first big mistake I made, which looking back was HUGE, was about brand building.
As you may or may not know, before founding Social Media and Marketing Australia, I worked in a partnership with another marketer in Melbourne.
He taught marketing, I taught social media.
I also did our social media marketing for that business.
It was a very successful business at the time.
The social media consisted of LinkedIn, Facebook and Facebook group mostly.
We also wrote blogs every week.
The mistake I made was that I built that business brand and I built my business partner’s personal brand.
I did NOT build my own brand.
I know why – I know exactly why. Because I was little Jenn Donovan who lived on a farm and felt that she didn’t have the knowledge or power for anyone to listen to.
I didn’t like videos or showing up for my audience. I did show up a lot for my inner circle members, they knew me well and I had started doing speaking as well.
But I felt small and that I had nothing to offer.
My fellow marketing partner tried to nudge me several times, saying I need to build my brand too – especially on LinkedIn.
But I resisted.
So, when that partnership came to a grinding halt in mid-November 2018, I found myself without a business and without a brand.
So, I started from zero.
I guess we all start from zero at some stage. No followers, no one on our email list, no one in our Facebook group.
If I had my time again, I would have 130% built a brand around Jenn Donovan, as well as the other entities, but would have given myself the opportunity to build rather than hide in the corner or hide behind the brand.
So many small business owners are doing what I did. Hiding behind their logo, their products, rather than showing up for their audience.
I think this is why I’m so passionate about human to human marketing because I’ve seen how much easier business is if you have a brand, if you have a community rather than just an audience if you show up for those who want to know like and trust you.
So if you’re NOT building your brand around you – but simply around your products or that logo you have, then please, take it from someone who knows, who’s been there, done that, you will regret it. At some stage, you will look back and realise it’s a thing you should have done.
Make 2022 the year you brand you in your business.
Pinky swear? You’ll love me for the lesson when you see the results.
So that’s one thing I have done wrong – one huge thing.
The second thing is trusting people rather than trusting my gut.
Now, hand on heart honesty here, I don’t think I have conquered this one, I am pretty sure I still do it in some ways and probably always will.
But my amazing Buy From a Bush Business community, my Facebook group with 347,000 members, I almost gave up early in 2020.
I almost gave up because I didn’t listen to my gut. I was tired, exhausted, out of my depth, somewhat desperate perhaps and ignore all the signs.
This is probably just one example of being “too trusting” there’s plenty more, but this one stung. Stung enough to still have an impact on my business decisions today.
I’m not going to give all the details, there’s just not enough time basically!
But here’s the basics. In October 2019 I created a Facebook group that quickly went viral and grow beyond anything I could have imagined when I first started.
It quickly became overwhelming, with kids, farms, harvest, school, my paying job (because the Facebook group is free marketing!) so 2 ladies popped out of the woodwork and asked if I needed help admining the group.
I did. I SO did.
So, I paid them to help me monitor my free Facebook group. This was about January 2020.
They were so helpful. Enabled me to contain the number of hours I was spending and allowed me to concentrate a little more on my paying business.
Things started to go wrong. A bad attitude here, a snide comment there, a few things that weren’t me – did fit into my values.
People reached out and told me of their history with my admins, never very good, which I ignored.
Because one of my personal values is to never judge someone by someone else’s judgement. You do something to me, I’ll judge you based on that, not what someone else has said.
To cut a long story short, I became exhausted and overwhelmed serving all these small business owners in my free Facebook group for free and decided that I would give it to my admins who’d been helping me.
I had transferred the business name, the domain name and was waiting on a few loose ends before exiting forever out of the group.
I trusted these ladies would carry on this legacy of supporting rural and regional small business.
At the 11th hour, I was thrown into a messenger chat by mistake by the admins who weren’t pleasant – let’s just leave it at that.
All those things people had warned me about, that I had ignored, could no longer be ignored, it was all written there in black and white.
These humans were NOT good humans and they were NOT the kind of people I thought they were.
They were, sorry to say, vile.
So at the 11th hour, I sent them packing, got back the domain and continued on with the Facebook group.
I am enormously thankful for that and that error at the 11th hour on their behalf.
I soon worked out, in the next 10 or so days, it wasn’t the group that was overwhelming me or exhausting me, it was them. It was the out of alignment of our personal and business values that was stressing me to the point I’d never been stressed before.
So the mistake was I was too trusting, ignored what my gut was telling me and basically couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
The business lesson is due your due diligence. Sometimes a lifesaver appearing isn’t what it seems, sometimes your absolutely desperateness clouds your judgement, know your business values and stick to them and lastly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed and like you can’t handle anything more, take a step back and really assess what’s making you feel that way. Perhaps it’s not what you think that’s stressing you – it could be something completely different.
But you need to give yourself that space to know the difference.
This podcast has been a little hard to record.
Some of the accompanying thoughts have really brought up some bad memories and I am also a little nervous to be sharing such intimate stories/lessons with you – in case you judge me.
But if you do, that’s ok, we’ll either be better friends or not friends afterwards. That’s the power of telling your story.
As I said, I’ve learnt many lessons in business and have made hundreds, I’m sure, mistakes. These are just two big ones that impacted my business enormously.
Without them I would be in a different place, maybe not even the same person I am today because failing doesn’t make us bad at what we do, it’s giving up lessons to ensure we keep moving towards those goals we have.
So, that’s me for episode 166. Not sure if I should say I hope you enjoyed it or not – but perhaps my hope for you is that you reflect on your business, your values, your path forward and my big mistakes can ensure you don’t make them as well!
See you next week on the podcast for episode 167. But in the meantime, let’s hang out on social and get social on social – you’ll find me on Instagram, Facebook and my fav LinkedIn.
But whatever you do,
……..remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!