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Woman speaking into a megaphone at a protest.

How Activism And Entrepreneurship Go Hand-In-Hand

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Jul. 9 2019, Published 4:29 a.m. ET

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In today’s political climate, it’s hard to stay silent on issues you believe in. You can’t through your Facebook feed without seeing a political story. In a time when it’s so important to share your voice, it can be difficult for a small business owner to feel secure in stating their opinions. I’ve seen several small business owners online refusing to be political because they are afraid of losing customers. I am here to tell you that it is not just okay but vital for you to share your voice.

Your Ideal Client Is Just Like You.

A woman holding up a peace sign with her fingers at a protest.
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In the branding company I co-founded, we tell our clients to develop an ideal client profile. Typically, that person is a lot like them. You start a business because you saw a need in the market or you were trying to fix a problem. You believe that your service or product can help other people just like you. We have our clients create their ideal client profile: their name, age, background, place of birth, current city, education, shopping preferences. A more profound question you could ask is what do they believe in? What does your ideal client value as important? This includes political stances. When you hone in on who your ideal client is and what they believe in, the content you put out should reflect that. If you are heavily involved in immigration or LGBTQIA+ rights, your ideal client should care about those rights as well. When you put yourself out there, you are showing potential clients, with similar beliefs, that you are the person that they want to work with. Patty Lennon, a business consultant based in Connecticut says “you’re also magnetizing your ideal client” when you actively polarize your audience.” People shop emotionally. You are much more likely to get a client who emotionally connects with you because you have publicly announced what you believe in.

As For Those Who Don’t Share Your Beliefs, Ask Yourself This: Do You Actually Want Their Business?

A man with a megaphone wearing a black lives matter t-shirt at a protest.
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The flip side of sharing your thoughts on politics and human rights is you are going to repel people who feel the exact opposite way. This is precisely what you want to do as a small business owner. I hear many people say that they want everyone to buy their product. In actuality, you don’t, especially if you offer a service. For example: If you are a business coach, you can only work with so many people at once and there is only one of you. So why not use your values as a way to narrow down and seek out the people you really want to work with? I know a shop owner in my town who sold Black Lives Matter shirts right at the beginning of the movement. She hung them up in her window and had people come in to tell her that she should keep her political stances to herself. Some refused to shop in her store. She said glad because that’s not money she would want to take anyway. Part of working for yourself means you get to pick and choose who you work with. If someone’s beliefs are wildly different than yours, is that someone you want to do business with?

It Is Important To Share Your Message Responsibly.

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Always research and educate yourself before giving your take on a topic. We’ve all seen people get into fights on the internet. It’s an hourly occurrence on social media. You can absolutely share your viewpoints without it turning into a free for all in the comments. First, think about what you want to share online and phrase it in a meaningful and educational way. When I share something political online, I want people to leave having learned something. I want people to feel empowered to ask questions wanting to learn more. It’s hard to avoid negative topics when talking about politics, but I always say that if you are going to share something negative online, give the reader something hopeful or actionable to do in the end. This will show you as a thought leader, rather than someone yelling their opinions on Facebook. To put it simply: who will people be more likely to want to work with, a leader or a loudmouth?

I believe that activism in entrepreneurship can go hand-in-hand. Taking business and finances in our own hands could be seen as a political act to some. Talking about politics and activism online can be scary for any person. However, if you are coming from an educated and thoughtful place, your insight is more than welcome and could elicit authentic action amongst your following.

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