In this tell all society we live in - we have been coached to only share the good bits, the fun and flexing bits of our lives. We don’t want to be debbie downers, we don’t want to squash others success with our failures, we don't want to raise our hands in front of others about the problems we’re facing and so we have created a culture where we don’t share the tough times at all.
The trouble with this mentality is that when things do get really tough we don’t know who we can turn too because no one else has expressed their struggle. Before sharing my own problems I think about how vocalising them projects on me, will they see me as less professional? Will people want to support a business whose owner is facing challenges?
Ironically, when I do share the challenges I’m facing that week or month with my close circle or small network of young women in business - they have or are facing the exact same thing!
I recently spent time with some very established and successful business women whose networth is upwards of millions. Insightful, hardworking and brilliant; things I already knew about them. Bankrupt, sometimes twice; that I didn’t.
They said after facing bankruptcy and confiding in their mentors, who were entrepreneurs themselves, it unveiled that they too had faced bankruptcy and it wasn't all that uncommon in the entrepreneurial journey. If only they’d known that this wasn’t the be all end all to their journey they probably would have dealt with it in a different way. Evidently, they would have shared their challenges earlier.
One of the challenges I’ve faced as a new business owner is the loneliness of entrepreneurship. When you are your own employee, days spent at the computer or creating samples are quite isolating. And when I do spend time with other small businesses owners at networking events, coworking spaces or likewise I’m not comfortable sharing challenges because that doesn't make my business very sexy to potential clients. Especially when they’re talking about their upcoming VC meetings, soaring sales and growing audiences all I’m thinking is ‘How do I edit the HTML code in my blog?’...kidding, I also have a long list of VC meetings coming up….
But imagine if we all openly asked ‘How are you managing the finances of your start up?’ ‘Have you found that customers only want to support you once you appear “set-up”’? All of a sudden, we would feel much less alone rather than us all trying to stumble through the dark.
What I want to know is how do married couples that run a business together also manage their relationship? How do you not fall down the funnel of business this and what about that? Leaving no space to breathe or enjoy each others company without the worry of where your next rental payment is going to come from because you’ve maxed all the credit cards, you can’t ask your parents for any more money and your bank loan is bleeding you dry?
Perhaps I'm the only one...
I hope through being vulnerable and real about the challenges businesses owners (& adults) face it might encourage more of us to be open and real about the realities that are going on in our lives.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”