“Being an entrepreneur in the 21st Century is vastly different than any other time in our history. There are so many free and low-cost digital tools that are available to help small business owners succeed. I know firsthand how these tools have helped me relaunch my career as a writer, podcast host and consultant. But I am concerned that these tools may not be available for long if policymakers move too fast and try to drastically change the way these tools are offered.
I have been a business owner for more than 20 years. I started my first business after dropping out of college because of my entrepreneurial driven spirit, natural ability to styling hair, and the desire to start my career right away. I opened three salons over 20 years and started a network for barbers and stylists that helped countless beauty professionals increase their knowledge of the trade, earn their certifications and bring awareness to the many opportunities of a 12-billion-dollar industry.
Helping others lift themselves up was so fulfilling that I wondered if it would be possible to turn this knowledge and expertise into my profession. Without fear, I took the leap and left the salon world in favor of building a career helping others succeed as entrepreneurs and small business owners.
I decided to write my first book that would share my knowledge, experience, the power of healing, help build my brand, and scratch the writing itch that always intrigued me as a teenager. I quickly found a great editor to help me write, but I was so surprised at how hard it was to find a publisher interested in my story and was fair in royalty disbursement. I contacted many, but not a single publisher was interested and in alignment with a fair offering. So I did the entrepreneurial thing – I self-published my book through Amazon and LuLu Publications and promoted the book on social media platforms like WordPress, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
It was an incredible experience to self-publish and promote my book using digital platforms and tools that did not exist just a few years ago. It was also a huge risk, but I was investing in myself and I knew that success would open many doors to ignite my new career. And it worked! I have published six additional books through LuLu.com, started my own podcast, and I am launching a new consulting business to help entrepreneurs succeed. I have a website where people can buy my books (thanks to LuLu, Amazon and Paypal), and I use my business profile on Google and Google Analytics to track website traffic to keep my business moving forward.
Without these digital platforms and tools, I could still be a successful salon owner, but I would never have gained the fulfillment of helping others ignite and attain their dreams at a global level. This is why I am concerned about elected officials attacking digital companies. They need to understand that Amazon, LuLu, Facebook, Google, PayPal, WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter and other digital platforms are helping millions of small businesses succeed every day by providing us with innovative, low-cost tools. Amazon was my first self-publishing partner; social media was the foundation of my promotion; and Lulu.com, Google and other digital tools are powering my continuing success.
Without these social media tools, it probably means that I would still be in a career where I no longer have the passion and desire as a salon owner instead of a fearless fulfilled career-switching entrepreneurial spirited mother of 3 operating fully in true purpose work. Elected officials should make sure that their approach to digital technologies helps people like me and all of my clients – and that we are not collateral damage when they go after big companies and Big Tech.”
Nicole Lee is an Author, Counsel to the Entrepreneur, host of “Spiritual Beings Having Human Experiences” Podcast and Founder of Warrior Moms- a social enterprise.
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