Today’s episode of The Business Bites is going be a little bit different. I almost feel like I should title it rants with Rachel, because I wanted to kind of climb on an issue of something that I see people say all the time in entrepreneurship and I feel like it may actually not have the inspirational result that it intends to give. Often times, I feel like people that are told this, and I’ll tell you what it is in a second, but I feel like when people are told this if they don’t feel that way, then they’ll start second guessing themselves and wondering whether or not they are truly meant to be entrepreneurs, if this is really what they should be doing. To be honest, we already have a completely overwhelming card stacked against us already when we’re entrepreneurs and I just feel like this comment or this little pretty picture quote that you see on Instagram or Pinterest can have more detrimental effects.
People say the phrase, “When you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” To be point blank on this, I think that is crap because work can be work sometimes. There is never anything that we’re 100% happy with doing. There is nothing in your life that you’re always 100% gung ho, feeling tingly and excited about. I feel like work is sort of like relationships. It’s a commitment. You can have this passionate love feeling when you see someone and at different moments when they do things, such as your significant other does something really sweet for you. For example, I met up with my husband last night for us to go to the movies. We had spent all day doing separate activities. I’m on the board of directors for a local nonprofit, so I was doing that and then he was in school.
We ended up meeting up for movie theater. Well, the movie theater that we go to does not have these little seasoning shakers for your popcorn and I had texted him and said, “Aw man, I forgot to bring the shaker,” because we always buy ones from the other movie theater and leave them at home and I really should just leave it in the car, so that we have this emergency shaker. He, when I walked into the movie theater, opened up his pocket, pulled it out and goes, “I stopped at the other theater for you,” and in that moment, I feel the warm and fuzzies. This morning things happen such as he left his dirty clothes before he left for school on the bathroom floor, which really is not a big deal, but the reason I share this with you is that we have highs and lows. I was a little irritated that the clothes were on the floor because I make it a point to put it into the laundry basket and he just didn’t. He didn’t mean to necessarily intentionally leave it on the floor, it just happened.
I share the dichotomy of these two examples within a time span of 12 hours apart really, because you can have the lovey, tingly feeling from a person, your relationship at one time, in a couple hours it could be totally completely on the other end of the spectrum. I feel like running a business is very similar to this. When people make this comment, “When you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and I feel like it pushes on people who don’t feel 100% happy all the time, that it makes them feel like maybe this is not what I should be doing, maybe I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur because we cannot be 100% happy, tingly, excited, butterflies in our stomach of passion all the time. It doesn’t happen in our relationships. It doesn’t happen in our business. But we make a commitment. I am committed to continue loving my husband, even when he leaves clothes on the bathroom floor, and that is okay. That’s not a be all and end all. There’s things in our business that are the clothes on the bathroom floor that we don’t necessarily like.
In those moments when you’re feeling and having to pick up those clothes, do you start second guessing yourself? I don’t start second guessing my marriage simply because that happens. So, I don’t want you guys to hear that statement of do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life because there’s aspects of running a business that simply are aspects of running a business. It doesn’t mean that you’re not doing what you love. It doesn’t mean that you’re not doing necessarily what you intended to do, because even if you’re not 100% all the time, I can bet you that some of you listening will take even the crappiest days of self employment, of entrepreneurship, of owning your own business in that you’ll take that way over the stuck in a rut feeling that you may have had if you were working a corporate America or doing a job that wasn’t fulfilling or something that totally was not in line with what you were interested in.
As I work through my business, there are things that I don’t like. I have established that at this point. I just remember when I was sitting in a corporate cubicle thinking that I was doing what I was supposed to do. I was conforming to what society told me I needed to do when I was in college and when I graduated, but I just remember sitting in that cubicle staring at the walls feeling stuck in a rut because I was 100% unhappy there. Now, when I’m on this side of it and I think, “Oh, I hate doing my taxes or I really don’t want to X, Y, and Z. I’m just not happy doing whatever task it is,” I try to think back to the fact that I’d rather take this 10% out of this 100% of something that I don’t like as opposed to almost 100% all the time feeling like I was stuck in a rut and unhappy.
Even now when things do not go my way in business and I’ve got just a little bit unhappiness, all I have to do is remember that I get the flexibility and autonomy of making my own decisions. I get to either go to the offices that we have for me to work or I can work from home. When I work from home, I have the choice of being able to pop out and see me kids throughout the day. I can see them when they get off the bus. I can help them get their afternoon snack. Whatever it is that makes me happy as a whole is what you should be doing. So, yes, it is freaking hard being an entrepreneur. Yes, there are things you’re not going to like. Guys, that doesn’t mean that you don’t love it. It doesn’t mean that you weren’t born to do it. It just means that it was a tough day. Love is more than butterflies and excitement. It’s a commitment that as a whole enhances your life. Being a solopreneur or self-employed entrepreneur, you could have a team or whatever your current setup is, to me, that is way more of an exciting adventure. You don’t want to allow a 10% unhappiness for you to completely divorce yourself from that.
I just encourage you guys when you see quotes like this online, things saying, “If you do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” I’m going to feel like I’m working. When I’m in love in my marriage, it’s still sometimes is work. That is okay. I just want you guys to know this is me telling you that it is not all happy and butterflies all the time. In fact, you’re probably going to have more bad days than good days in the beginning or at least it’s going to feel that way if you’re in the start up phase, because you’re really having to hustle. It is worth it. You’re quality of life will be better and that is why I’m here trying to impress to you guys and just a little bit of inspiration amongst all of this content that I give through The Business Bites podcast, so that you have a little bit more of a directional beacon from someone who has been there.
I remember in the very beginning it was easy to fall into this whole I need to hustle, I need to hustle, I need to hustle, until the point that you feel burnt out. I’m not saying you need to power through to the point of burning yourself out. There is a limit of how many times you can pick up clothes off a bathroom floor. I say that in jest, but it is kind of true. At what point do you start doing tasks in your business that you become resentful for and it starts growing from 10% to 40% to 70%. When you get to that point of realizing that all right, I’m hustling through these tasks, I’m doing what I need to do, I still love being an entrepreneur. But if those little tasks start to overtake your mindset and your happiness, that is the time you can make the decision, okay, am I really happy being an entrepreneur? Is this really what I want to do? If the answer is yes, but you’re just not that thrilled with those tasks, then it’s time to start seeing how you can remedy that.
Definitely, I just remember in the startup phase there were tasks I hated. I wasn’t liquid enough to have someone be able to help me, and also, I truly believe that when you are in charge of your own business, you need to touch every single aspect of your business. You need to touch every job. I love the companies out there that in order for you to be a franchisee or for you to be a general manager or in any management level in their company, they require you to start at the bottom and they require them to do every job. I definitely see this in the restaurant industry. There’s a couple key companies that I waited tables for in college that I admired this, seeing the managers humbling themselves or the managers to be, and they were taking out the trash, they were washing dishes, they were cutting up broccoli to prepare for night’s dinner. It just was humbling and nice to see because then they understood how it all works. Just in that example, they get to a point that they don’t do all those tasks all the time, not because it would make them unhappy, but because it would pull them down and move their focus away from what they needed to be doing, what they were there for.
So, I use that example to show you guys that if you’re in the startup phase or maybe you’re implementing something new in your business not to just hand it off. Even though you may be unhappy doing it, you’re maybe not even that skilled at that task, touch it, get to know it, see how it works for your business, and if it is only a small portion and it’s like dirty laundry on the bathroom floor every once in a while, that’s fine. But if it becomes more and more and more and that’s when you need to start looking and reevaluating is this for me and if it is, then decide what you’re going to do to get help to eliminate those tasks, so you can move back to feeling happier. Just know that you don’t have to love all the tasks and what you do every single day in order to be a successful and happy entrepreneur. It’s okay if you don’t love it every day and here’s my permission for you guys to feel and embrace that. So, best of luck.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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