This picture was taken of me when I was in Charlotte, NC while my husband and I were there visiting for a conference he was attending for work. On one of the days I was there while he was at his conference, I sat on a park bench alone in a beautiful park where I knew I wanted to focus on business and make some new goals. I sat there with no other distractions and listened deep down and realised that it was time that I start up a blog again, but one that was different than it was before, if you remember the old one. I want it to be real talk about real life things because there’s nothing like finding that one person willing to share what actually goes on behind the scenes that makes you scream AMEN! THANK YOU for saying what I was thinking. You GET me. So I hope to show you what it’s really like…the good, the bad and the ugly!
So let’s get to it. Owning your own business. Today my focus is on people with “small” businesses like mine because I’m sure you understand the triumphs and struggles – on a smaller and more relatable scale.
The thought of being an entrepreneur and owning your own business – the American (uh wait, Canadian) dream, right?! Most times, absolutely yes! That popular question of “What do you do for a living?” is asked. The answer with passion about what you do and then the popular and genuine answer from that person who asked of “OH! That’s so great/neat/cool” comes along. People are fascinated when people own their own business, I can truly sense they think it’s really cool. But they’re also a bit intimidated and freaked out by it all if they’re not a business owner. I know a lot of people think that it seems like something they’d love to do in a dream life, and others it makes them want to vomit at the thought of that being their life – the risk – the unknown – the stress of not knowing how much money will be coming in – oh yeah – this is REAL!
The biggest and best achievement I’ve felt so far in having my own business that I’ve built from nothing into something is the way I’ve made other people feel.
The furniture I’ve transformed either to sell or I’ve transformed for people to use as beautiful treasures in their homes makes me feel crazy grateful for what I do.
The way somehow, someway, I am impacting even a small number of people on this planet to just go for it and create some art or start up their own business makes me feel super happy as a human.
The inspiration I can instill in others to create their own beautiful art from something that could have been in a landfill into something that is treasured makes me proud.
When someone has taken my online course to learn to paint furniture to how I see them transform their own items after they’ve taken it makes them feel like they’ve achieved something, inspired and confident makes me say to myself: “That’s it right there. That’s your why of why you do it all.”
Most days, I’m feeling mighty fine and confident in the direction I’m going and what I need to do to crush those big goals I have. I have little signs along the way saying YASSS you are kicking butt and look how far you’ve come! If I could be a GIF on Instagram most days of the year, I’d be the Oprah one with her hands waving in the air like a crazy person.
And then there are those days, which per year I can luckily count on one or two of my hands for how horrible owning a business can make a person feel. One day you are super confident and feeling like you’re headed in the right direction and on top of the world, and the next you can feel like utter crap about yourself and mutter “What am I doing with my life?”, “Why did I EVER decide to do this?”, “This is taking too long, I should give up” or “I regret doing this/that”.
AND OMG if you’re a furniture painter you will totally understand this – can I please mention the grimacing face and how angry you feel just like I do when you get those comments that can make you feel like the Hulk like: “You can’t paint that!” or “I’m so glad you aren’t painting that” on the rare occasion you decide to show some wood grain. There isn’t a comment that gives me more Hulky feelings than those types, folks. I’ve tried so hard over the years to get a thicker skin when I get ignorant comments like telling me that I *cannot do* (shudder) what my business does or applauding me when I’m not going to do what I love to do, which is painting a piece. I mean come on, don’t you know what I do if you see the things showing up in your feed? I just have to laugh sometimes about the way people are and remember one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten about business: “You’re not doing it for the ones who don’t like what you do. You’re doing it for the ones who show up for you no matter what and love what you do.”
Guys, these are just the mutterings I say to myself on those low days, and also things I hear from other entrepreneurs, including other furniture painting businesses – even the most successful ones. No matter how successful we can be or how successful we may appear, we ALL feel this way sometimes. Even the best of the best of us. It’s just about if we are willing to share this or not.
I like to pride myself on being a really positive person and try and catch myself super quickly on those low days when I’m going down a dark downwards spiral so I can get back to peppy Dani ASAP. Low Dani needs to pick herself up quick because she will not serve the world in any good way at all. Ha! Isn’t it funny how much I know my characters and which ones I like to get rid of quickly?!
In my years of feeling this way, the best thing to do on those days when you’re feeling low is to first know that this too shall pass. Tomorrow will be a better day than today. There’s always something to look forward to and keep focusing on. Keep working at your goals, even gently when you’re not feeling like the rockstar that you normally are. If you have to have a day of feeling down and depressed on the couch because you feel paralyzed by low energy or emotionally, don’t work. Watch Netflix or whatever it is that makes you feel happy and take care of yourself for one or two days. Trust me, you’ll feel energized and inspired to get back to work so soon and better than ever!
Know your triggers that have made you feel the way you do on those bad days. My most common personal triggers are when I’m not selling much or anything at all for weeks on end. It makes me feel CARAAAAAZAAAYYYY with doubt and worry, especially when you see everyone else in your area selling or booking services in minutes of posting. But what you don’t know or realise is that at that time that you’re watching and seeing that hot streak of theirs, they may have felt the same way you do just before that hot streak. Or someone else has felt that same way about watching you. And your hot streak or whatever that goal may be that you’re reaching for may be just around the corner. Always be patient and kind to yourself, and if you need to hibernate from social media or mute people on Instagram if watching them rocking it makes you feel bad about yourself, DO IT! Protect that fragile little heart of yours so you can bounce back quicker.
Oh, how hopeless the feeling of having one of those low days is. They suck bigtime. But guess what? It always seems to work out in the end and get better! You just need to be patient and kind to yourself. Step outside of yourself especially if you’re in that *Hulky* mood and give yourself the grace and realistic advice that you’d give to a good friend. I’m sure you’d never tell your friend all the crappy things you tell yourself. It’s amazing how different you react when you’re angry vs when you’re calm.
Step outside of your own skin and give yourself that realistic advice – or talk to a good friend you can trust about the situation to give you a good dose of reality. Usually they’re on your side and will say “ugh, how rude of them!” (if you got one of those Hulkworthy comments, that is) and even just that can make you feel so much better. Or they may give you a different perspective and show you that maybe you’re just not giving that person grace or patience. You’ll see the situation in totally different eyes and approach it differently. You never know what someone else is going through so taking those comments in stride and really just trying to have a thicker skin and trying to forget about it quickly is the best thing to do.
Being an entrepreneur, you never know what’s going to happen and that’s just the thrill of it all. You never know what’s around the corner for you. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs where those ups make you feel like a superstar (majority of the time) or a deadbeat loser (minority of the time, luckily).
There it is – how business is HONESTLY in my point of view and from what I’ve seen from other close entrepreneurs. It’s good. It’s bad. It’s ugly. It’s AMAZING! We do it all over again and repeat, repeat, repeat. Why? Because we freaking love what we do so much that we’re willing to take that good and know and expect the bad and the ugly that comes along with it and know it’s a-comin’ and it will come time and time again!
But hey you, yeah you! If you own your own business, I know you feel this too. And I hope you don’t feel as alone now that you know someone else feels this way too and I hope you can find comfort in that I am here with you along the way. Crush those goals. Do what you need to do to lessen the blows of those bad days and just know I’m here with you!
And if you’re reading this just because and don’t own your own business, I hope you can appreciate our creations even more knowing that it’s not all fun and games all the time and that there are real humans that are going through successes and failures and usually all at once.
If you can relate or have your own ways of celebrating success or coping with struggles in business, I’d love to know in the comments! Feel free to share this post with others you think would be interested.
Thanks for reading,