As Pride Month comes to an end, and we continue to watch and engage with the unfolding civil rights era that we are living through, I am reflecting on something I talked about in my Courageous Creative Live series a couple weeks ago.
The week after George Floyd was murdered, I was in a session with my business coach and she said this to me:
“Creative entrepreneurship is freedom. Creative entrepreneurship is activism.”
When she said that, I knew exactly what she meant. It's so easy for us to fall victim to systems that limit us, that we think we have to be a part of to achieve.
We play the game of getting the J.O.B, conforming to the expectations society puts on us, not wanting to rock the boat, be controversial or against the norm.
When issues around systemic oppression are raised, we sometimes stay quiet, unsure about what we *should* say. And we feel helpless because we don't know what we can actually do to help.
These last few weeks in my business I have felt more empowered and impactful than ever in the realm of combatting systemic oppression. I realized that as a small business owner and entrepreneur, I get to create opportunities for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups that amplify their voices and empower their own business and careers.
And, funnily enough, the things that I have done in my business have felt way less time consuming and exhausting than being a keyboard warrior on Facebook...and they have far great impact.
Here are three things you can do in your creative business this week that will support diversity, equity and inclusion in your community:
1. Write a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement (DEI)
If you have explicit messaging on your website and social media pages (and wherever else your business interacts with the public) that explicitly tells your community that you are committed to creating a safe, supportive and equitable environment for all people who want to work with you. The thing about being marginalized is you don't feel comfortable in public spaces/communities (en vivo or virtual) unless you KNOW you are welcome there. Having a DEI statement goes a very long way for marginalized folx who are looking for the help that YOU can give them with your business.
2. Invite BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ experts to collaborate with you.
Seek out folx in your industry who come from marginalized backgrounds to be a guest speaker on a live event you host, do a social media takeover, interview them about their area of expertise or feature their programs or products on your page. An important thing to remember here is you don't want to invite marginalized voices into your space only to talk about their experience of oppression and to educate about systemic injustice, but rather stay focused on their professional expertise. One of the most impactful things we can do to support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people is to amplify their voices using our platform, and literally bringing their voice and their message into our platform does exactly that.
3. Hire BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ experts to help you grow your business.
Need a social media manager? Or a web designer? How about a marketing expert or a contractor to help with a remodel? Investments in businesses that are women and minority-owned are 80% lower than the median investment in business overall. This means that minority-run businesses get far less financial support when they are trying to open and sustain their businesses. So YOU, yes little old you, can make a huge impact by hiring BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ experts to help you grow your business in the areas that you don't like or have no clue about.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions around how you can use your business and your platform to amplify and empower marginalized voices!
My business coach, VP Wright, is an expert in all things DEI in small business. Check her out:
PS - there are a few ways you can work with me this summer:
Business coaching: If you're looking to start or grow your own business or side hustle, I can help with that! From making time in your busy life to spend on your business to digital marketing and branding help, my business coaching/mentorship packages will support you in whatever you need to grow your business.
Voice Lessons: I have a few spots left in my summer session of voice lessons. 6 weeks of voice lessons starting the week of July 6.
Align for Singers: My Align Program is for pre-professional and professional singers who need to make time for their singing business, grow their confidence in business and performance, master their singing technique and learn business basics to help them monetize their craft.