In general, I think people like to act like they have it together. I do. I like to be seen as confident and competent, which is especially important if you have a business and are trying to sell things to people.
What we don’t do is talk about the other side of entrepreneurship: the side that sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked my tooshie off to be able to work hard at work I love, and I wouldn’t change it. But it’s not all unicorns and sprinkle donuts.
Here are 10 entrepreneur confessions about the imperfect side of running a business:
#1. I’ve shed literal tears over my business – a lot.
So I’m kind of a crier anyway. I cried watching Beauty & the Beast in the movie theater – not kidding. While it’s not a bad thing to be emotional, I think most of us try to keep our feels on the inside when it comes to business. Boss ladies are badasses and all that.
I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve broken down in tears over running a business. There are so many crappy things about being an entrepreneur: fluctuating income, nightmare clients, criticism, self-doubt, imposter syndrome. The bad emotions creep in sometimes. I’ve learned to cry it out and then put my big girl pants on and take action to fix whatever had the tears flowing.
#2. I promised to zero my inboxes months ago…
and I haven’t. I have a few different email accounts. None of them are organized. One of them has like 7,000 unopened emails that are mostly junk. I keep telling myself if I just get it in order, I’ll be able to make it stay organized, but I just can’t get up the motivation to deal with the mess.
#3. Vacationing kills my work mojo.
I hate taking vacations. It stresses me out to work extra hard to prep for vacation, then work extra hours when I come home to make sure I’m on top of everything. Nothing in the middle is so relaxing that I stop caring about the stress surrounding vacations.
You know what I love? Workations. I find it very relaxing to lighten my workload for a week, power work in the mornings, then spend my afternoon drinking wine and hanging out with awesome people. It’s the best of both worlds.
#4. I hate interviewing people to work for me.
I hired a friend and a relative to work for me at my virtual assistant company in December, which was a huge help, but in April I was starting to feel the weight of my to-do list and client load again. I needed to delegate more. I had exhausted my personal connections so, naturally, I put out a request for proposal in some virtual assistant groups and decided I’d interview some people.
First, let me say that virtual assistants are sharks. We’re a great bunch – I’m not putting us down – but an RFP causes a frenzy. There are just so many VAs out there that are trying to get a start that when a job offer crops up, they go nuts. Even with very specific criteria my potential team members had to meet, I got SIXTY applications. I narrowed that down to 12 to interview. Some of the interviews were so great, some of them made me cringe. The whole process was exhausting. By the end, I was just ready for it to be over.
Luckily, I found two virtual assistants I adore who work really hard and get stuff DONE. My team is a huge blessing in my life, but I’m in no rush to do it again.
#5. I suck at eating frogs.
There’s that popular saying in the entrepreneur world about eating your frog (the worst task on your to-do list) first thing in the morning so that it’s the worst thing you have to do all day. I’m bad at this. I let tasks that don’t thrill me sit there on the list until I can’t procrastinate anymore.
#6. I’m really bad about updating my own social media.
I preach social media marketing to my clients, to my blog readers, and to my business friends. Managing social media for clients pays my bills. Managing my own social media does not. At least, not directly. When I’ve been on Facebook for 6 hours doing stuff for clients, sometimes I just don’t want to look at it anymore. There’s no energy left to craft my own content.
Giving my team a second round of applause here for helping me with this!
#7. I don’t have a college degree.
“Where did you learn social media/Wordpress/[insert other skill here]?” Half the time people are impressed I taught myself and half the time I get serious stink face from people who think a degree is everything.
Yes, I have a certificate in massage therapy from a 1200 hour program. No, my formal training isn’t particularly relevant to business and the one business class the school offered in 2009 didn’t even mention social media as a form of marketing.
However, there’s a lot to be said for self-education and experience. The clients that hire me and recommend me to others see that I’m good at what I do – no degree required.
#8. I said I’d never own a business.
I grew up watching my parents stress over their business and work 60 hour weeks. No. Thank. You. I said I would never own a business. Now I can’t imagine NOT being an entrepreneur. It took me a long time to realize that you can make money doing something you love, that people proclaiming 4-hour work weeks are full of B.S., and that the stress and long hours are worth it. AND that I don’t have to do business the same way my parents do.
#9. I refuse to go to local networking groups.
I have no desire to participate in my local networking meetups at all. In fact, after the stories I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs I trust, I won’t even show up to an event.
There are two ends of the networking spectrum where I live. On one end are the stale old guys who are still doing business like computers don’t exist. They meet up, drink beers with their ol’ boy pals, and don’t socialize with newcomers. On the other (unfortunately more popular) end are the grown adults who act like we’re all still in high school. I don’t have time for that drama.
#10. I’m afraid of getting rich.
This is probably my darkest entrepreneur confession. I’m terrified of having lots of money. I’m completely turned off when I hear the words “six figures.”
This mostly comes from growing up around crappy rich people. You know, the stereotypical ones who cheat on their wives with younger women, are rude to waiters, pretend to know stuff like wine tasting, and mostly love to talk about how much money they have. Gross.
The truth is (I’m learning from lots of personal development books) that not all rich people suck. Not all rich people are corporate emperors who sit on their thrones and exploit the little man. It’s OK to have money. Money is a tool and doesn’t turn you into a sleazeball.
I am working on my money mindset.
So there you have it – glad I got that off my chest! Business is imperfect, just like everything else in life. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking they’ve got it all together!
Feeling brave? Confess in the comments!