As an entrepreneur, you may or may not have an office to go to. You may or may not keep regular office hours. Regardless, you will work a LOT. If you’re just starting out, you may find yourself working around the clock. Everything becomes related to marketing and growing your business.
One thing to keep in mind is that we still live in a world where the majority of people are not their own bosses – they go to J-O-B-S every day where someone else sets the schedule, dictates their work flow and load, manages their performance, and most importantly, pays them. Having a J-O-B is normal to them; being your own boss and/or running your own business is odd. As a result, these well-meaning people may have some misperceptions about your business.
Here are some things you are likely to hear when you strike out on your own as an entrepreneur, and responses you can offer to help enlighten them a bit.
COMMENT #1: You’re so lucky you don’t have a job so you can attend all your son’s Little League games.
ANSWER #1. Luck has nothing to do with it. I chose to save up my money, did my research, selected a business for which I have both passion and skill, left my corporate job, and now spend 70 hours a week working. The fact that I can arrange to have Tuesday and Thursday afternoons open to watch Joey play baseball is due to good planning, not good fortune.
COMMENT #2. Oh, sure, you’ll go drinking with your business pals, but you won’t come out to party with us.
ANSWER #2. In order to build my business, I’m probably hitting at least a half-dozen networking events a week. Some of those happen to be mixers that fall at cocktail hour, but I’d hardly call it “going out drinking” with my business pals. In fact, I may have one glass of wine at a Friday night mixer, but other than that, I never drink at these events. Number one, I don’t want to do anything to put my reputation at risk. Number two, as soon as I get home, I’ve still got 5 hours of work ahead of me.
COMMENT #3. Honey, since you’re going to be home anyway, will you just be there for the roofer, washing machine repairman, plumber, cable installer, and carpet cleaner?
ANSWER #3. Well, dear, if I don’t have a client meeting, prospecting meeting, networking meeting, teleconference, Webinar, or huge deadline for a project, I’ll be happy to let the roofer, washing machine repairman, plumber, cable installer, carpet cleaner in and supervise their every move, because all I’d be doing anyway is watching reruns of Law and Order.
COMMENT #4. Mommy, play with us!!!
ANSWER #4. Kids, when Mommy is home in the daytime, she’s still working. As long as the office door is mostly shut, you need to keep yourselves busy and knock before you come in. When the office door is wide open, it’s OK for you to come in and talk with me. I’ll make sure we have time to play every day, but we’ll have to agree when that is and for how long.
COMMENT #5. I wish I got paid to go have coffee three times a week.
ANSWER #5. I wish I got paid to go have coffee three times a week, too. What I’m doing at those coffee meetings is prospecting, networking, connecting, pitching my next project to a potential joint venture partner, interviewing vendors and subcontractors. Most of the time, by the end of the meeting, my $4 coffee is still sitting there untouched.
COMMENT #6. Wow – must be nice to sleep in till 7 a.m. I’ve got to get up at 4:30 to get to work on time.
ANSWER #6. Yes, 4:30 a.m. is quite early to get up, but chances are you went to bed long before midnight, 1, or 2 a.m. While you’ve been quietly in dreamland for hours, I’m still writing proposals, answering e-mails, managing my social media accounts, checking my Google Analytics, and doing client work. So if I get to sleep till 7 a.m., I may have had five good hours of sleep – not exactly the recommended eight hours.
COMMENT #7. You’re spending all that time on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube – I thought you said you were working.
ANSWER #7. You got me. You’re right. While you’re busy posting pictures from your weekend camping trip on Facebook, Tweeting about how your neighbor’s cat keeps killing birds and dropping them on your front porch, and scanning YouTube for the most outrageous videos, I’m also on there … making sure my blog posts are coming through correctly, introducing and connecting people who should meet each other, following links to useful industry articles and reposting them, editing videos, and building my networks. But it’s got nothing to do with work.
Being an entrepreneur can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do – especially if you truly find a way to turn your passion into profit. But don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s easy, or there’s a shortcut you can take to success. Making a go at a new business venture involves hard work, and lots of it. You can make it easier on yourself by surrounding yourself with people who, if they don’t exactly understand your work, at least value and support it. You may face a bit of an uphill battle to win over the JOB-ers … but it’s worth the effort to have them in your corner.
Diva Toolbox Contributor LAURA ORSINI is an editorial, marketing, and design consultant who teaches socially conscious speakers, coaches, and authors to think like marketers. Subscribe to her blog, Marcie Brock – Book Marketing Maven at http://bit.ly/marciebrockbookmktmaven , friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/writemarketdesign , or follow @phxazlaura on Twitter.