I don't think it would come as a surprise to say it’s hard building a creative business with so much social media at our fingertips. While social media can be an incredible tool to share beauty and inspiration with one another, it can also become a stumbling block when it comes to comparison and the genesis of unique ideas.
I’m an Enneagram 2 separated by one point from an Enneagram 1.
For those of you unfamiliar with Enneagram: Type 2: helper/people-pleaser, Type 1: perfectionist/idealist
We Type 2s thrive on being helpful to others, but a big component of this is knowing we are being of service to others, A.K.A feedback. Something I discovered early on is there is little feedback for the budding entrepreneur. This is certainly something I’ve had to come to grips with in order to maintain motivation to keep pushing my business forward.
The comparison game is a regular struggle, but I’ve made deliberate daily decisions when it comes to social media to help mitigate feelings of inadequacy through comparison.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that I believe are universally helpful to creative entrepreneurs.
Don’t compare your first chapter to someone’s 10th chapter. No, I didn’t come up with this and I’ve heard multiple versions over the years but it rings true every time. While drawing creative inspiration can be a good thing from others in your industry, it needs to remain just that, inspiration. I LOVE the work of Katie at Ponderosa & Thyme. I love her spirit, her beautiful meditations, her wisdom, her ease of interaction with her followers. As much as I love her work and might wish to interact with others as she does, I am not Katie. I can’t be. I never will be. But I can absolutely appreciate what she offers the floral community and the ways in which she has contributed to the popularity of the floral movement in recent years. And, I can also be inspired by her journey and her authenticity. This brings me to #2.
Find something specific to admire about those who inspire you. If you choose to follow others in your field, do not look at the whole of their social feed. I find that looking at image after image of perfectly curated, hard-to-source blooms and $20,000 weddings has a way of making my own work seem pale in comparison. When you break down a feed into single images, however, you can analyze specific aspects of someone else’s work that moves you. Is it the flowers or the lighting of the photo that you are finding appealing? Is it the bouquet style or the coloring? Is it a specific bloom or the overall aesthetic? When you’re able to break down a feed into a single image, it tends to help you compare less, analyze more and ultimately discern your own brand preferences. This is where the comparison game begins to break down and personal growth begins.
You don’t have to follow everyone in your field on social media. I tend to be selective with the amount of people I follow on social media that do exactly what I do. Sometimes it’s hard to have a unique idea when your feed is inundated with SO MUCH BEAUTY! Seriously, guys, the number of insanely talented floral designers throughout the world is phenomenal. I can’t scroll through one small section of Pinterest without finding 20 new designers with gorgeous creations I wish were my own. I simply can’t follow them all and I can’t grow in my own design creativity if my head is full of their innovations leaving little room for my own. So, I limit which images come to me automatically. Sometimes, I change up who I’m following or I’ll go check in on a page of someone I admire from time to time, but may not see religiously. Nurturing your own creativity, paying attention to your personal limits and knowing what type of self-care your personality requires are all key to success as an entrepreneur.
Interact with those you admire. This is a big one, friends. Something that really makes those insanely well-known, successful, inspiring businesses not feel so out of reach is interacting with the person behind the brand. While there are certainly going to be people within your creative field that do not value community with one another, for the most part, the floral community is blessed by incredibly warm, giving and encouraging creatives. I am constantly blown away at how quick our floral industry veterans are to give a quick tip, share their experiences, their resources, their unique design techniques, etc. The sharing sentiment is perhaps most evident to me by how quickly the floral community has taken to the “communityovercompetition” hashtag. It seems very unique for an entire industry to value so highly this shared knowledge and interaction.
Celebrate the accomplishments of others. There’s nothing more humbling than sharing in the joy of others’ successes. It’s a good practice for anyone but especially important to the budding entrepreneur. Here are four reasons to celebrate others’ accomplishments:
1. It’s a good thing to be genuinely happy for others in their success.
2. Kind words never hurt anyone.
3. This shouldn’t be your main motivation, but sharing in others’ joys has a way of making them want to share in yours too. Remember, we are building a community!
4. I find when I’m speaking words of love and kindness, I, in turn, feel love and kindness. Celebrating others is good for the soul.
There you have it, my five steps to stop comparing and start building a creative community. I hope you find these words helpful and encouraging whether you are continuing your entrepreneurial journey or even if you simply struggle comparing your personal life to that of others through social media.
Last notes, I wanted to share a couple of the individuals in my own field that I do follow and find incredibly inspiring for either how they interact with their followers, the uniqueness they bring to the floral industry, or the kindness they demonstrate within the floral community.
I’ve already shared Katie, @PonderosaandThyme. Katie captures her audience through her authenticity, infectious laughter, and of course, her insanely beautiful designs.
Alisa @ColorTheoryCollective is insanely talented when it comes to color blending. Seriously, I think she is my most visited, most liked, individual on Instagram. Her designs make me swoon every time. If I ever were to go back and choose one florists to do my wedding flowers, I’d choose Alisa every time. Her designs just speak to my soul.
Bergen over @FireandBlooms always appeals to my natural earthy wild side. When I think about my dream design aesthetic I think about frolicking through fields of wildflowers and Bergen’s IG feed is all these frolicking dreams come true. Even better, her business is a marriage of two of my favorite things, flowers and pottery. I mean, tell me that isn’t genius?
Christin and Siobhan @ClementineBotanicalArt are local Austin florists and truly talented artists. Every single design seriously looks like a piece of art. Their name so perfectly captures the aesthetic of their designs and I’m forever in love with their branding and logo. You have to check out their logo! I seriously want all the freelancing opportunities possible with these talented ladies.
There are so many others I find inspiring but I’ll have to create a larger florist roundup for you all another time. For now, keep pushing forward, keep loving on one another, keep seeking inspiration and community and leave the competition BS behind.