I’ll let you guys in on a little secret.
I don’t always love my business.
Some days, I hate it.
That may be taboo to say in the world of entrepreneurship. We’ve been fed so many tales of how being an entrepreneur is sexy and savvy and liberating.
We listen to the Gary Vaynerchuks of the world who talk about the hustle and grind, how you just can’t stop, that somehow living off of ramen noodles is part of the glamour of being an entrepreneur. You might be broke and have no social life, but you still better love every freaking minute of it because otherwise you have no business being here.
Case in point, I went to a panel event recently and lo and behold, this is what one of the speakers shared:
“I can never turn my phone off. When I bring my kids to school, I’m working. When I’m with them at practice, I’m working. But I love everything about what I do. I work all the time because I love it. Work doesn’t feel like work to me because I love every second.”
NOBODY feels that way. You’re telling me you love doing your taxes? Sifting through all your receipts and inputting them? You love dealing with poor performing employees? Supplier issues? Broken products? Difficult customers? Scrambling to find clients? Working weekends all summer instead of lazing about sipping sangria on the porch (I would LOVE a lazy sangria porch day).
Maybe someday when you’re actually Gary Vaynerchuk and have a team you can delegate the humdrum to, then perhaps. But most of us are not in that boat. I definitely am not.
Truth is, even if you’re the most passionate person in the world, you won’t love everything you do. ESPECIALLY if you’re a startup or a solopreneur. There’s many things to dislike, and I’m going to tell a truth that’s been buried for ages:
Work feels like work. Running a business is work. Creating a brand is hard as fuck, and life can be pretty thankless.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my business. When I think long-term about what J and I are building, I am filled with so much excitement (and anxiety) I feel I could burst. I enjoy the work I do, many parts of it I love. But there are many parts of running a business day to day that are just awful.
Like waking up at 5AM to pack all our inventory for a farmer’s market, unloading things in the rain, working 50 hours during the week and then eight hours on a Saturday to sell products instead of spending time with family. Having to fire poor performing employees. Dealing with lost packages or broken inventory. Struggling with uncertainty. Scrambling to find contracts or part-time work so you can still pay the bills. Trying to find time to still be a good mom/daughter/sister/friend.
But I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I love being an entrepreneur. I love building something that’s my own, having creative and strategic freedom, connecting with other entrepreneurs and likeminded people, doing work I’m fucking passionate about. I’ve made so many new friends, learned different skills, and grew so much as a person.
But don’t buy into the myth that entrepreneurship should be beach days and sparkles all the time. When people used to say things like “work doesn’t feel like work” to me, I used to feel guilty. Did I not love my business? Was I unhappy? Am I not cut out for this?
I still have those days when I wonder if I should just pack it all in and get a 9 to 5 (health benefits would definitely be nice). But a year and a half into it, i realize there’s nothing wrong with having off days. There’s nothing wrong with you if sometimes you feel like a mountain pile of crap everyone keeps shitting on, if you just want to give up, if somedays you just hate everything.
I’ve been there, my friend. I will be there, again and again.
Let’s stop making each other feel bad.
Work is work. It’s okay to admit it.