I’m a “mompreneur” from Gwinnett, with a business in Atlanta helping other mompreneurs go from side hustle to a thriving business by providing step-by-step business growth strategies, so they can free up their time, generate more income, enjoy living life with their families and look great doing it. My main business line is selling fashion online through my Facebook store, Lyntrell’s Closet.

As small business owners, we face a lot of challenges growing our businesses. How do we get noticed when we don’t have huge advertising budgets? How do we get credible and actionable information to solve problems in our growing businesses? Which platforms should we use when we’re growing a business online? Can what has worked for others also work for us? What is the secret sauce, the magic bullet, if you will? And finally, what policies are needed to help us grow?

I recently was invited to attend a small business conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

The goal of the conference is to help business owners and creators, like myself, learn how to use digital tools to grow and thrive.

The conference helped me answer a lot of these questions and gave me a platform to speak with one of our Georgia senators.

Here are a few key takeaways that I learned:

● I do have a voice! I felt heard and seen after meeting with other small business leaders and U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff. More on that below.

● I can use social media tools to grow my business – and in fact, I’ve recently made a huge change. I’ve switched from a website to using the Facebook platform for my online store because I’ve seen so much growth there. I have more than 11,000 followers and am growing every day.

● I need to care for myself as I care for my business. One of the surprising themes that came up at the conference was mental health. It became clear that all of us have the challenge of staying mentally strong, in the wake of a global pandemic and during a time of political and economic turmoil.

As a result of what I learned, I am making a few changes.

First, I’ve decided to stay more present and more thoughtful as a mental health tool in my business. As I focus on my mental health needs first, it makes my business that much better. I’m not just “a servant to the hustle.” This is helping me make decisions on what clothing and products I’m launching. It’s helping me stay true to myself.

Second, I asked Sen. Ossoff to consider more startup funding options for minority- and women-owned small businesses. What I’ve seen is that while funding is out there, “small business” loans are often for fairly established businesses. We need more options for very small, true start-ups. We had a great conversation about this.

Third, I learned that I should offer more “NFTs,” or non-fungible tokens, in my business. That wasn’t on my radar before. While I’m still figuring out what that looks like, it’s an exciting place where businesses are differentiating themselves and growing their customer base.

Finally, my advice to other small business owners is to leverage digital tools. A lot of business owners are underestimating the power of social media and Facebook in particular to help them grow their businesses. When used successfully, many people are making a living through Facebook, and making a change through Facebook like I am.

I find the platform to be more personal and successful for my business than other platforms. I plan to continue growing my business there. It’s incredible that the largest social media platform is such a great incubator for the smallest of businesses, like mine!

My final piece of advice to anyone interested in starting their own business is: Go for it! It’s never too late – you don’t need to wait for the “right” time – now is the right time. And the tools that social media platforms give you will help you grow.

Lyntrell Jacobs is a Gwinnett mother of four, self-described “mompreneur” and owner of Lyntrell’s Closet.

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