Photos in this post were taken by Boston-area photographer, Brad Bahner, Find him HERE.
I’ve been building my brand and creating content for almost 5 years. Last year, I spent much of the year speaking with and consulting small business owners and bloggers. Small businesses and grass-roots operations are my thing. I want all of us to win, and I mean that.
But can I tell you something? There are a LOT of people who say they want this life, who claim they are truly ready and willing to become their own bosses full-time, but they’re on some ole bull. Some of them have even made the transition, quit their jobs and are now operating their businesses full-time, but they are on some bull, too. Here are the reasons I know you’re not really bout this life:
You don’t want to invest in your business.
You want, one day, for whatever it is you’re doing to skyrocket you to success by spending the bare minimum. You reach out to people, asking to pick their brains or take them out to coffee so you can learn what they know, for free. Because while you value the information the person can impart, you value the nickles in your pocket more. #youaintboutdislife
You don’t really want to do the work.
By that I mean you’re presented with opportunities that may require that you put in some work for less than what you might normally charge or even for free, but you say nah…nope…I’m too good for that. #yourenevertoogood
Sidebar: Last year, when things were incredibly tight I took a temporary gig stuffing envelopes. It was only a few days, but I did it. Yes, I have a MFA in writing, yes I know I’m talented AF, but I had no shame or “I’m too good,” about me. I did it because I have my eye on the prize, and I know folks who aren’t being blessed because they think they’ve paid their dues.
You don’t really understand the difference between building relationships and being taken advantage of.
This one can be hard for anybody to determine, so let me give you an example:
When a company that I know has a marketing budget reaches out to me to review a product for free, I know I’m being taken for a ride so I have no problem saying thanks but no thanks. I’m not about being used. However, when a small business, especially a black-owned business owner reaches out to me for a genuine partnership that can, overtime, develop into something lucrative for both of us, I usually jump on board. Especially if the business makes or sells products I would/do use. See the difference?
You think small
This is a big one for me. a HUGE one. The road to becoming an entrepreneur is rocky as hell. You will do things you don’t want to do. You will take a pay-cut, perhaps leaving a nice paying job to start over from scratch. Even if you’ve been doing what you’re doing for years as a side business, once you determine that this is what you want to do for real for real, you should take any every opportunity to move your business to the next level. You have to recognize the value in marketing and networking. Don’t be so quick to dismiss people and opportunities because those people and opportunities won’t put money in your pocket immediately. You have to think bigger and broader.
You don’t want to work with people.
There is nothing solo about soloprenuership. Sure, the day-to-day operations are all on you, however, networking and working with others is the name of the game. Bartering and exchanging services with other business owners is incredibly important. Now, the one area I don’t budge on is video. That stuff is work, so I charge for it no matter who you are, however, I can always think of many ways we can work together that can be mutually beneficial. Before turning away a partnership I consider all the ways in which the partnership can benefit my business for the long-term.
You say shit like, “I’m a small business I can’t do that.”
Says who? Listen, if you don’t breathe life into your business no one will. I reached out to a brand the other day and asked them if they had an affiliate program. The brand was like, “we’re a small business we haven’t set that up yet.” First of all, Brand, I see you all over social media sending your product to influencers. You mean to tell me you are sending products to influencers and you’re not using a system that will not only track the sales that influencer brings AND incentivize the influencer to do more social media marketing for you at almost no cost?! Where they do that at? If you think small, you will stay small. Don’t assume that you are limited due to the size of your business. Don’t make that an excuse for your mediocrity.
You don’t have a marketing budget
If you think you can get your business off the ground relying on your friends and word of mouth, just keep your day job. Keep it, love it, and stop talking about you want to be your own boss. The End.
You aren’t flexible
You have to be willing to step out of the box and change things constantly. Those of you who’ve been following me for the last few years have seen, first-hand, how this blog has evolved over time. This wasn’t what I had planned, but this is where I am and it feels damn good. You’ll have to decide what being flexible means for you and your business, but for me it meant changing things dramatically, being true to who I am, and playing to my strengths. I had to free myself of whatever I thought this brand would be and embrace what it’s destined to become. If you’re going to be too rigid, and too wrapped up in the money, you’ll never end up where you want to go.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. I don’t tell anyone they should do what I do. In fact, if you’ve asked me, I’ve probably discouraged you from taking this road because it’s not for the sane and reasonable. It’s for those who understand what it means to be on #teamnosleep, it’s for those who aren’t looking for handouts, it’s for those not looking to cut corners. I haven’t had a single person “put me on,” I’ve worked tirelessly for the last two years to bring Lisa A La Mode to where she is today, but I’m not done. Not even close. I’m still paying my dues, networking, and learning all day everyday. If you want this life, this is what it takes. You ready?
If you like this post read about that time I was fired HERE and Why I knew it was time to leave my 9-5 HERE..
Hey, Boo! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a 30 something-year-old writer/mother/wife who happens to love lipstick, high heels, blackness, and the truth. You’ll find a mix of everything on this site, so I won’t bore you by trying to define this space. I hope you stay awhile!