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Dream Believe Create is an online magazine for women entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers. It’s for women who want to start sustainable, mission-driven businesses or creative practices without sacrificing their principles and avoiding the profit-at-any-cost / business-as-usual model that we’re all so tired of.

Kelly Diels - Writer, Feminist, Culture-Maker

Kelly Diels - Writer, Feminist, Culture-Maker

Kelly Diels is a writer, feminist marketing consultant and culture-maker with a compelling message for women entrepreneurs. It is this:

Conventional marketing is terrible for women and marginalized peoples; it undermines the efforts of many women and gender non-conforming entrepreneurs; it upholds a sexist and racist ideology, and it insists that we become co-creators in this culture of injustice.

These marketing practices are markedly prevalent in women-focused online spaces, with narrow definitions of what constitutes health, beauty and happiness consistently promoted.

The underlying message is that if you don’t fit the dominant stereotypes, there’s something wrong with you and you need to fix it.

This, Kelly says, really is ‘a thing’ and she has given it a name - the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand {FLEB}. 

Naming things is part of a feminist tradition of identifying patterns, of making what was invisible, visible. It means we can focus on transforming private shame into a recognisably shared experience. The magic is that once we can see it, we can work to change and overcome it.

Through her work as a writer, teacher and consultant, Kelly joins the dots to show us how seemingly disparate elements are connected, and how they impact on us as women entrepreneurs and creatives who are striving to rise.

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Her work reveals how conventional marketing exploits aspects of the psyche to achieve individual, usually profit-making goals. It leverages fears, vulnerabilities and shared human desires to achieve results. One of its most problematic features is the lack of transparency. Usually, people have no idea their subconscious is being triggered and manipulated.

Entrepreneurs often use conventional marketing tactics. Even when doing so hurts the very people they set out to help.

Perhaps the most alarming revelation is how widespread these practices are, and how many of us in business have been trained to use these tactics without fully understanding the harm they can inflict.

It’s sobering to realise, because it seems so normal now, but if you’ve ever paid something like 30% more on a payment plan than if you’d paid up-front; or you’ve signed up for a specific freebie and then been inundated by an email sales campaign for something else, you’ve experienced the predatory tactics of conventional marketing.

On the flip side if you’ve ever sold a product or service using these tactics then you’ve perpetrated it. This isn’t to point fingers and lay blame. Most of us who run our businesses in the online world, including me, have used similar strategies at some point. That’s because it’s what so many of the ‘experts’ are teaching us to do.

But there are other ways of marketing our businesses. It starts by understanding that we have both privilege and responsibility. We, the entrepreneurs, artists, authors, healers, coaches and creatives are the culture-makers of our times.

We have the ability to both reinvent ourselves and our businesses so that we don’t engage in exploitative marketing and in the process help to create a world that is kind, loving, inclusive and just.

These can seem impossible goals at a time when rampant capitalism, financial fears, divisive politics, racism, sexism, climate change denial and the ongoing onslaught against our natural world seem ubiquitous, and yet Kelly is far from unrealistically idealistic.

Her work shows us how other ways of marketing, ways that are transparent and authentic and respectful, can achieve tangible and positive results.

We don’t need to fall back on manipulative practices or blindly follow the examples set by the female lifestyle empowerment brands. We can be much more creative and much more interesting.

Doing it differently has benefits that extend to your bottom line too. Being an entrepreneur who does right by others and the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your own financial well-being. It doesn’t mean resigning yourself to poverty or requiring you to just scrape by in life.

On the contrary, it is entirely possible to build a values-based business and to make a decent living while you do.

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CONTACTS + CREDITS

A sincere thank you to Kelly Diels for allowing me to synthesize elements from our discussions and her teaching to create this article.

If you’d like to find out more or to connect directly with Kelly, you’ll find her online at www.kellydiels.com

Welcome to Issue 01

Welcome to Issue 01

Are You Entrepreneur Material?

Are You Entrepreneur Material?