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The Social Media Mirage

"The Best Way Out Is Always Through" ~ Robert Frost

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The article today is a little more personal. Recently, a friend who has been having some struggles recently contacted me. We’ve known each other for over 20 years; you never want to see someone you care about struggle.

Studies show that people can experience depression because of what they see on social media. The theory states that people most often post about the fun aspects of their lives but little to nothing about real world struggles. In essence, the theory states that ”social media is making us depressed”.

From what I've experienced, life is never "easy.” It's filled with highs and lows, and you would never know it by looking at pictures of people having fun, traveling, drinking or spending time with friends. Life is a series of challenges, and if you don't rise to each and every challenge it will swallow you whole.

I've been guilty of painting an overly pretty picture on social media too. Three or four years ago, I was in a really rough spot. Digging out of that hole to build a business has been an extremely difficult challenge. No one would know how stressful it has been – even my wife, as I don't show it.

My story is a pretty typical entrepreneur story. Most people see the nice houses, nice cars and nice lives of successful companies but rarely understand the struggles and sacrifices that took place to achieve that financial success. I emphasize "financial success" because often that is the only kind of success that exists. Personal success is one of those things sacrificed at the alter of business growth.

It's also important to note that for every business that makes it 4-5 years, one of them fails. Not every story has a happy ending.

When I started Texting Base, I was single and broke. The money I used to incorporate Texting Base was the money that should have gone to my cellular phone, and my phone was cut off for non-payment. On social media, I acted like it was lost.

So there I was, 37 years old, . . . at a complete low point financially and personally. To compound matters, I shredded my knee and broke my foot and I had no insurance.

I came to Florida as a part owner in a growing state chartered bank, and now I was scraping change to pay for pizza and barely able to live. Meanwhile, my family members and high school friends were buying million dollar homes as I was trying to figure out how to get a company started with no money. Every cent I made went towards the company. Every paycheck I had went towards the people who trusted me to come along on this ride and bring this vision to life. Many a time I handed over my last few hundred dollars without letting anyone know that I now would have to call my cable company to delay payment, or else be cut off from the internet.

Those same friends saw all the pictures of me with pretty people, smiling, traveling or at events and thought I was the luckiest man alive.

In some ways they were right, but not in the sense they thought.

I never for a second questioned my abilities to get out of the hole. I knew it was going to be a long road. The key was to keep my head up and laugh about the current dire situation…humor is a saving grace in tough times.

There was no one to blame for my situation but myself. There was nothing left to do but take responsibility and get to work. Luckily, my partners love a good fight.

I'm not writing this to complain or to gain sympathy (I truly despise both of those things). I am sharing this because a lot of people are in rough spots and need to know they are not alone in their struggles.

My situation was fairly extreme but not unique. There are many of us working out of holes. Some holes are bigger than others. The solution is always the same: regroup, set a path, change your habits, get discipline and work your way out of it.

Texting Base launches in the next month. Sounds like a success story? Not even close…but I will keep doing the right things and I will keep working. The work and this “success story” are just now getting to the starting line. The end goal is the be ”leader in business texting”. This is hardly a small goal. As building a business is often compared to climbing a mountain, our metaphorical goal is Everest.

Building a business is not easy. We have a long way to get where we are going, and we are going to need help and some luck to get there. I also expect a lot of rough patches on the way (although my Facebook friends will never know it!)

To those of you out there now who are having a rough go of it, keep your head up and keep working and things will get better. Smile when bad things happen, each bad thing is a gift because it's a chance to get better/stronger.

Life can be crazy for everyone and everyone has a story. Don't be fooled by the superficial images presented to show how awesome people are. Enjoy the bad times as well as the good times. There are more lessons and opportunities to learn when things are tough than any other time.

Probably the most important thing you will learn about is yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Beans

Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is an ”SMS Marketing Automation Platform” that adds efficiency and power to business texting communications. Combining the efficiency of a “mass text” and the effectiveness of a personal text message, Texting Base uses patent pending software to allow businesses to build relationships with their customers like never before. Prior to Texting Base, Eric Beans owned Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted mortgage company.

This article is my 82nd oldest. It is 1032 words long