Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt #10: Playing the Dangerous Comparison Game on Social Media

BusinessMarketing & Advertising

  • Author Susan Friesen
  • Published February 9, 2021
  • Word count 1,354

Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt #10

The Truth Behind the Social Media Gurus They Don’t Want You to Know

I’m sure we’ve all done it. Compared ourselves to the seemingly successful people that showcase their achievements on social media.

But…it sure can be a dangerous slippery slope…
You start to question yourself.
Wonder if you’re doing the right thing.
Second guessing your business and marketing strategies and thinking the grass is definitely greener on that other side of the fence.

Then the snowball builds and starts to affect how you show up in your business.
You’d rather be doing household chores than facing your to-do list.
You lose your enthusiasm for building a business at all.

You begin to think of yourself as a failure. Not worthy of success. Something must be wrong with you. Why even bother?

All because you compared yourself to the fairy tale poster children of success on social media.

The truth is every business owner has their trials and tribulations.

They all struggle in one form or another.

They’re just not letting you see that darker part of running a business.

They want you to see nothing but their successes so your impression of them is always going to be favourable.

Heck, I certainly don’t air my dirty laundry! And it’s not because I want to hide any truths from you, or be authentically transparent, it’s because it really isn’t newsworthy.

It isn’t newsworthy because it’s common.

Building a business has its ups and downs.

We all have challenging clients who won’t pay their invoices for services rendered or products received.

We all have challenges with people not showing up for scheduled appointments and ghosting us afterwards.

We all have difficulties hiring new team members, struggling to find the perfect balance between skill, enthusiasm and being in alignment with our values.

And yes, I do question myself often especially in the hiring department: Am I asking the right questions? Am I vetting deep enough to be able to foreshadow what lies ahead if I hire this person? Am I paying enough to keep them motivated to stay? Am I communicating in a way that inspires them to want to do an exceptional job with every task assigned? The list goes on.

But I don’t air these questions on social media. It’s simply not something I want to bring up and receive hundreds of opinions from people who don’t know anything about our business model and situation.

I have, however, consulted HR professionals because this is their area of expertise!

My point in all of this is to caution you against comparing yourself with others on social media.

You will never get the full story of what they are going through just from reading their posts. Even the ones who say they are being fully transparent? Trust me, they’re not sharing everything.

At the end of the day, every business owner is trying to operate a business and make enough profit to be sustainable. They aren’t going to air their dirty laundry for all to judge.

In fact, there are some “gurus” out there who are downright misleading in what they reveal on social media. I know because some of them have hired us to work with them. And it wasn’t pleasant.

They present a false visage of being wealthy, living the high life, having a successful business that allows them to travel often and enjoy the epitome of what an entrepreneur aspired to be.

But that’s not what’s really going on.

From my experience of working with such gurus:

• They always want to pay less than my going rate, citing it should be a privilege to work with them and the exposure alone will get me more clients. Not.

• They rarely pay their invoices on time. Some don’t pay for months. Some end up filing for bankruptcy and don’t pay at all.

• They often operate on a “launch” business model where it’s feast or famine. They spend a lot of money launching a new product or program and rely on its success to be able to pay the pile of bills that were racked up. If it was successful, they happily pay and feel good about their generosity. If the launch did not yield their desired results, then they won’t pay their bills and blame everything and everyone else but themselves for it.

And all through this, they are boasting on social media about their latest accomplishment and offering “wise” advice on how to operate a successful business.

Now not everyone is as sinister as what I just described. There are others who appear to have amazing, successful businesses and most likely they do!

But comparing yourself to them is also an exercise in futility because:

• They are not revealing all of the hard work it took them to get to this point of success. They can’t possibly do this, or it would be a full time job just reporting in!

• They have spent countless hours putting in the hard work long before they could call their business successful. It didn’t happen overnight for them nor should you think it should for you.

• They have a team that supports them. Whether it’s a trusted advisor, employees, and other resources in specific areas of expertise, they are not building a successful business all by themselves. I guarantee it.

So I caution you please, before you start comparing your business to someone else’s, realize you do not know the whole story. You do not know the trials and tribulations they’ve gone through, the lawsuits they might be facing, the threat of bankruptcy nipping at their heals or anything else they are choosing not to disclose on social media.

But what you can do is:

• Be in competition with yourself. That’s how I have always operated. Each day I ask how I can be more efficient? What can I do to attract more of our ideal clients? How can I serve my team so they feel valued? What do I need to do today to ensure all bills are paid?(Remember I’m theover-achieving badge earner, it’s in my DNA to be competitive and the best competitor is myself.)

• Have a plan. Running a business without doing your due diligence and planning first is like building on a foundation of quicksand. Make sure your business vision is viable by having a business and marketing plan in place that demonstrates your vision is also profitable.

• Spend wisely. It’s overwhelming how many choices there are today when it comes to setting up your business systems. There are dozens of newsletter service providers, hundreds of social media management systems, thousands of web hosts and on and on and on. Before jumping into what appears to be an amazing deal, ask someone who knows that space first to get qualified insights based on your individual needs.

• Don’t try to do it alone. You will be setting yourself up for disappointment if you do. The more you try to do things that are outside of your area of expertise, the longer and more costly it will be for you to reach your business goals. And if you’re thinking you’ll spend some money now to learn what you need to know, that’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. (BTW, often it’s these gurus who are selling these programs on how to build a successful business that I referenced above.)

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into running a business. And the last thing you need is to get disenchanted with all the positive posts and grandiose imagery you see on social media.

Sure, use that as inspiration for you if that’s what you want to attain, but know there’s always more lurking behind the curtain that will never be revealed. Right Wizard of Oz fans?

To your business success,


Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

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