There are aspects of my business that I love, but most of it I could do without. As small and micro business owners, nearly every single one of us starts a business because we’re passionate about something. We take a skill or craft we are good at or enjoy doing and turn it into a (hopefully) profitable business. That’s the goal. That’s the dream: to get paid doing what we love.
But what I (and others) didn’t understand at first was that the lions-share of my time as a business owner would be on administrative tasks and NOT doing what I love.
Today I ignored my computer and phone for a few hours and instead sat in my favorite chair because I didn’t feel like working on “stuff”.
On the glass table opposite of my chair sits my 1958 Smith Corona Electric vintage typewriter. And next to that…a yellow folder with a tall pile of papers, the first and second draft of a book I’m working on. They’ve been untouched for longer than I want to admit. I wanted so much to pull up to my typewriter and get lost in the writing of my book, but to be honest, I feel guilty. Guilty because there’s so much that needs my attention (One of my websites sits half-finished, my email isn’t working at the moment, I have posts to plan for a client…)
Every day I think of reasons why I can’t do what I love – the very thing I hope to do all day, every day, and make money at it!
Instead, my days are filled with bookkeeping, client work, planning, meetings, website issues, and endless other tasks.
As owners with few or no employees, we’re responsible for the daily minutia of operating a business. Each task and duty takes away time from engaging in the creative process that drew us into starting a business in the first place.
At times it can feel like we were lured into the romance and glamor of business ownership only to find it can have a bitter bite (Think, Homer’s Odyssey & the temptation of the Sirens)
But, there’s purpose in the process.
It’s true that you can get paid to do what you love, but you have to understand it’s a process that involves doing the things you don’t love, first.
Mentoring and writing are, without a doubt, what I love to do, and what I want to do in and for business. My dream is to travel the coastline in an RV while doing copywriting work, writing books, and serving mentoring clients over Zoom. It’s my ideal business, engaging in all the activities I love while earning an income.
That’s my goal. And I’m not there…yet.
Out of a workweek, I spend maybe 5% of my time on what I really love to do and 95% of my time on other “stuff”. Stuff being day-to-day tasks and paid work that isn’t exactly what I want to do.
Do you ever think: “It would be nice to get paid to do what I love without all the other ‘stuff'”?
How many of us started our business without realizing the real cost?
It would have been nice to know upfront that doing what I love (for income) would involve years of doing those things I didn’t love – and for little pay. For 85% of small businesses, they succumb to the reality of such a cost of time and doing the unfun stuff. Discouraged and out of money, close their doors in the first few years.
Going through the process of doing that which you don’t love in order to do what you love is necessary for a couple reasons:
- To prove ourselves in our craft.
- To be good at business. Because being a good photographer doesn’t mean you’re good at business. (hint: if you build it, they don’t come without good marketing)
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Only people who put in months and years of time while no one is noticing until prepared and positioned for sudden, explosive growth.MicroBiz Chick
Very few are willing to tell the aspiring writer or floral designer that they’ll spend years doing the mundane and their work will go largely unseen before an opportunity arises and thereby launches a profitable career.
Social posts and well-meaning friends and family tell them, “Go for it!”, but fail to mention they’ll have to do their craft for pennies and their clients will be relatives, friends, and friends of friends for longer than they want before they’ve earned the respect and reputation needed for quality clientele.
DO YOUR TIME WITH PREPARATION IN MIND
One-on-one coaching is one of the favorite parts of my business. I thrive off the personal interaction and being able to see their faces light up as we brainstorm ideas to make their business better. My first coaching client came from a blog post I wrote. She paid me $50 for one hour and I drove 35 minutes (one way) to meet her. I loved it and knew I wanted to do more. (To add a little perspective, during my years as a boutique owner, I hired a few different business coaches. Their prices ranged from $350 – $1000/hour! And I had to go to their office or talk on the phone; they certainly didn’t come to me.)
I had to be willing to start somewhere – as a nobody.
I had to do the same thing with writing. Writing is my delight. I’ll write about anything. Last week I wrote six radio PSA’s for a client and afterward told my husband that I could do those all day. At the very beginning, I offered to write blog posts for a few dollars, just so I could get experience. For two years, I wrote hundreds of blog posts but with research, writing, meetings, editing…I was making around $2-$3/hour for my work. Not much of a motivation, but it what’s I needed to start.
These days I make a lot more when I write, but I don’t get to write very often. Most of my client work involves doing other tasks as I, again, build my reputation among larger clients who no longer fall in the “friend of a friend” category!
I’m still putting in my time doing what I don’t love so that one day I can get paid to focus on doing what I love.
I have to keep in mind that every day, every client, every project is preparation for doing MORE of what I love.
Have you ever thought about having a mentor for your business? I’ll brainstorm ideas with you, coach on next steps, train in business basics, marketing, social media, creating graphics, understand and communicating with your target audience, and cash flow management. Send me a message below and we’ll get you on the calendar for a video appointment.