There’s much work to be done when it comes to building a more diverse and inclusive world, whether online or offline. And while there are certainly a lot of issues currently being discussed both on social media and in the national media (ex. police/law enforcement reform, reform of the legal and justice system, anti-racist work, political reform), there are many ways to make contributions to change as a creative service provider.
The first step for any creative business owner is to determine where they are called to contribute and what types of contributions fit with their skillsets and available assets. (This is true for any person, but I want to keep this post specific to creative service providers.)
Change happens through communication and conversation.
But change also requires taking action, and action can come in the form of contributing your time, your money, or both. Depending on what you have readily available to contribute will help shape the kind of action plan you create for yourself.
The process of achieving change applies to all. It’s almost as if the process deserves a “Universal Law” type status, for the process truly doesn’t discriminate.
The Universal equation that produces change is:
Conversation + Education + Strategy + Action (time/money) + Elapsing Time = Change
Social activism can take many forms, some of them overt and obvious, others more subtle and behind-the-scenes.
It’s important to remember that before jumping to judgement or allowing perceived judgement from others shake your confidence.
You can be “quiet” in your execution, but “loud” in your impact.
Based on that idea, I wanted to share with you a list of starting points you might be able to expand upon in order to make your contribution.
First, some action words:
I wanted to call these words out separately for starters, because they allow you to use your creativity and the Google to begin to find opportunities that match for you.
But because sometimes more concrete examples are helpful, here are ideas of how you can contribute to being the change you want to see in the world.
Volunteer Your Time:
- To a specific organization where your values align
- Help someone learn your skill (profession)
- Mentor kids interested in becoming business owners
- Make something creative for an organization that it needs to further its mission pro bono (logo/website/copy/flyer)
- Business owners locally who can work together to make a larger contribution to an organization in your community than they could alone
- Business owners online who come from all over the world. Listen to their stories with the intention of learning and broadening your perspective
- A different chapter of a professional organization or networking organization you belong to in order to make new friends/connections
- People on LinkedIn who are alumni from your high school, college, or University who are doing interesting things to serve the world
- Friendships with business owners who have the same profession, but a different background and perspective
- Friendships with complimentary service providers who could broaden your referral network, and you theirs
- Referral relationships with new people who, while you’re not sure HOW you might collaborate, you entertain the idea that you COULD collaborate
- An online summit where diverse business owners are sharing their story/skills/resources/knowledge
- A class at your local library or community college where you’re likely to encounter new people and ideas
- A community of online entrepreneurs who don’t know you, and introduce yourself. Then join conversation threads where you can add something constructive or curiosity based to the discussion.
- A book club that reads diverse literature (or start one if it doesn’t exist)
- The email list of people who have a unique perspective to share that would aid in either your personal or your professional development. Reply to relevant emails to start a dialogue.
- More than just business books. Find fiction and nonfiction written by diverse voices to broaden your perspective (and relax!)
- The blog posts from someone in your industry who you don’t know personally, and then send them a note letting them know something you learned from their post
- Your local community newspaper. You know the ones that come in your mailbox for free? See if there’s something you could do to help someone in your town with your skill
- Leave genuine comments that build up a business owner on social media
- Resources or ideas that helped you build your business with others looking to learn
- Your story in a way that can inspire others to believe in themselves and take courageous action towards starting (or growing) their business
- Business profits donations to causes you care about, whether announced or unannounced.
- Honest feedback to someone looking to make genuine progress in their business
- People who can broaden your perspective or your impact. People who think differently from you have the ability to help you expand your business and reach more people.
- Put your job descriptions out in the broadest possible way so you can get a diverse pool of applicants (some of the above actions will give you networks to spread your hiring opportunities in order to attract broad perspectives)
It’s important to note that on social media, algorithms exist to show you what you’re likely to respond to, so if you begin to follow and interact with new people, you’ll start to see content from them. Even though it takes energy and effort to re-teach the algorithm, in time you’ll begin to see diverse voices in your feed.