Hey Freelancers! Stop Being a Bully

Woman wearing boxing gloves and punch a man in the faceI’ve noticed an annoying habit amongst my fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs: bullying. It usually starts as a Facebook post disguised as a moment of reflection but that is actually just a routine humble-brag. Some common introductions used include, “I just think it’s really funny how…” or “I’m so glad that I’m not…”

Some people will take the bait and reply to the post, opening themselves up to an absolutely bizarre attack in which they are both accused of being lazy while also being aggressively invited to “be their own boss.”

There are a couple things that might be happening here:

  • Misery Loves Company
    Being self-employed, especially if you are working from home, can be a very lonely and isolated existence. If you find yourself trying to get any and everyone to join you on your new journey, it may be because you are craving some interaction.
    Look into getting a membership at a co-working space.
  • I Know What’s Good for You
    Perhaps the opposite is true. You are actually VERY happy and super content in your new career. So your natural reaction is to want EVERYONE to feel the way you do.
    One problem… you aren’t everyone.
    Entrepreneurship, small business ownership, freelancing, and self-employment are NOT for everyone. It takes a very specific personality to handle the pressure of this path plus the skill set needed for whatever service their business will provide.
  • Secretly Feeling Insecure
    It’s a sad reality, but sometimes people get tough and rough with others as a way to build themselves up. Think about what critiques you push onto your peers and ask yourself whether or not you are actually talking about yourself. If you catch yourself projecting your anxieties onto other people, it might be time to shut your mouth and consider putting all that drama into a journal instead.
  • You are REALLY bad at marketing
    If you are constantly talking about your business venture on your personal social media channels but none of your family and friends are supporting you, it can be easy to get angry and frustrated. Especially if you see them openly supporting other businesses that are in direct competition with you. (Image you bake decorative cakes and you see that your cousin just got a cake from their local supermarket’s bakery for her son’s birthday party. Ouch.) When this happens, it’s easy to lash out at your personal network and angrily demand their support. Clearly, this isn’t the best way to get people to support you in the future. It’s considered a marketing tactic by only the most emotional and desperate of business owners. Stop doing that.
    Instead, consider that your family and friends are NOT in your target demographic and that you need to do more work to reach the right people.

In general, I’m completely against people using their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as marketing platforms. It is really difficult to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as being super pyramid or MLM-ish. And even when done properly, you are often speaking to the wrong people anyway. If your target market is “Everyone!” then you need to take a step back and rethink why you would believe such a crazy thing.

Have you ever caught yourself being a bully on social media? How did you reel it in?

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