Why I value transparency as a solopreneur

A terrifying admission in our digital age that I am 100 percent dedicated to.

Everything is online. Literally everything.

If you want to, you could scroll back on my Facebook page to see what I ate for dinner on November 7, 2010. You could keep scrolling back to the winter of 2008 to find the exact date I first logged in. I didn't upload a profile picture for a year because I was told that it wasn't safe to post photos of yourself online (selfies weren't a thing yet). There is a complete timeline events of my life soaring through cyberspace that expands over ten years.

I decided that's okay. Recently, I decided to embrace transparency in all aspects of my life: including my ventures as a solopreneur.

Photo by Jill Clark for Transparency Blog.jpeg

And that doesn't make me any less professional than others.

In a world of social media, it's easy to get caught up with what others think is right and wrong.

Since the dawn of dial-up, we have been told to watch what we put online. Which is true—to an extent. But there's a problem. Our obsessions with being careful has created social feeds that are only a highlight reel of our lives. I don't know about you, but I appreciate my lows and my highs.

The nitty-gritty philosophy of that statement is for another day. For now, I'll settle with sharing the highs and lows of my own life with my online community.

Foster connections and Forget the rules

Leading up to my mission to embrace transparency, I decided to consciously reject everyone else's rules. I show up online as I am. I can be professional, but personable. I can create content that inspires while showing multiple facets of myself. I can share when I am happy and when I am sad because we can learn something when we accept the human condition. I'm a storyteller writing the story I live each day, hoping to connect with others who feel like me. Each morning brings new challenges to overcome. New heartbreaks attached to new successes.

How can we promise meaningful connections without flaunting the good with the bad?

Photo by Jill Clark in Calgary, Alberta.jpeg

Take these photos. I took them myself a few weeks ago, on October 16. I was having a rough day. Nothing in particular happened to ruin my day, but I was riding through one of the lower lows of solopreneurship. After feeling sorry for myself, feeling fearful of the future, and finally checking off most of my work for the day, I turned off to go outside.

Create more than a highlight reel

When I got home, I wrote something. Then I felt it was necessary to share what I wrote on my Instagram. Not because it fit my grid, but because I wanted to connect. I wanted to see if anyone else felt the same. I wanted to be transparent with my community about my day.

Today, the imp on my shoulder was louder than most days. Usually he only whispers, but today he bellowed his song he titled "Doubt." He questioned my career choice, my time management, my skill. He told me I would be better off finding a "real job." Go to work 9 to 5; Monday to Friday; 173.33 hours per month; 260 days a year like the average Canadian.

I don't feel average though. I've always felt a little weird. Not quite fitting into the mould I thought I should fit into. A little too loud. A little too quiet.

To make a mould is to form an object with a particular finished shape out of an easily manipulated material, and I've never considered myself easily manipulated. Strong minded. Often foolishly stubborn. Willing to learn (only if I feel like it though--hello Gemini twins who occupy opposing halves of my mind). Never a particular shape.

I used to feel uncomfortable about my weirdness. I tried to blend in. When I learned to let the weirdness lead it led me to here. Letting my weirdness lead the way let my mind turn off my computer screen a little earlier today. The weirdness packed my camera and my pup and drove the 13 minutes to the park where I set up shop in the grass with the bugs and the sunset.

Sure, I probably looked a little weird playing in the grass like a child pretending it's fire that feels lukewarm to only my fingers, but those few minutes I spent outside this evening will fuel my creativity tomorrow. Maybe even into the next day if I'm lucky. And now that I'm home, curled up on the couch reflecting on the day, I've realized it's comfortably quiet again.

And afterwards, I felt better. I felt content, loved, and inspired. I believe it's because I was brave enough to showcase my faults alongside my triumphs.

Because I'm being honest here—that blur to the left of the shot is my dog digging holes. And I'm still picking burrs off the tassels on that shawl.

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