Capturing the heart of the equine industry with positivity. As an equestrian, you are in a tribe. A larger tribe of those who love horses and then smaller microcosms as you branch out into particular riding styles or locations. Whether you feel included or very alone, you are in a band of like-minded people.
Keeping your relationships (healthy) is key for anyone trying to make it in this world.
If you own a small business or know anyone who does, you might realize how difficult and rewarding the task can be. It is a daily grind and hustle usually derived from passion. The equestrian world is stocked to the brim with small businesses or the pursuit of. So how can we help each other out? How can you as an individual, whether you are a rider, trainer, mom, coach, equine bodyworker, vet, farrier et cetera- keep small businesses alive and benefit while doing so? There are a few easy ways to help.
One simple way to not only help your own business but those around you is to just start promoting things you like on social media. If you think someone has a good idea, love their quote, a picture they posted, or just "like what you see", go ahead and tag them. Send a "shout out" about what you might like or find interesting about their post. Anything helps! And guess what? I bet they will return the favor.
Don't go into it with any expectations, only positivity. For Facebook and Instagram users, positive, original content speaks volumes and can help you gain followers as well as the small businesses you'd like to promote.
Steps for doing this in a healthy way:
- Be authentic
- Stay positive
- Don't expect anything in return but be gracious if it's offered
- Post only quality content that speaks to your audience
-Remember that giving another person or business a "shout out" could be opening up new realms of people who could potentially be joining their tribe. Keep that positive spiral moving.
-Share a blog post or event they share on their social media. You can also share their website to your group of followers.
There is nothing wrong with reaching out to someone and simply telling them something positive. You might also consider hiring them or asking them a question about what they do/offer. There are endless possibilities when you are open and honest. If you are reading this and just starting out and find it very intimidating to take that step, let me tell you this: people are nicer than you think. And if you never take a risk, you won't be as successful as you could have been. The worst thing that could possibly happen by reaching out is being told no.
BUT... later down the line, that same person you reached out to could remember your gutsiness and reach back out to you. Remember the equestrian industry is quite small. Word gets around and people remember. Set yourself up for success from the start by taking risks and thinking big.
Ways to reach out to another business or person:
- Through messaging or social media
- In person, handing out a card or infographic
- E-mail (professional sounding email)
- Offering to put on a free demo, clinic or showcase at their barn or in their area.
One of the best ways you can help your fellow business owner is by leaving a great review. Only leave a review if you truly think they deserve it. But if you had a good experience with someone, leave them a review and try to be detailed. An intimate, detailed and positive review is not only good for business but boosting moral.
The best reviews are those that are natural and not asked for. If someone asks you to leave a review don't feel pressured. It is better to be authentic. A big DON'T - would be to leave a negative review.
This will back fire.
Not only is it really not helpful but maybe your experience wasn't synonymous with how that person actually conducts business. If someone privately asks you for information on a business or person, of course be honest. But bad reviews are tacky and won't reflect well on you.
Giving a good review means keeping it short, positive and to the point. Leaving a review on a Facebook business page is always a good idea. Screen shot your review, and do a "shout out" on another social media platform. This will signal more traffic to their page.
Helping each other out as business owners is a big deal. If you are curious about a business and want to work with them, try bartering! It can be a great cross promotional tool, way to gain trust within a circle of people, and can have a positive spiral effect. Making things "exactly fair" is not what it's all about, but giving one more person the inside scoop on what you do IS.
Thinking about how you conduct yourself for the long run will give you ideas on who you might feel comfortable bartering with. I love bartering with people whose skills I can show off as well as mine. One of my biggest joys is showing someone what I do. And guess what? Anyone with a skill feels this way. Your friend who is an equine photographer or acquaintance who does graphic design might be a perfect person to reach out to. Give and take is in our nature as people.
Rules for bartering:
-Keep it simple and don't keep track. This isn't about "winning" or "losing", it's about sharing your gift or talent with others in hopes that it brings you more business.
- Opt on the side of being generous. People usually know when you are being generous. Give more than you take and you will always be happy with your decision.
- You should have a very clear idea of what each person bartering charges their own clients. Even though money is not involved, being up front with customers about costs is really important.
- If it doesn't feel right- don't do it. Only align yourself with people who will uplift your persona and business model.
One of the biggest parts about keeping your tribe respectable is keeping it open for others to come in. You don't want to exclude in the equestrian world. It is too intimate- and guess what? You might just find that same person which you excluded, is now someone you want to align yourself with. keep it honest, open and never exclude.
If you are having trouble with a client and don't think "it is a good fit anymore", there are a thousand tactics for disengaging.
Do this in a way that will boost the person up and not leave things between you in a bad place.
We won't always be able to please and we won't always love who we are working with. If you have finally decided that it's not worth your time anymore- gently guide your client or friend or business partner in another direction.
Always give them the benefit of the doubt. You BOTH might not be a good fit for each other. If someone truly does not believe in what you are trying to do/accomplish- they are best to find another. Always keep doors open and realize that people grow and learn and that same person down the road might be an awesome client once again. This is especially true in the equine world. We are always training, growing and striving to do better.
We won't all match up- so don't play the blame game.
Don't Be Negative (And It's Not What You Might Think)
Here is the deal- even questioning someones choices publicly is a way of shaming them. If you don't agree with what someone is stating whether it be in public or on social media or even in private, you don't NEED to correct them. Setting someone straight is a way of public humiliation and shaming. If someone is putting out information that might be false- PRIVATELY MESSAGE that person and politely inform them. You might even start out by saying:
"Your business really seems awesome, so I wanted to inform you of this piece of information so that you can better understand..."
"I would love to know more on your thoughts about this subject. Maybe I am not clear about what you posted today."
There are ways to guide a conversation that are humble, honest and helpful.
Let's not be a "know it all" ... Cuz- YOU DON'T.
The most reassuring thing about building a respectable tribe is that like-minded people can get a lot accomplished! You and your fellow horse lovers are all part of something larger- so keep that in mind. You might even put some trainers or professionals up on a pedestal. Be careful with this. We are all at different stages and no one is perfect.
And on one last note about #goodvibes and #tribes: Push yourself out of your comfort zone- you might be surprised how many great people there are out there to work with. You just never know where a conversation might lead you.
Optimism is a daily habit.
Our brains aren't wired to always be optimistic- so do the work and get better at it.
Positivity is one skill you will always need.