In this digital age, we see the use of these words circulating a lot: #freebies and #exposure… I remember when I completed secondary school and my first level of tertiary education and was looking for a job in the newspapers and classifieds, the word #experience was the common denominator in every ad. Back then I wondered how did they expect me to gain experience, without granting the #opportunity to do so? Fast track to eight or nine years later, I began freelancing and managing #socialmedia pages and later on started hosting and coordinating events for a non-profit I founded (Poetic Vibes). During that time, freelancing did not pay well; the same service that a company would spend a lot of money for, was a problem to pay an individual. Similarly, everybody likes the idea of getting a freebie; at no point do they consider the cost associated with it.
Needlesstosay, I have also had to turn down some offers of exposure along the way. Today I am building my small business and like any other, you are faced with the challenges of surviving among competing businesses and enterprises, all of whom aim to #makeit, find their space or carve their niche in this #globalvillage. So how do you stay relevant? Marketing tells you that a product or service goes through various stages along the curve, it reaches the stage of maturity and then it dips again. We’ve seen post the global meltdown, a gravitation towards sole traders (individuals) and small businesses. Large businesses have engaged and looked to small enterprises for survival. We’ve also seen a wave of #startups and online businesses surface to join in the competition. How do you navigate through the traffic zone and make your way to the top or gain #visibility? Some have forged alliances and linked with others to gain “exposure”, while others have used traditional and new media to capture audiences. What we see is that those who have the financial resources, capacity or have gotten a ‘lucky break’ are pushed ahead of the race. All well and good. Here’s the question: In this race, when do you say, YES and when do you say, NO? Do you assess whether the request for a ‘freebie’ or the opportunity of ‘exposure’ is within your ability or is economically viable to you? “Exposure doesn’t pay my bills“
I am in no way rejecting this, for they all serve a purpose, however as I tell my artists, while we are charitable, you cannot undervalue yourself to support “every cause”. So when I read Laura Worthington’s story on Buzzfeed it gave me pause. We volunteer our time and give of ourselves by way of our skills, talent and energy, but seldom do we evaluate or consider the ‘sweat equity’ or contribution. There must be a balance or measure of return for businesses to thrive and sustain itself. The landscape is ever-changing and we can either fight against the current or ride the wave. Thank you for reading! Do share your thoughts. Power Media Hub is a Publicity, Events and Talent Management company