Small Business Week was two weeks ago, and I tried to sit down at least half a dozen times to write some thoughts I would like to share in “celebration” of this time of year. I had hoped to be on my game enough to share inspiring words about the glories of running a small business, however, as it turns out, I spend most days being too busy working in my small business to do any working on my business, so I am a bit behind getting this out.
I have never been good at juggling, but if this life-thing wasn’t a balancing act enough, I added the full-sized running chainsaws to the mix of balls I am keeping in the air when I added “Small Business Owner” to my resume in January 2014.
It’s been an incredible experience so far learning the art of trying to build a business around your life, but if any of you have had the challenge of trying to turn a profit from your kitchen table to help pay the electric bill (literally!), you understand well that it’s much more likely your life is a mere shadow that peaks out, here and there, in the mix of all things small business.
This is especially true in the early years.
The truth is, we are all “busy” by way of our own personal definitions, and one type of career path certainly should never out-rank another, but I’ve decided that sharing a little more of the behind the scenes of a home-based businesswoman might just be the thing that would greatly help someone like the just-starting-out business owner I used to be…back in the days of filling orders while changing diapers, and making darned sure you have all the ingredients to make spaghetti for dinner that night. It takes the juggling act of life and puts it on over drive!
The truth is, there is nothing easy about any of it….
I would say yes….mostly.
Fast forward to now….this is a picture of me, in the trenches, during Small Business Week. It is not a fancy staged photo of my finest products, a posed headshot of me in a sharp business-y looking blazer, or a catchy marketing graphic full of the best phrases that will make you want to buy what I am selling.
Not even close.
This image is the “real” me, after being up most of the night making the bows, home plate signs, and shipping labels for 40+ baseball wreath orders that still needed to be assembled and shipped all on that same day by 5pm to arrive in time for Mother’s Day. In fact, over one hundred baseball wreaths were handmade and shipped over the course of just that week alone!!
The amazing thing is, many of my local customers do not even know that I have an online component to my business, and I am sure many of my online clientele have no idea I make things for local stores and events that are not available online. Heck, I even have members of my own friends and family group who do not truly even understand “what I do,” and probably wonder if there is anything left on daytime TV or Netflix I haven’t seen yet, with all the “free time” I enjoy as a work-from-home businessperson.
But none of that is the point today.
What I hope to communicate, is, if you are a person out there either sitting in a cubicle at work, or lying awake at night with a glimmer of an idea to launch your idea into a home-based business, I hope you know that it’s entirely possible. There are many “experts” that will tell you to first write a business plan, wait until you have the proper funding, plot out your potential pitfalls, and organize your business model…but the truth is, all you really need is a little belief in the wild possibilities and a whole lot of passion for creating something larger than yourself.
However, let me be the first to tell you how challenging it will be, and doing things in a logical way is not advice that should just be cast aside.
With every new summit, there will be another valley. Not everyone will even understand what “working from home” looks like from an outside perspective, and you’d better get used to that, and carry on anyway. You never know who is watching and who you may impact! But most importantly, understand your “why.” At the end of the day, it will be what you come back to. The reason you rise every morning is to do it all again.
It is tough to admit, but perfectionism keeps a person like me ducking behind the polished photos of what everyone thinks small business looks like, and never wanting to appear from the outside looking in that things are not running smoothly.
Trust me when I tell you, days when things are “running smoothly” can sometimes feel like only a glimmer of what you will experience when you first get started, but it is NOT a reason to NOT start!!
I hope you will get a little encouragement knowing that the “messy middles” are what make up the most real and relatable parts of what running a business from home is really like, and if this reaches even one of you, it was worth the time to put it out there. Because, “putting it out there” is quite possibly the most difficult part of it all…
I am rooting for you, my friend, and if you ever would like to ask a real person, real questions about being a home-based businessperson, I would love to hear from you!