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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

Stop hoarding the nuts!

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Lately, 3-4 squirrels have been in the backyard each morning. They each vie for the spot closest to the peanut bowl. One of them seems to be the group's most well-fed, so I assume he gets that seat more often than not.

The other squirrels attempt to sneak up and grab a peanut, but Mr. Selfish isn't having it. He chases the others up into the tree, across the yard, barking at them to take a hike. Most of the time, they do, but there are daring moments.

Mr. Selfish's attitude of nut hoarding made me think of those business owners who keep valuable information away from others. Or, as they are more commonly referred to, gatekeepers. Recently, a client I partner with was interviewed for The Etsy Seller Podcast. The episode was for her to share about successfully building her Etsy shop, and other business verticals, to the point where she could quit her full-time job. She offered insights into how she runs her business and gave details about her new shop launch. Throughout the interview, she mentioned her desire to help educate and empower women entrepreneurs. Her business and personal goals are to see other women be successful and enjoy time and financial freedom. The host of the podcast said about her:

...You're wildly successful in those things...You also do other things like coaching other Etsy sellers and empowering other women to succeed in this journey of theirs, which is amazing.

And this stood to reinforce that helping others should be a goal of business owners, no matter how big or successful the business is.

Sure, business owners have to earn a living, so there will be products or services that they charge for. But that doesn't mean every question you answer, every tip you provide, or the direction you offer should cost someone. I want to partner with and support business owners who offer free answers, tips, and directions to see others succeed.

In its simplest form, "gatekeeping" is having access, opportunity, or knowledge — and then keeping it all to yourself. Gatekeepers, at least according to the internet, pull the ladder up behind them and exclude those with fewer opportunities from their space.

Gatekeeping information from hopeful entrepreneurs can be harmful for several reasons.

Gatekeeping stifles innovation

It hinders others' ability to create new products or services that could benefit communities. Innovation stems from those who think uniquely and outside the box. So if they are not given access to needed information, their ideas may never see the light.

Gatekeeping limits opportunity

Access to information is crucial for individuals who want to start their businesses. If they are not given help setting up financials, finding clients, or pricing products/services, they may not be able to compete in their market.

Gatekeeping promotes inequality

When information is gated or kept behind closed doors, it affects people from marginalized communities who typically don't have access to the same resources as others. This creates an uneven playing field, where people are excluded from opportunities.

There are so many opportunities for freelancers to make a real career out of their skill sets. There is truly enough work to go around for everyone. And keeping valuable insight or information to yourself when you could

--help a hardworking single mom earn supplemental income as a copywriter,

--help a woman learn a new skill that she can monetize and leave a toxic work environment,

--help a young couple realize their dream of wanting to travel and work at the same time

just doesn't seem right. Or kind.

If you have knowledge and experience, you can share it with other freelancers. As a Top-Rated freelancer on Upwork, I've learned a few tips and tricks on getting the most out of the platform. If anyone I come in contact with needs help setting up their profile, putting together their portfolio, or learning how to filter jobs and weed out the scammers, I want to help.

Knowledge is power, but if it's used for the exclusive benefit of one person or organization, it can become a shameful weapon.

So, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner and you've done well for yourself and experienced success, share your knowledge with others who dream of doing the same.

And what do you know? I walked out to the backyard yesterday and saw squirrels sharing the nuts. How kind.

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