Dear Friends and Family,
If we haven’t already told you, being a business owner is tough and sometimes a little lonely. Having a support system is key to our sanity. That not only includes other business owners that understand what we deal with on a day-today basis, but it also includes you!
We know you love us and want to support us. The only problem is sometimes you don’t know how or don’t realize that sometimes what you say or do can actual have the opposite effect and be hurtful. So we want to make it as easy as possible for you to show your support by helping you understand the weird world of entrepreneurship from our perspective! Here are a few things we’d love for you to know:
Knowing The Right Type Of Questions To Ask
We know you mean well when you ask, “How’s your business doing?” or “How many clients are you working with these days?” but to be honest there’s a better way to ask how we’re doing. You see, these questions inherently ask, “So, is your business paying your bills?” and there is a lot more to our success than money. Don’t get us wrong, it’s important, but typically when you ask someone about their work you don’t immediately ask about their salary. But we get it too, there’s not really an easy equivalent to the old, “how’s work going?” when you’re chatting with entrepreneurs. So we came up with some suggestions you could use instead to show that you care and you’re interested in their journey.
What projects are you really excited about right now?
Do you have any product launches or lines your excited about?
Where do you find inspiration for your art, designs, products, etc.?
Rather than feeling like we’re being put on the spot of either feeling like we’re spilling all the details of our income or bragging about all the exciting things we have going on, we’ll feel much more comfortable sharing more details about our daily lives and what’s actually going on in our businesses.
We’ve also heard that sometimes you don’t ask too many questions because you don’t really understand what exactly it is we do or just can’t relate to us. And yeah, maybe what we do as a career is totally different than you, but that’s no reason to avoid the topic altogether. In fact, if you don’t understand our business, ask more questions! It shows you’re truly interested and is a great way to show your support. Plus, if we’re being honest most of us are super passionate about what we do (that’s why we started our own businesses) so we’d love to share that with you when given the chance. Here are some great starter questions to consider:
What type of products/services do you offer and what does that entail?
What type of people/businesses do you typically work with?
What does your day-to-day schedule look like?
If we explain something and you still don’t understand, just let us know and we’ll try to explain it better. Just like any career, you can get caught up in some industry talk but we are always happy to explain another way. Being misunderstood by family or friends is a big issue for entrepreneurs so however we can help that situation, the better!
Be Mindful Of How You Use The Word “Lucky” With Us
Are there some really awesome things about working for yourself? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! But the truth is our lifestyle has been overly glamorized in recent years — getting to work in our pjs, working whenever and wherever we want as we travel the world, having time to drop everything and go to lunch or shopping in the middle of the day and have unlimited time for friends and family. Now don’t get us wrong, there are certainly perks but there’s a saying that hits really close to home that says, “An entrepreneur would rather work 80 hours a week than 40 hours for someone else”. The fact is, most of us aren’t just lounging around eating grapes and printing money. Most of us our busting our booties to hit every milestone in our business, just like you are in your career.
And while many of us are certainly lucky to not have to sit in a morning commute, when it comes to luck’s role in our businesses, trust us, it’s a teeny tiny factor. By saying we’re so lucky, it ends up downplaying all the extremely hard work we’ve done. It seems to wash away those 18 hour days, sleepless nights, and weekends working… Even if that’s not your intention. There seems to be a misconception that you don’t work as hard if you work from home (sometimes in our pjs) than if we were in an office and we’re not sure what that is about. Double that if you work in the online business world. Yes, we may be on our computers for most of the day, but trust us, it’s still pretty taxing work on our minds.
If you want a word that hits closer to home, we’d go with brave (or badass if you’re into that). You have to be brave to leave a steady salaried job for one where you may take a huge pay cut at first. You have to be brave to put yourself and your ideas out there with the chance that it could all publicly fail. You have to be brave to walk away from a job with benefits — paid vacation, sick days, a 401k, and health insurance. You have to be brave to assert yourself and your worth in business. We’re certainly not fishing for compliments here, but being told how lucky we are implies we won a gold ticket and didn’t work for it. And that’s certainly not the case. By acknowledging that we work and fight for every single accomplishment we have, we’ll feel much more supported and understood in the moment.
Respecting Our Schedules
Can we make our own schedules? For most entrepreneurs, yes. Does that mean we run around all day doing errands and whatever we want? Heck no. We wouldn’t be successful if we just never worked! This means that we can’t always run a quick errand for you or grab 2-hour lunch in the middle of that day. Sometimes we can. A lot of the time, we probably can’t.
We might not have the typical 9-to-5 hours but some of us do hold those hours still. So if you don’t know, just ask us what our typical work hours are. Then when we give you those hours, please respect them.
Trust us, we want to spend time with you and help with whatever favor you need but getting out of our work flow in the middle of the day can really screw up our concentration and productivity for the rest of the day. We may also be distracted which isn’t going to be enjoyable for either of us so having this understanding about our schedules will help avoid all of these issues for both of us in the future.
Other Ways To Support The Entrepreneurs In Your Life
Now that you hopefully understand a little more where we’re coming from, let’s move onto other happy ways you can show the entrepreneurs in your life you care!
Sharing or engaging with our social media posts: This is one of the easiest way to show support (not to mention it actually helps with our social media strategy)! Our marketing strategy has a big impact on getting the word out and a few likes or shares here and there can help our accounts be seen more. It’s easy, free and only takes a second!
Buy from them if you can (especially during the holiday season): THIS! Don’t forget about your entrepreneur friends during the holiday season. Sure Amazon, and other online shopping is convenient but when you buy from those you know or other small businesses you’re supporting their families, and getting great gifts for others in your life. It’s a win win! There’s a quote we love, “When you buy from a small business owner an actual person does a happy dance”. If you know people who sell some awesome things, host great classes or offer awesome services, why wouldn’t you want to support them?
Help make introductions: This goes back to the part about having a conversation about what we do! You don’t need to be out there campaigning for us… but knowing what we do is important because down the line when you find yourself in a random conversation about someone needing a website designed, or a local company that offers painting, you’ll remember, oh hey, I think so and so does that let me give you their info! You never know when conversations like this will come up and when you refer someone to us it will totally make our day. Just knowing that you told someone about us means SO much, even if the opportunity doesn’t pan out.
Ask how you can support us: Support is going to look different for every entrepreneur and at different stages of our business, so sometimes simply asking how you can support us means the most to us.
And if you’re one of the people who doesn’t think what we’re doing is badass…
That’s okay. But we would SO appreciate if you kept it to yourself. We have BIG plans and whether we succeed or not, chances are you telling us to “get a real job” is only going to create friction since we can pretty much guarantee that we’re not going to listen to you anyway. We’re the crazy ones that think we can change the world and live life by our own standards… that’s why we started our businesses to begin with!
With all that said, we’re going to chase our dreams no matter what so we really hope we can count on your support and understanding. It would absolutely mean the world to us.
Your badass entrepreneur