How Facebook fakery almost made me quit my business (and how to tell if it’s affecting you)

06/02/2016 03:35 am ET Updated Jun 02, 2016

‘Get the blueprint for 6-figure success!’

‘Learn how I went from being broke to living a millionaire lifestyle with this one simple trick.’

‘Your only limit is you.’

These are the kind of posts that relentlessly fill most small business owners’ Facebook feeds every day. From sponsored ads promising instant wealth, to stealth boast posts in groups, to ‘inspirational’ quotes with a sub-text that you should be doing more, we are bombarded with messages that tell us that we’re not successful enough.

It starts to eat away at your self-esteem and mental health, particularly as many entrepreneurs work on their own.

I know, because it has happened to me. It almost made me quit my business. When you are working all hours to grow a business, it can be seriously disheartening to see constant tales of other people’s success or some miracle formula that will turn your business into a laptop lifestyle in Bali.

And it’s not just me. I’ve asked fellow solopreneurs how they felt about it. 40% of those I asked said that Facebook has made them feel depressed or down in some way. 70% said that Facebook makes them compare themselves to other businesses. 80% said they felt that had to put on a successful façade at times on Facebook, even if they didn’t feel successful.

But here’s the thing you need to realise:

Much of what you see on Facebook is fake. We’ve known this for a while looking at our friends’ perfectly curated holiday snaps, but it’s even worse in the business space. Sure they may be earning 6-figures, but is that turnover or is it profit? Is it even true? Perhaps they’ve been doing this for years and have only made it now. Or perhaps they’re part of the 80% who are putting on a successful façade, when in truth, they are anything but.

People are increasingly sceptical by what they see on Facebook and other social media. When I asked entrepreneurs what they felt when they saw a Facebook ad promising instant wealth or business success, 57% said they felt angry and called ‘bullshit’, 28% were cautious and 15% said it made them depressed. Not a single person said they felt inspired by ads like these.

My advice?

  • Talk to other solopreneurs face-to-face in a small group or one-on-one to get a more realistic view.

  • Escape your office.

  • Turn off Facebook and only check in occasionally

  • If you need to stay on Facebook, find groups that match your thinking and leave those that push the fakery

  • Click the ‘Hide Ads – see fewer ads like this’ button for those that trigger insecurities

  • Use your honesty – not faux honesty - as a business differentiator. It will make you stand out. The more real you are, the more people you attract

  • Tell yourself: I am enough. And believe it.

How to tell if Facebook is affecting you

  • You wake up anxious most mornings

  • You feel like you’re never done with everything you should be doing

  • You put off doing things that will actually make you money in favour of learning about the next big thing

  • You don’t do certain things because you see other people doing the same things seemingly better

  • You compare yourself to others and start to second guess your abilities

  • You feel like a fraud

  • You start to look for a job and give up the idea of being self-employed

If you’d like to escape the façade and have a real heart to heart with other solopreneurs, look at the Campfire Storytelling Retreat. Sit around a campfire (with marshmallows!), learn, connect and escape the isolation of solopreneurship, http://www.campfirecommunications.co.uk/retreat

 

 

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