“Being a small business owner means you are the accountant, the marketing manager, the sales rep, the social media strategist, the content creator, the product manager, the customer service concierge, the intern, the CEO, the CFO, and the janitor.”
I got the quote wrong, because I’m still learning all the roles and nuances in running a small business. But when I heard a version of this on a podcast (#JennaKutcher #Goaldiggerpodcast) back in Fall 2019, it was like the “a ha” moment went off in my head. The “a ha” of the new reality I had begun stepping into by launching a website and product.
I knew staring a small business was going to be a pretty big undertaking. I knew there would be long days and late nights. I knew there would be a huge learning curve. I knew I would need to learn to be bold in asking for help. I knew I would be challenged. I knew there would be disappointments. But I did not know the extent to which these would all be true.
It wasn’t a “pretty big undertaking,” it’s been a giant undertaking. The long days and late nights those first few months were very long, extending into the weekend with little to no rest. My first few months I would start at 7AM, work my hospital job from 8AM-11AM, work my ministry job until mid to late afternoon, and then pick up the small business work until 10PM. Weekends would be dedicated to ministry and business work. Repeat.
I have never done more research on paper types, weight, feel, colors or binding and printing costs. I have expanded my Excel knowledge and learned so much about small business finances, pro forma sheets, becoming a LLC, etc. I have fought with InDesign and Lightroom and Canva to do what I want it to do. I have done everything the long slow tedious way out of pride, until it was just too long and tedious and I needed help. I have watched many online courses and tutorials.
I have networked (something I dread) and asked help from people I would normally shy from. I have reached out, without being invited first, to people I thought were untouchable. I have been challenged in good and hard ways. I have had to learn to sell myself, my brand and business to others (which is very much against my personality). I have learned to speak with more confidence than I feel.
I have had nightmares about printing mishaps, shipping materials going missing, products being stolen, etc. I have experienced lots of disappointment. I have cried and questioned myself many times. I have almost given up, a couple of times.
This was not the “pretty big undertaking” I thought I had signed up for. It’s been much more. More than the curated photos, the beautiful products, and the weekly emails that I thought a small business would be all about. More than the beautiful exterior the business might let on.
My goal in sharing these BTS moments, thoughts, lessons, and feelings, is not to invoke pity or to fish for “wow, isn’t she working so hard?” comments, but to show a glimpse that while the beauty that is produced is authentic and real to how Kindred & Co. operates and how I feel when I create that content and product, it does not wholly capture what a small business looks like or how I, as the owner, experience the business all the time.
It isn’t always light, airy, Parisian, and blush florals. It doesn’t always live up to wholehearted, intention, connection, beauty, or joy or being kindred. Being a small business owner isn’t a huge money maker and isn’t for the fame and name of it all. It hasn’t just been creating and showcasing the photos or products. The photos, content and products represent maybe 20% of what is actually happening behind the scenes. This was something I did not know heading into everything.
While this post might feel more Debbie Downer, it’s really not. It’s been a moment to share with you my “a ha” moment and how I’ve learned and seen the greater picture of what it means to be a small business owner. Intertwined in what I’ve shared are some really huge beautiful important lessons learned, confidence developed, dreams realized, vision and brand clarified, friendships formed and deepened, sweet compliments received, deep gratitude felt, and much wholehearted, intention, connection, beauty and joy. Can you read between the lines and catch them all?
This post is already long enough, so I’ll share more of what else this “pretty big undertaking” has meant in a different way on Monday, April 27th (make sure you’re following on social media and/or are on our mailing list so you’ll know when it’s available to read!).
But for now, back to the quote. The quote now means far more now than it did when I started out, and I’m 100% sure it’ll mean so much more as I continue down this journey.”
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