Let’s Get Personal: Being Too Nice to Run A Business

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  • February 19, 2014

Let’s Get Personal: Social Media Overload & Being Too Nice to Run a Business

offbeat dc wedding blog

On Saturday I was in one of those moods. Where I spent entirely too much time on social media, watching other wedding vendors share pictures of an event that I wasn’t invited to (not that I would have went anyway, but you get the point). From there it only got worse, reading about all the awesome things people were getting from other vendors in exchange for referrals, and all the exciting new business deals and partnerships that were going down and happily benefiting everyone (re: not me) involved. I was frustrated and feeling down and so in a moment of weakness, I tweeted this:

“Today I decided I’m too nice and suck at running a business. I think this needs to change. #whatsinitforme

Like most people that share status updates like that, I was insecurely looking for a response (though I am openly ashamed to admit that), but the responses I got weren’t exactly what I imagined and one in particularly gave me the EXACT perspective I needed to get out of the funk. A fellow DC business owner wrote back, “From afar, I am in awe of your business acumen! I regularly feel like a slacker when reading your tweets :)”

There it is. The jolt I needed to realize that while things appear one way on social media to me, (only from my point of view) the things I am saying & doing cause others to have opinions and thoughts about ME just from my social media. My “feeling sorry for myself” mood lifted (the nice bitch fest about it all to my amazing husband helped too) and I was able to concentrate on the initial thoughts I had about being too nice with more clarity and less self-pity.

Is there really such thing as being “too nice” to run a business? The decisions I make for Capitol Romance are mostly tied to my initial mission for starting the blog: to HELP couples in the DC area with wedding planning. But I am fortunate enough to be able to do that. With having a full time job outside of Capitol Romance, I don’t NEED* to make money-based choices (*disclaimer, I do and will, as I spend a great deal of time blogging and feel I do deserve SOME compensation for my time ;). I really can make decisions, like having a non-paying vendor guide, or offering free wedding Classifieds, that truly have my readers and clients in mind. I always HATED when I found out “preferred vendors” at venues or on other blogs were only preferred because they paid to be there. They weren’t vetted or the best or even tied to the site’s brand in anyway … they were just paying and that was good enough.

A million years ago I wrote a post called The Wedding Blog Business that talked about how too many wedding bloggers seemed to only be in this for the money and how that’s just not “how I roll”. I’ve tried to stay true to that post (I hope I have) but in doing so, and comparing myself to all the other business owners in DC, I don’t always feel like it’s rewarding, or the right direction to be in. I often hear feedback, “you need to charge for that, you need to make money, you need to make a business decision” and maybe I just can’t. And maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s also OK that I don’t get things in return when I chose to promote certain vendors or do things for people – maybe just doing it because I believe in their service or because I think it will help my readers, is enough. Everyone is in this game for different reasons afterall.

So maybe I am just “too nice” and maybe I won’t ever turn Capitol Romance into a money making machine and you know what? Maybe that really is, OK. I need to stop focusing on what everyone else is doing (and Instagramming) and instead focus on what I want to do and feel good doing. Really that is the only thing that should matter at this point and probably the only thing that will truly make me happy.

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28 Comments

  • Hey girl, I think what you have going is amazing and I am happy to be apart of a awesome community of people such as yourself! & Your right it does’t matter what others think it’s all about ho you are making yourself feel :)

  • Lady – you are amazing. And please – don’t ever sell your abilities short. Good, moral values are becoming more and more rare in this industry, and while you should never undervalue your worth, etc. – I REALLY respect the fact that perhaps, Capitol Romance will never morph into a money-hungry black hole. If you ever do decide to make revenue from this blog, I believe that whichever way you do that – it will be of high moral character, benefiting both sides, not based soley on a paycheck and just plain ole good, all around. Always keep true to yourself and trust your gut. When you start to not recognize yourself……step back and return to the previous sentence. Stay true to yourself and trust your gut. xoxo

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Lacoya – thank you. Everything you said was everything I need to hear and remind myself often. If I can stay true to myself and follow my heart/gut then no matter WHAT happens with Capitol Romance, I can be happy. Thank you :)

  • Maggie says:

    The fact that you’re raising questions like this is exactly why I’ll always love Capitol Romance — you’re all about helping the community first. If you do decide in the future to monetize Capitol Romance as a full time job I know you can do it while keeping the blog authentically you!

  • Emily says:

    Bree, the way you continue to stay true to yourself is such an inspiration!! You be you!! <3

  • Jacki F says:

    You are too nice. And that’s why I still read your blog, talk about your posts to others and genuinely cheer for your success from the sidelines. Your blog kept me sane during my throw-my-formal-wedding-out-the-window and lets have a kick-a$$ party switcheroo. I knew that the readers that are on this site are like-minded non-traditional-crazy wedding folks. I love it and I’m so grateful you own this little corner of the interwebs.

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Jacki – maybe it’s the exhaustion from working a styled shoot, or maybe it’s just the kick-ass response you posted but girl you are making me LEGIT tear up on my couch right now. Thank you for taking the time to comment here and sharing what you did – it’s comments like yours that make EVERYTHING worth it. Cannot thank you enough :)

  • Katie says:

    Your entire site is based upon breaking the rules, pushing boundaries and finding “off-beat” weddings in a sometimes very conservative area. Well I think having (what some may deem as) an “off-beat” way of running your business is the perfect fit and is why you’re successful, different, and (hopefully) happy. I agree with Maggie that if you did ever decide to monetize Capitol Romance as a full time gig, you’d still manage to do it in a way that felt authentic, real, and true. Based on all your “maybes” up there, if you change your mind and feel like you need more in return for all the promotion and help, you’ll also find a way to ask for that (and do it in a nice way!). Be true to you and true to what you want and what feels right. I’d say those are the only rules that matter.

    Plus, I flat out refuse to believe anyone can ever be too nice :)

    • Bree Ryback says:

      And naturally you find a way to so eloquently respond to me. God Katie, I can’t thank you enough for being such a strong voice of reason and focus in this industry for me. Thank you for this – it’s an important reminder and something I certainly need to tell myself some more. THANK YOU.

  • Katie Joga says:

    I have this feeling on a regular…. I don’t post a lot on social media or blog on a regular or go to many networking events mainly because if I have ANY free time I try to focus it on asking myself how I can help my couples further with their planning. Does this make me too nice to run a business…maybe, but I don’t care this is how I want to run my business. For example, one of my couples wedding is approaching fast and they still had not booked transportation for their guests. Even though her package does not “include” vendor research I went ahead and did this task for her because I had some free time and knew this would relieve a lot of stress from the couple. Should I have maybe worked on my social media? Maybe, but I try to remember when my head hits the pillow at night whats more important my status on social media or with the wedding vendor community or very happy couples? Without my couples I would not be able to do this full time so I make them the priority. Bree, what you do is amazing and you should hold your head up high everyday for EVERYTHING you do! You also have to remember you only see the good & fun stuff on social media you don’t know whats going on behind close doors. Keep up all the good work, I’m a daily reader :)

    • Bree Ryback says:

      thank you Katie! I’ll admit I probably post TOO much on social media – so it’s important to remember that there are so many other vendors out there working to the bone (like you) that are just too busy working for their clients. Thank you for sharing your personal experience and thank you for reading :) I can’t wait to meet you in person some day!

  • Lori says:

    Your site feels authentic and real — and I think you are doing tremendous work to promote and network with others, and to create a community of people wo are as talented and genuine as you are. I always recommend your blog to friends because of that. There are plenty of other resources out there to use, but yours is one of the few that always manages to have a real voice, and a real person behind it, not just the same old re-hashed content that we’ve all seen before. Keep up what you are doing. And know that if you ever decided to turn your work into more of a money-making venture, know that your fan base will respect that and understand why, especially because you are willing to be upfront and discuss it.

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Lori – you are amazing, this comment is amazing. Thank you so so much for sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to know that others in the community I have tried to create, feel the way I do. I’ve LOVED getting to meet you through CapRo and cannot thank you enough for sharing my blog with your friends!! Thank you.

  • Dad says:

    What you value should, and knowing you, will always be what you value, what you charge for what you value is still your decision. As you bring more value to more people, more people will want what you have created. Stay focused on you think is important and helpful and build your reputation and the rest takes care of itself. Mommas Italian Restaurant in Hackettstown is a great model since we both know this place. They are some of the nicest restauranters I have ever met and one of the earliest adopters of gluten free pasta. People drive long distances to eat there. Your reputation is everything in this world. You are building your reputation and business one appreciative customer at a time. I am so proud and so looking forward to working for you in my retirement… :))

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Thanks Dad – all wise wisdom (naturally). You are so right and it’s always a good reminder to reinforce everything you said within my self. I am on my own journey – no one else’s. I should only focus on my own values and stay focused on what’s important to me. <3

  • Candace says:

    I think you’ve hit a few nails on the head. I truly enjoy social media, but one of its drawbacks is how much it glamorizes our lives (which makes sense – it’s uncomfortable when you see the other end of the spectrum, someone who is constantly down and posting about it). I wish we could find the middle ground where we express the good and the bad that is happening our personal and professional live. That IS reality. Until that happens, it is important for us to remember that other people are struggling with various life thing as well. I had to remind myself of this as I was throwing an EXTREMELY childish fit on how everyone can seem to be going on a vacation except for us – why aren’t we taking a vacation this year?? So we can save up so I can marry the man of my dreams and have the wedding we want!! Boo hoo, poor me!

    That story isn’t to make this all about me, rather a reminder that we all go through this. Lately I’ve been trying to reflect more on HOW AMAZING my life actually is and being grateful for that. I think it’s working well so far.

    And just to reiterate. I love the site. It’s a wonderful arena of beauty, practicality and romance. Thank you for creating it.

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Candace. Thank you for this – everything you said was amazing and touching and heartfelt. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to not only respond, but share such personal insight in return. I often feel the SAME way about vacations – but you are right. I need to add “focus on reflecting on how amazing my life actually is” to my 2014 goals list, because really I am VERY fortunate and very lucky in so many amazing ways. Thanks for reading & commenting :)

  • Amy says:

    Seriously! Now I HAVE to m

  • Amy says:

    Seriously! Now I HAVE to move!! I think you’re my soul sister.. I have recently had these same feelings. It sucks. I haven’t felt “good enough” or “cool enough” for all the wed vendors in my area. Being left out is the worst. I think you’re amazing and I love reading your blog!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to show off my work and making me feel like part of the cool club from afar! Xoxo

  • Bree, I’ve been going through something similar lately (check out my post today). There is one thing I know for sure. I’m so thankful to have met you through blogging. I think you are a fantastic example of someone who is pursuing her dream, is still holding true to who she is and being practical at the same time. Many of us have dreams but they mean nothing if we don’t stay true to ourselves. That’s why I love your blog and am so glad to know you. You’re genuine. Too nice, I think not. True Bree, YES DEFINITELY!

    • Bree Ryback says:

      Thank you Deb – I am so happy to have met you through CapRo/Blogging as well! I’ve loved collaborating with you and watching you through your own wedding planning journey!! Will check out your own post today and thank you so much for the lovely comment here <3

  • Maureen says:

    I think you are doing a great job. And I for one haven’t paid you for anything yet, but I consider you a huge resource for my wedding planning. For someone on a budget you are a lifesaver Bree and I will continue to recommend you to my friends and share your site!

    Keep it up!

  • […] week I shared one of my most personal posts to date. I talked about that dreaded thing called comparison and wondered if you could be too nice […]

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