It seems to me there are two types of people when it comes to hitting a stumbling block, especially in business. Firstly there are those that throw their hands in the air, maybe moan and grumble a little, and just give up there and then on whatever it was they were trying to achieve. Then there are those who think “OK, so I can’t do it that way – what other ways are there to achieve what I want?” In other words, those who strive to find a plan B, C or even Q when their wishes are thwarted.
I call this kind of tenacity the ‘Workaround Mentality’ – you may already have it, or you may not – but you can work to develop it.
Finding alternative solutions is something that I have been doing for years, be it for employers, clients or myself. I can’t boast that it was something I was born with, or necessarily credit my parents with instilling me with this quality – for me it was born out of necessity. Having worked for a number of small businesses and start-ups in the past it has always been imperative for me find the best, most appropriate solution but for the lowest budget – or failing that, the next best thing – or even rethink what we are wanting to do and finding a different way to make it happen.
It happened to me just this week.
I finally got around to launching my Facebook page for WorkFlowPro, but was disappointed that I seemed unable to link this website to my new page. Actually, disappointed doesn’t nearly describe it – when attempting to add my web link, or share past blog posts I was told that this wasn’t possible because the destination ‘contains content that others have previously reported as abusive’. [ WTF!!! ] This site is simply a blog aimed at professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs seeking useful and actionable advice on matters related to process and productivity. Please, please, please if I have offended you with anything I have previously written firstly, I apologise unreservedly, and secondly please let me know!
Anyway, back to the point at hand. Having encountered this issue I have first tried to resolve it: I have sent feedback to Facebook, I have used their developer tool Facebook Debugger, I have run my URL through their recommended tool Open Graph, and I have also run it through another tool recommended on other forums, called Sucuri. All to no avail. I cannot find one single pointer as to what is so offensive about my site – from malware checks to profanity and beyond, nobody is telling me anything is wrong.
So, what to do?
Having researched this on the net I find that it is not an uncommon problem, and although I am yet to find the holy grail in terms of rectifying the issue I have had an insight into what others have done in the same situation. And do you know what seems to be the solution of choice for a lot of people? Only to purchase a different domain name!
This goes against the grain in so many ways – I am not publishing offensive or abusive content so why should I be penalised, there must be a way to set the record straight, and basically I’m just plain stubborn. Most of the advice I have found states that this is not the way to set about clearing up the matter; but I can understand people’s frustration and desire to solve the problem quickly and definitively, especially if the domain in question is for their business.
Personally, I run my site on a shoestring budget (compared to most other similar sites) and this is partly because I like to advocate a least-cost-to-online business practice. I research and advise on how to get the most for the least (see my About page) – so paying for a new domain name is never going to happen here. So naturally I began to turn over in my mind ways that I could get around this situation. This is what I have come up with so far:
- Forget sharing current blog posts for now, the page is new and has no following yet, start by sharing content that interests and informs potential followers: this will show the values that WorkFlowPro stands for and attract my desired audience.
- Post previous blog posts long-form style on the page – obviously culling the word-count since Facebook is not necessarily the platform for full on articles.
- Publish my blog posts to another platform (one that is friendlier to my URL) and then share the post from there to my Facebook page.
I could also plague Facebook with submission after submission until they themselves resolve the issue – but my research tells me that this would be a pointless exercise, and quite frankly self-flagellation is not my thing.
What I am not going to do is to give up on either my Facebook page, or my domain name. I won’t boycott Facebook forever until the end of time – that would be denying myself access to probably the single largest audience available in one place. Besides, I am fully supportive of initiatives that aim to prevent the internet becoming a dark and sordid place – even if it makes my life a little more difficult.
I really hope that this has highlighted the Workaround Mentality that is so vital to small businesses, start-ups and solopreneurs – if you will excuse it’s ranting tendencies (I’m still a little sore!). What I will also be doing is returning to this subject in the future and offering practical alternatives to spreading your site content more widely around the web.
If you feel that you could do with developing a bit more of a Workaround Mentality, try these tips:
- What exactly it is you are wanting to achieve?
- Is this actually something that you would reasonably expect to be able to do?
- Do you need to alter your resources – time frame, budget, skills etc?
- Is there more than one way to do this?
- Could you do something that achieves a different-but-just-as-good result instead?
- What have others in this situation done?
- Could someone else arrange/do/fix this for me?
But don’t be hard-nosed about it – at the end of the day some things just aren’t possible, so be prepared to give it up if you have exhausted all other ideas.