I have a BA in Communications and spent my career doing exactly what I went to school for: public relations and marketing. When I went out on my own, after working for the private and nonprofit sectors, the trend was to have your website and messaging be in the third person, even if you were a solopreneur. The idea was to look like a firm, with only a small photo of yourself, because that was deemed the most professional.
Then social media hit, and everyone was on the internet with a website, no matter what the industry. And in order to stand out, YOU had to be the BRAND (personality marketing), which meant a lot of photos and information about yourself to convince potential customers why YOUR products and services were better than anyone else’s.
I never enjoyed this part of business, but like any diligent entrepreneur, I did what I needed to do. And although I’m very good at the marketing thing and created great products, it was always uncomfortable doing the whole self-promotion thing. In fact, if I didn’t have a business, I would just be on Instagram to follow home design bloggers.
When I started my advocacy group on Facebook, Land Park Society, which led to running the social media for the Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s re-election campaign, I was the happiest I’ve been in a long time. Not only do I strongly believe in the work Anne Marie’s office does, I like her so much as a person. And I realized, once again, how much I can KILL IT when I’m promoting someone else OR something else outside of myself.
When promoting my business, I was always at a loss as to what to blog about, what to post on social media. And it felt very difficult and exhausting. But when it comes to my group’s advocacy work or helping someone else, that’s when I’m really in my element—it lights me up and even the most difficult part of it doesn’t feel all that difficult.
After making the decision to stop doing marketing and PR, I stripped out over half of my website. Then I kept thinking about what it needed to look like now that my focus had changed, and I decided it doesn’t fucking matter. It can look like whatever I want, with the idea that maybe my writing should be what stands out this time—with only one damn photo of myself. So like any crazy design junkie, I obsessed over fonts and layouts and picked out pieces from 20 different websites to make what I have now—something just for ME.
P.S. And thanks to my bomb ass web guy, Nathan Agin, for putting up with my very detailed requests with expediency and patience. We’ve worked together for a few years now and I can’t recommend him enough. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.