I like to keep it pretty positive, but there’s something I need to address. This isn’t just for my sake, this is for all of my friends and the friends I have yet to meet who have started their own business. This is also for everyone that seems to think “owning a business” means “excessive free time,” “in need of money,” and “unemployed.”
I was asked this morning, for about the third time in six months, if I wanted to nanny this summer. The exact sum up upon asking was, “you mentioned looking for a new client or two on Facebook so I thought you could use the money.”
Woah. Let’s back the jolly trolly up a bit.
On the one hand, this person and I don’t speak regularly. She probably thought she was being nice. Helpful, even. But let me just get one thing straight: my business has never included nanny work. It is a writing service. It is a social media management service. It is writing copy for large and small businesses on a variety of topics including law, healthcare, automobiles, non-profit, television, marketing and more.
By working for myself, I am not unemployed. By working for myself, I’m not looking for any available opportunity that will put money in my back account. By working for myself, I’m not skipping out my front door at 11:00am every day singing “I’m done! Time to go shopping!”
By working for myself, I’m employing myself because I know my own value is worth more than the 40k salary and “great benefits” a big business thinks they can recruit me for. By working for myself, I take on clients that are in line with what I do and only what I do: writing and social media. By working for myself, I have 60+ hour weeks and I have 20- hour weeks. Business ebbs and flows as it does anywhere else on the planet. It doesn’t mean I’m writing 500 word articles for $5 on About.com and it sure as hell doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly become a nanny.
My seeking out new business is just that: seeking new business. It doesn’t mean I’m circling the drain pipe. It means that if you have a referral, send it my way because I’ve got the time to help new clients this month. It means I’m growing as a business. Branching out.
So the next time you have the urge to offer your self-employed friend an odd job that makes them a fast twenty bucks, think: have they asked you directly for such an opportunity? If not, hire the help from outside your friend pool and call up your self-employed buddy to ask them out for a drink.
Starting a business isn’t easy – it takes guts. But the truth is that for me, life without guts is nothing more than a death sentence.