Ready to start a business? Here’s a fun look at what’s coming!

Start a Business they said… it’ll be great they said…

There’s a special time in every girl’s life when she wakes one morning with clarity and wisdom thinking “I freaking hate my job”. Once she’s hit that awareness stage, the next thought might just be “I should start a business”. It’ll be great. I’ll be great. I know my stuff. I kickass at Instagram, what could go wrong? The horrific truth of the whole “start a business” dream is that when it goes right, it could also be going horribly wrong.

When things start to go right

You started a little work at home business to have more control of your own time. To spend quality time with your kids. To be there for “Student of the Week” awards and to go to the doctor/dance class/soccer match. For a while, this goes swimmingly. You’re super mum. You’re bringing home the nitrate free, lean cut bacon and turning it into super healthy zucchini slice for the lunch boxes. People want your recipes on Pinterest. Your house is tidy. Your meals are balanced and nutritious. Your bank account isn’t quite what it used to be but it’s still something to be proud of.

Then working from home turns to crappola

Your business starts to grow. People LOVE what you do. They want your stuff. They ask you a million questions and want to buy more, more, more. You’re working until midnight and up at dawn. The money is rolling in. But there are SO MANY play dates that you’ve committed to. You become the mum at the play centre that spends the whole time on the phone. While you attended the soccer match, you missed his big assist because you were replying to an enquiry on Facebook. Your house is kind of grotty. You start to order Lite N Easy, pretending it’s for your health but mostly it’s about not having to cook much. The lunch boxes get filled with pre-packaged food with more e-numbers than ingredients. Deep down inside, you start to feel like a failure. You suddenly remember your crappy job fondly.

Failure is a woman’s default setting

I can sense the feminist outrage through the monitor… hear me out. To thrive in business you’ve probably got a touch of perfectionist in you, you might be a bit ambitious and you might be a tad competitive. These are all the things that help you grow your business but they’re also all the things that make you feel like a failure.

The doubled edged sword of business ownership is also a sexist issue. If you have a partner, you’ll note he’s not feeling guilty about lunch box contents. He’s possibly a bit whiney about the amount of time you spend on the business, but when he works overtime, he expects a foot rub. He’s never even been to a dance class… Arguing with him about division of labour is likely both time consuming and contributing to the angst. It might be time to accept him for the lazy bugger he is, on the condition that he shut up about how much you work.
We’re only two short generations from being told our place is in the home. The hangover from that is that we expect ourselves to be perfect housekeepers even though we HATE every minute of housekeeping. Even your mum might even be judging you for your sticky floors and piles of dishes. She’s only ONE generation away. Her generation was told to get out of the house and work… as a secretary or in customer service. To be a support to the men, bringing home money to support the family. The expectation of women to do it all was on the rise – and it’s still rising like a balloon full of hot air. Yes, there are wise, wise, wonderful women from generations past that broke the mould and did incredible things… but society judged them too. They probably had that same nagging failure feeling you have.

How to have it all and eat cake too

CTFD. Calm the failure down. Take a breath and divide your day into things you love and things you hate. Kids go on the love list, invoicing on the hate. Your core business practice on the love list, mopping the floor on the hate. Pinterest on the love list, updating your files on the hate. Once you have your love/hate list, check out that bank balance. Outsourcing may seem like an investment you just can’t afford but a few hours of bookkeeping, house cleaning and data entry a week will only break the bank if you can’t manage to make up the difference.
Allot the hours. Three hours cleaning a week can be added to family time – phone free, doing nice things and taking time to CTFD for yourself. Three hours of data entry and one hour of invoicing a week can be spent getting more stock/taking on another client – which will return good money (put your prices up a tad if need be). The stress feelings will dissipate. The feeling of failure will be calmed (but probably never gone – it’s just how it is) and your time will be well spent.
At first you might take a hit to the bank account. BUT as long as your increased sales make enough to cover these relatively cheap services, you are going to end up winning. You’ll also end up not having to clean, maintain records or invoice – if that’s not the marker of success I don’t know what is. Eat the Lite n Easy with a nice glass of wine and some cake to follow. Your success is, after all worth celebrating.

About the Author: Dana Flannery is a successful “have it all” small business woman who has proudly not cleaned her house in well over a year. She is still affected by failure feelings – but she’s never met a parent who isn’t!

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