Radical Generosity & Using Social Media for Good | Business with Purpose Podcast EP 258: Sharon McMahon, @SharonSaysSo
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My guest today is Sharon McMahon, of Sharon Says So. She’s a former high school government and law teacher who earned her reputation as America’s government teacher amidst the historic 2020 proceedings for her viral efforts on Instagram to educate the general public on political misinformation.
Through a simple mission to share non-partisan information about democracy, Sharon has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers online, affectionately called the “Governerds,” who look to her for truth and logic in a society plagued by bias and conspiracy.
4:55 – Sharon 101
- Her goal is to give people education so they can make their own educated opinions and not have a viewpoint shoved down their throat.
- She also has fun and doesn’t take herself very seriously.
6:09 – Entrepreneurial background
- She did door-to-door sales as a child and sold Girl Scouts cookies.
- She also created her own bookmarks and sold them to neighbors when she was 10 years old and made $50 in one weekend.
9:15 – Career path
- Sharon went to college to be a teacher but thought about going into the medical profession. She eventually determined she was destined to be a teacher.
12:22 – Businesses and Instagram
- Her career path is bizarre and was not a straight-line trajectory. She got really into knitting and people started asking her for custom knitting projects, but it wasn’t profitable.
- A customer asked her to dye some yarn, and she realized that dyeing yarn was more profitable than knitting.
- She grew her hand-dyeing business into one of the largest studios in the world and eventually sold the business to one of her employees.
- She started taking pictures of knitting patterns and projects, and people started asking her to take their pictures. She then became a photographer and eventually started Sharon Says So.
20:18 – Hot topics in a nonpartisan way
- That skill of not taking a position and providing fact-based information is something she developed in the classroom.
- She found that the more you argue with somebody about their opinions, the more deeply they begin to hold them.
23:10 – Opinions based on emotion
- Most of our opinions do not exist because somebody has rationally examined all the facts and then made a determination. We mostly make a determination and then find facts to support our opinion.
28:29 – Rapid growth and challenges
- Sharon Says So has had such rapid growth, and she constantly feel like she’s not doing enough or helping enough people.
- The amount of hate she gets is miniscule compared to the kindness people show her.
38:03 – A common bond
- Sharon and I have something in common – we each have a parent, my mother and her father, who were Vietnam veterans and died from Agent Orange exposure.
45:20 – Generosity
- She has raised millions of dollars for eliminating medical debt and helping people in need.
- Her dream has been to be rich like Oprah or Ellen and give away money to help people without a second thought.
57:35 – Get to know you
- Favorite non-living president not for political reasons? James Madison because he was fascinating and John Adams for his intelligence and principle.
- Favorite whale? Humpbacks
Most of our opinions do not exist because somebody has rationally examined all the facts and then made a determination. We mostly make a determination and then find facts to support our opinion. – Sharon
My goal is to give you education so that you can make your own educated opinions and not have a viewpoint shoved down your throat. – Sharon
That skill of not taking a position and providing fact-based information is some-thing I developed in the classroom. – Sharon
The more you argue with somebody about their opinions, the more deeply they begin to hold them. – Sharon
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