Today we are pleased to have a guest post from Amanda Cox of Real Mums fame.

They May be Small, But they’re People

I received what felt like at the time, a “crushing blow” last year. Not only to my self esteem and confidence, but also to my business.

Sad Mad CowIt was a culmination of things; the software I was using for my website took a turn for the worse making it not only difficult for me from the admin side of it, but messy and horrible for its users, my blog was hacked and I lost over 200 blog posts, and a PC crash early in the year saw a loss of articles and other content I’d written.

I picked myself up after each of these occurrences, dusted myself off and did what I could. In some sense, I literally had to start from scratch; new software to keep my community afloat, meaning I had to start from nothing, and a completely new blog install and set up, including a loss of all my subscribers.

There were a number of opportunities in this; I’ve been blogging and running my online business for seven years. I’d grown considerably in that time. I saw these ‘losses’ more of opportunities to start new, start afresh and start again from ‘now’. It was empowering, albeit incredibly frustrating.

It also meant I had to start over, for the most part, with my numbers. I had to start from zero.

All my stats, many of my subscribers … all gone.

In a world that values numbers, where opportunities and requests for amazing things can be given, and taken away just as quickly, or not offered at all based on these figures, I was increasingly being overlooked and dismissed because I couldn’t produce the numbers.

Despite my passion, motivation and popularity, I watched others take the opportunities I knew I could not only do, but do better. I watched others rise in their fields, I saw the ease with which things were given to some, where I worked so hard, and stressed so much over to get half what they did.

The kneecapping came when a similar business, one many called my “competition”, semi-retired, yet was still capable of easily obtaining what she wanted. Her numbers were skyrocketing, although she was producing and offering less. I highly respect this business woman, worked with her on occasion, but couldn’t fathom what was transpiring.

To say my confidence took a kick to the guts was an understatement.

What was I doing wrong?

Playing for numbers

It wasn’t long before it was brought to my attention that not only this business, but many others, including blogs, had bought their numbers.

Yes, they had gone out and purchased likers on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

I reeled for a little; it hadn’t occurred to me that this was an option, and I lost a fair chunk of respect for many. Partly, I felt for those who’d passed me over for opportunities, to provide them to others who had ‘fake’ followers.

Was this deception? Or where the advertisers imprudent and irresponsible in their decision making?

I endured with my work until I experienced a revelation of sorts; what I offer is not, and can’t be about the numbers.

I deal with people. People who have had real experiences and continue to do so each and every day. People with thoughts, feelings and emotion.

The result is a community; not just a bunch of figures on social media sites, but a connected and cohesive community ‘society’ of sorts.

A group of people who have a genuine care and compassion for others, whom have empathy and understanding for the plights of members of their community, and who are free to express their own thoughts and feelings, to ask for help, share their experiences and offer support.

What I have lost, both personally and in a business sense, through my small numbers I will admit is disappointing and soul crushing at times. To be passed over or not considered does cause you to doubt your abilities and to wonder if there is a purpose or point to what you do; if people can’t see this, then why continue?

What I have gained, experienced and, yes, created (as much as I hate to take credit for it) is beyond measure.

To miss out on experiencing a new product is frustrating and annoying.

To receive an email saying “Thank you, you saved my life!” is beyond comprehension and lifts you to places you can’t imagine.

I’d be lying to say I’m ok with not being considered for opportunities and experiences, especially when those opportunities will help me to do more for and give more to my community; when those advertising dollars, or that sponsorship could make all the difference.

That’s where it is most frustrating and where my numbers come back to haunt me. Where I know I am being honest and ethical and transparent with potential sponsors.

It’s not my numbers that are not being considered; it is my passion, my skill, my knowledge. It’s hard not to take it personally.

What I can’t overlook, however, is the difference made to the lives of women and their families – the difference I have made.

I can sleep at night, knowing I’ve made a positive contribution to society, and done it honestly and from the heart; my heart.

My numbers may be small, but my numbers have hearts, minds, thoughts and feelings. They have children and lives.

They are human.

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Amanda Cox, a.k.a. Mad Cow founder of reality parenting support website Real Mums, writer, blogger, TV presenter and co-producer, wife, mum to three boys, experiencer of severe depression and lover of chocolate teddy bear biscuits. In her spare time she whips up stuff she refers to as “dinner” and fantasises about cast members from Horrible Histories. She also organises special events for mums, but mostly so she gets out of the house and has a social life.

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