There’s a hard truth about owning a small business that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about. Maybe they are scared that it makes them appear less put together. Maybe they are afraid you won’t buy from them if they tell you these things. Whatever the reason, these hard truths about business aren’t talked about enough. I want to share these hard truths with you in hopes that you feel a little less alone.
Confession: I’m terrified of growing my business.
This website isn’t the first successful online business I’ve had – there’s been several over the last… geez, what is it now – 14 years? Time flies.
The problem is that I always seem to reach a point where I’m just sort of stuck and feel like if I push any harder, I’ll become more successful than I can handle – and honestly, I’ve reached that point in this business several times already and had to dial it back.
I know you’re probably thinking that this sounds insane. I mean, who in their right mind doesn’t want their business to be successful? Who doesn’t want to make a lot of money? Those are nice things that I am excited for. The problem is, in all of the teachings you’ll come across, very few of them tell you what the heck to do with your success and what that success will actually mean for you.
Success = Responsibility.
As my business grows, so do my responsibilities…. the list of tasks I need to do daily, the number of people who ask me questions, the more blog posts I need to write and keep updated, how careful I need to be to stay on top of the latest information and trends. It’s exhausting.
There’s a weird time in every business where the growing pains are very real. You are really hustling and making enough money to call this your full time job, but you aren’t making enough money to hire someone to help you manage the dozens of plates you’re trying to spin.
Scaling a business isn’t as simple as working harder or making more content. If it were, we’d all be millionaires.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll have enough money left over from paying your business and personal bills that you can hire a virtual assistant to handle one of your social media accounts for one month. But the ability to consistently outsource one of your necessary tasks just isn’t there yet.
So what happens? Luck runs out. Burnout happens. Sometimes you let one of those spinning plates crash to the floor.
Being an “expert” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be
We strive so hard to become the “expert”, only to realize that eventually, that dream becomes a reality turned nightmare when we’re then expected to always have all of the answers.
We scale our businesses, grow our email list, attract a bigger following… only to discover that we’re now responsible for the education of thousands of people who are looking up to us, inspired by us, and expecting us to always lead them down the right path.
So I’m terrified of growing my business… terrified of taking that next big step… terrified that I am going to let people down.
Impostor syndrome is a legit thing
I’m taking a really big leap this year. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years but didn’t feel like it was something I was worthy of – and still mostly don’t. I applied to become a contributor for the Genius Blogger Toolkit. It’s a bundle I have marketed to my following for 2 years, and something I strongly believe in.
As scared as I am of the thought of so many eyes on me, I knew that this was a leap I needed to take if I ever hope to get past this level of uncertainty and pain that I am at in my business – because frankly, I’ve been at this place for too long and it’s happened with more business ideas than I even dare count.
The problem is, when I think about the number of people who will see my work… the number of fresh eyes that will be on my website scrutinizing my content, the number of people who will be introduced to my work because of this bundle… it honestly makes me feel ill.
I feel like a fraud. I often wonder if other entrepreneurs think I am too.
I found out that someone I consider to be a really big name in the Pinterest education world looked through all of the Pinterest content and made approvals of each person’s submission – my own Pinterest Hashtag Database included. I feel intensely honored that my content was chosen, but just knowing that someone had to literally judge my content just makes me sick to my stomach.
“But Kimi, your work is amazing…”
Thank you. Seriously, you don’t know how much it really means to me every time someone takes time out of their day and reaches out to me to tell me that.
It’s not that I don’t think my work is good – on the surface, I’m pretty proud of my work and it makes me happy. But deeper down there’s this little, nagging voice that tells me that it’s never going to be good enough and that I’m wasting my time and energy.
That little, nagging voice seems to scream the loudest when I build a product or a course that no one seems interested in buying. I think it’s like that for a lot of creators. You spend so much time working on something you genuinely believe in… all signs point to “yes”… so you create a product your audience said they wanted from you only to find out that they didn’t want it enough to ever buy it.
Failure is inevitable
This isn’t meant to be so “Boo-hoo… poor me” as it’s meant to convey what it feels like to be an entrepreneur and what the failure feels like. Frankly, failure is apart of being an entrepreneur and everyone’s going to experience it in varying degrees… I know this much to be true.
But it’s these failures, however small, that make being a business owner so hard sometimes. There are going to be days where you just feel like quitting… just walking away from your desk and leaving it all behind for a “traditional” job.
I left my “traditional” job to work to put money into my pocket – rather than someone else’s.
I don’t know what your reason is, but being able to build a business, make the rules, call the shots… these are big reasons why I work for myself, and why I know I will never be able to work for someone else again. Being able to put money into my own pocket and to run a business on my own terms has been everything.
The good usually outweighs the bad
I wish more entrepreneurs were honest about all of the bad stuff – because I think they are a very real part of business for everyone – side hustling bloggers included. But despite all of these negative feelings, being in business for yourself is worth it.
It often means late nights, not getting as much sleep as you should, wasting a lot of time making a product no one ever buys, feeling defeated and drained… but it also means more time with your family, vacation days off, the ability to decide when you work and when you don’t, being able to take the day off because your little one scraped their knee and needs extra cuddles that day, not needing to tell someone when you’re going to take a break or go to the bathroom.
Being an entrepreneur has given me freedom.
I work really hard, but it’s at least at my own pace. I take days off for mental health and safe care. I have days where the only work I do is answer questions in my Facebook group from my phone while I binge something on Netflix.
It’s a roller-coaster in every way
There’s a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns to business. Although the ride to the top is scary, exciting, and it gives me anxiety… even if the downward motion does make me feel queasy… despite all of the twists and the turns…
The thrill of the ride as a whole is amazing.
Are you in business for yourself? – What’s been your experience as a business owner? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.