The #Girlboss on Instagram Vs. Real Female Entrepreneurs

You probably don’t know the real entrepreneurs—because they’re too busy working

The real work is not done on Instagram. Gili Benita/Unsplash

My millennial team members are pressuring me to revamp my brand in favor of the new, chic fempreneur aesthetic that every young businesswoman seems to be obsessed with.

Here are some things that I have been asked to post on social media and the reality of what it actually takes to pull off these photos during the workweek.

Social Media: Post photos of your manicured hands typing.

Social Media Reality: My nails are always chipped. I care more about what I’m typing than if my nails are done for an impromptu—but posed—Instagram post.

Social Media: Post photos of what you’re drinking.

Social Media Reality: I don’t have time to do a photo shoot of my macha latte against a marble backdrop. I’m lucky if I get the almond milk to foam, let alone having anything that’s Instagram ready. Maybe on a Saturday, but definitely not during the workweek.

Social Media: Post selfies while you’re working.

Social Media Reality: Unless I’m going on-air, I’m certainly not hair and makeup ready for a selfie shoot. I don’t wear makeup unless I’m doing a segment, and my hair isn’t blown out unless I’m making an appearance. So, is it worth it for me to do my hair and makeup for a selfie shoot mid-day? Absolutely not.

Social Media: Post photos with all of your colleagues.

Social Media Reality: Many of the people I work with are spread out all over the U.S. I run a virtual business and have a virtual team. This is not a sorority; I don’t have time to post fake photos and show off our camaraderie. The majority of digital businesses today are run this way, which makes me wonder if people are taking photos with paid actors to show how big their “teams” are.

Social Media: Post photos of what you’re reading.

Social Media Reality: Most of what I read is online. Am I supposed to take an iPhone photo of my iPad to show what I’m reading?

Social Media: Post live updates throughout the day on Instagram Stories.

Social Media Reality: Here is the update: I’m sitting at my desk, staring at my computer, writing back to editors and clients, and trying to run my business. I don’t know how to make the reality of that anymore interesting than it is. It’s not glamorous; it’s actual work.

While I understand everyone wants to be a #GirlBoss and #Fempreneur, the truth is that you are being sold a bag of fake followers. Being a Girl Boss means real hustle and real ups and downs—most of which are not on social media. This overly glamorized view of female business owners is potentially detrimental to aspiring entrepreneurs. It leaves out the true struggle that comes with running a business, which can include depression, cash flow issues, choosing your business over love, and a whole host of other issues that you won’t see on Facebook.

If you’re a successful business owner, show people what that really means. Stop pretending. You may have more followers being a #girlboss, and your hair may be on fleek, but are you really teaching future millennial entrepreneurs anything? If all they see is an aesthetic filled with marble, perfect manicures and cute notebooks, are you playing dress up or running a business?

As the business owner of a social media agency, I can unequivocally say that brand building is unfortunately becoming more important than the foundation of the brand itself. Social media has made it incredibly easy for any hole in the wall to hang up a virtual shingle. Add a videographer and a photographer, and you have an overnight Instagram sensation.

If we’re all racing to have lifestyle photos taken of our otherwise boring lives, are we really being “real” on social? If we’re recreating reality to pretend that it’s real, that’s an outright sham.

My hat goes off to the real #GirlBosses, the ones you probably don’t even know exist because they’re too busy working.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a public relations and social media Agency. Kris Ruby is a frequent on air TV contributor and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit or

The #Girlboss on Instagram Vs. Real Female Entrepreneurs