Being your own boss is growing in popularity with the ease the internet provides in running your own cloud-based business. There's also a great deal of advice on how to go about it.
I'm young and new to business for the most part. At least in terms of running my own. I have learned a lot and still have so much to learn since starting my blog in 2012 and my business in October 2016. I'm not naturally business minded and I fear being business ignorant. The struggle to find the happy medium in the advice I receive from the public is very real to me. If you're a blogger or have started your own business I'm sure you know what I mean.
The internet is both helpful and intimidating with its information. I love the fact that I can find information for all of my business related questions. Without this informative outlet I wouldn't have the business I have today. And yet in my ignorance of the proper way to run a business do I believe everything I read? Sorting through the advice can be a headache.
An Information Overload
In my attempts at bettering my blog I've changed a lot and endured much struggle. While doing research on the subject the pressure to do the right thing (i.e. what the public wanted to see) was overwhelming. I constantly heard things like --
"Make sure your blog appearance is visually appealing."
"Your blog should engage readers to stay past the 30 second marker."
"Write interesting content, things people will want to read."
"Take professional pictures."
"Find your particular niche."
"Get involved in blogging communities," and etc.
All of which is very good advice but can easily make you forget your true interest and the reason you started your blog in the first place.
The same goes for starting your own business. Loads of advice that can weigh you down with a feeling of desperation and impossibility. The recurring question I have asked myself over this time has been, "What is good business sense and what is merely public preference?" After reading all of this advice I began questioning myself, concluding that maybe I don't have the commitment necessary to run my own business. Maybe I am not "business" enough for the job.
The problem is, they are right.
Writing merely to please yourself may be exactly what you need to relax and unwind but if you want a prosperous blog with a growing following you will need to write about things that interest the general public or at least a large percentage.
Go With The FlowI'm not normally one to follow the fads or go with the flow. Right now a great majority of the public are obsessed with fantasy and sci-fi, and though I have an occasional interest in the genre myself, I will not change my writing style to please the public, even if I know it would be more socially acceptable.
On Etsy some of the most popular stores are the one's that sell copyright branded products. They are literally disrespecting the owners copyright and selling products with a name and elements that do not belong to them. (For example, Disney and Marvel themed products). These stores make 1,000's of sales at the cost of others, but until the corporation decides to crack down on this these businesses flourish. It's what the public wants, regardless of who suffers.
What The Public WantsWhen you witness the prosperity of these people doing what the public wants to see, read, or buy you can only surmise that pleasing the public is good business sense. So the question is, can I be me, with my standards and my interests, and still have a prosperous business and blog? Do I adjust my interests and write on topics that are currently in vogue? Do I avoid those topics I am passionate about because "no one" wants to read them? Although others may do it, I will not infringe on the copyright's of others not matter how long they have been getting by with it. Breaking the law is harmful to the public and, more importantly, dishonoring to God.
But aside from obviously breaking the law, would it be good business for me to sell fad products because that is what people want? Or am I right in only selling what I want to sell?
Do I lose my identity for the sake of "good business" or do I risk never making it in the business world by following my dreams? Is this a question of "conform or lose out?"
Coming to a PointThe fact of the matter is, people will always encourage you to conform to the fads. They chant, "Be yourself," and yet define for you what "Being yourself" looks like. This is what makes it hard for people like me to sift out the truth from popular belief.
Whether it is good business or not, I still cannot say. I am still new to business and have a lot to figure out. But when it is a question of compromising who you are or who God wants you to be, there really is no doubt as to the answer.
I still don't know what business moves would be best for my shop, or whether my writing really interests anyone, and that is disheartening. But the beautiful thing is, God knows my future and He gave me my passions. He holds my future in His hands and because He loves me, I know I can expect something great beyond what I could ever choose for myself. I have to wait and see what His idea of prosperous means for me.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." -- Romans 12:2 NIV