Creating an online platform that is educational, accessible, and engaging can be challenging. We met with Olivia to hear about her experience of creating a social media page, in the hope that you might also be inspired to create an online space.
Olivia Williams (24yo) is a Wiradjuri woman and the founder of the Instagram page and website, Blak Business. Alongside Olivia, the Blak Business Team is comprised of Eloise (Wiradjuri), Kassie (Larrakia), and Marley (Njamal). Blak Business is a space that brings together information, knowledge and resources to facilitate broader learning and discussion about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics.
Let's hear from Olivia about what's it like to study full time, run a growing online page, all whilst trying to make a positive impact in society.
What inspired you to start Blak Business?
I started Blak Business as an Instagram page in May 2019. In November 2020, it expanded as a website.
Blak Business is a space that seeks to alleviate some of the burnout experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a result of educating gubbas (non-Indigenous people) about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics. That is, Blak Business provides education so that individuals do not have to.
Why did you choose Social Media page founder as your path? What or who inspired you to do so?
I never thought Blak Business would grow to be the space it now is. The feedback I get from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples keeps me inspired and motivated to keep creating and to do better.
I am also grateful that Eloise, Kassie, and Marley came on board to support the logistics of Blak Business. Without them, I would have burnt out a long time ago.
What would you say are three key personality aspects or skills that make for a successful social media page founder?
Listening, passion and dedication.
Can you shortly describe a typical day on the job?
I study at university full time and work a few casual jobs. I create time for Blak Business outside of these commitments whether it is early in the morning, late at night or during lunch breaks.
So, a typical day looks like this:
- Morning: check Instagram and post updates on stories
- Day: uni/work, make any calls
- Evening: emails, content creation, posting content
What advice would you give to other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are thinking about starting an online platform?
For other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples interested in starting an online space such as a social media page, website, podcast, or blog, I would say, go for it! My advice would be, be clear on your boundaries with yourself and others so that you protect your wellbeing. We need our mob to be strong!
What have you learned about yourself through the work that you do?
Blak Business constantly reminds me how much I love working with people. I love hearing peoples stories, connecting with like-minded people and meeting people at events.
What’s been your best moment while doing your work?
It was a real honour to support Aunty Helen and the Bagot community in their fight against Woolworths Group who were trying to open a Dan Murphy’s liquor store near their dry community. I founded a petition called ‘Keep Grog Out’ as an act of solidarity with the community. 6 years after Woolworths Group started their plans, and almost 12 months after Blak Business joined the fight, Woolworths Group backed out of their decision and are no longer opening a Dan Murphy’s on that site.
And a difficult moment?
There are big highs and big lows that come with being an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, and sometimes that feels heightened in the social media space. Online we have constant access to a lot of information about things happening across the nation. Therefore, you might be reading about a deadly achievement a person or community has made, and then scroll to read about a death in custody. These moments are really difficult. This is not an experience unique to running Blak Business but one that is shared by many Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples engaging with social media.
How do you keep going when things get challenging?
Being honest in setting boundaries with myself and others helps to get through challenging times. I no longer accept direct messages from non-Indigenous peoples, the Blak Business team helps with emails, I do not have Instagram installed on my phone, and I refer a lot of queries to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses that are more appropriate for answering people’s questions.
When things get really challenging, I sign out of Blak Business for a few days. Like I said before, we need mob to be strong and so taking a break gives me space for reflecting, healing, and building resilience.
Are there any surprising or odd things that people wouldn’t expect if they picked this career?
The amount of support I receive! People assume that I would receive heaps of ‘hate’ because of the type of content Blak Business posts but in truth, it is the opposite. I’m so humbled by the people who take the time to share or comment positive words on our content.
Can you share a funny or weird story about something you experienced in your role?
It is always funny meeting people in real life after connecting with them online. On several occasions, I have met people and we’ve struggled to place each other until we say our Instagram handles.
If you want to follow, support or connect with Blak Business, check out their website or Instagram.
Keen to learn more about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements? Keep on reading:
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