This is a post for fellow business owners, or those who are thinking of opening up a small business. I get told a lot of different things as a business owner, most of them very positive.
"How do you do it with 2 littles and one on the way?"
"What's the secret to balancing your roles of mom/business owner?"
"It must keep you super busy!"
"What an accomplishment!"
I often smile and say thank you, and leave it at that... but the truth to it all is that there are a lot of things left unsaid. I don't have it all figured out, I'm still learning how to balance my work and being a mama. And some days, I cry a lot. Plus, there are often things that are unsaid about running a business that I feel I need to share from my heart.
Recently, I've seen a few posts on some local networking group from new, small businesses who feel defeated and discouraged because they feel like they don't have many sales, or don't have many followers on Instagram, or they feel like their followers and fans on social media are not engaging with them, or they aren't part of enough giveaways. I realized that I'm not the only one that has insecurities surrounding their small business. I want to encourage those who might feel the same way or have insecurities. The truth is, a lot of business owners feel this way, even if they are seen as a established small business. It is never easy to run a small business. I want to share a little bit about the vulnerabilities and sensitive heart matters on running a business on social media in this post.
I'm just going to say it. There are a lot of things that make my heart feel vulnerable when running my business. For starters, it is easy for myself to compare myself to others, and I often have a tendency to compare my successes to those of other shops. Don't get me wrong. when I see that another shop has reached 10,000 sales, I am extremely happy for them, but there is a part of me that wonders how many sales I've made to date and how that compares to 10,000 sales. The next one is hard for me to admit. When I see a good giveaway being hosted on social media, I sometimes wish I was invited to participate in it and I sometimes wonder if I even would make a good fit for any of these giveaways. Or, sometimes my heart beats a little unsteadily when I see that someone that I "follow" on Instagram doesn't follow me back, or worse.... unfollows me! I'm even embarrassed to even say all of this out loud and I'm resisting the urge to hit backspace because it all sounds so neurotic. But the truth is, I could go on and on! I know I'm not the only one to have these thoughts because I see posts about them all the time in my networking groups.
In short: There are times I feel insecure as a business owner. I think the reason behind all of this is because running a business puts us in a very vulnerable position. We pour our hearts out into our businesses, invest our precious time and money into it, and it's only natural to feel that way. It's only natural to feel a bit vulnerable! But I think that it's important to remind ourselves this:
What success looks like to one person is not the same as what success looks like to another person.
As small business owners, we need to give ourselves room, grace and patience. The beauty of running a business from home is that each business has a unique backstory to it! Some open up a business because they need the additional income. Some open up businesses because they have found something they enjoy making and want an excuse to make more of. Some business owners are stay at home moms. Others are working moms. Some businesses will see an overnight growth and huge spikes in sales, but others will grow slowly but steadily. The story behind each business is different, and each business owner's life is different. Because of all these differences- each business is going to grow and thrive differently. I think that the road to success for small businesses begins with pacing our hearts and our work loads. I'll write another post on some of the practical things I do to balance my business with my mothering duties another day, but I wanted this post to be focused on these heart matters. What we can do is encourage each other, collaborate with each other, and lift each other up when insecurities hit. Collaboration, not competition! If you're a small business- whether you're seen as "big" or "small" keep doing your thing! Be encouraged, because what success looks like to one person is not the same as what success looks like to another person.