Three DEI Tips for Solopreneurs and Freelancers
When people think of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the immediate association is group activities in the form of trainings, workshops, and committees. When you search online for consultants, it would appear that many firms are poised to work only with small to big companies. But this could not be further from the truth! Diversity and inclusion strategy is more than just a one-off workshop or the creation of an inclusion committee. There is a lot you can do as a solopreneur to invest in diversity and inclusion strategy beginning with yourself. Here are some tips on how to get started:
Network in Diverse Circles
A great first step! If your network mostly looks like you, it’s time to reassess your professional circles. Take time to research and make connections with professionals who come from different backgrounds and communities. Spend time connecting with professional organizations for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ populations. Your list of contacts and referrals, and the variety of perspectives on your work, will help you evolve and improve your services for a wider variety of people.
Investing in executive coaching is one of the most meaningful steps you can take towards diversity and inclusion strategy as a solopreneur. Before you dive into action on any business decision that will impact your operations or brand reputation, one-on-one coaching will help to develop your strengths and address your weaknesses as a leader. Your development as a leader and as a person is crucial to making informed decisions and to problem-solve in a collaborative and inclusive manner when situations arise. Seeking out a DEI consultant to help conduct surveys with your previous customers and clients about how well they believe your company is promoting inclusive values.
Ensuring Your Deliverables are Diverse and Inclusive
When I work with clients, I start with an in-depth assessment that includes a review of their website, newsletters, and social media. Making sure that language and images are inclusive and that materials prioritize accessibility are some important factors to consider. We all want to see ourselves positively represented in books, movies, and TV programming. The same applies to professional settings and business materials. Working with a DEI consultant to incorporate inclusivity from beginning to end will show because partners and customers can see through last minute-decisions or hopping onto trends like #BodyPositivity or #SupportBlackBusiness without adequate background research or commitments to further the goals of those movements.
While many large organizations are beginning to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion, and making changes to promote a more inclusive workplace, solopreneurs have the advantages of making big, meaningful changes from one day to the next. Tomorrow is always a new day to try something new that only reaps benefits for you and your clients.
Ibis Valdes is a consultant on diversity, inclusion, empowerment, and leadership. She now helps clients to press pause and refresh their brand, culture, and productivity through DEI strategy. Schedule your free assessment today by clicking here.
Connect with Ibis!