An Open Letter to Small Business Entrepreneur Shamers

Hi Friends,

I can call you friends, because as an entrepreneur, it’s my job to treat you that way. After all, you could be a potential customer one day. 

I’m becoming more and more aware that people don’t really understand what it means to be an “entrepreneur”, and because of this, they draw a lot of their own conclusions.

Now, know that not all entrepreneurs are the same, and are not at the same stages of life. So today. let’s talk about entrepreneurs of small businesses. 

First of all, deciding to open a small business, is REALLY FREAKIN SCARY! Not only are you saying “no” to the typical 9-5 job and the security that it brings, but you are fronting money with absolutely no guarantee to ever make that back, or even make any money at all.

Did you catch that? Entrepreneurs are giving their own money (or going to get a loan), using up that money to start a new business, and there is absolutely NO guarantee that they will make a dime of that back.

Of course, we have a plan to make it back. We have a hope and LOTS of prayers to make it back, and if successful, lots more. But there is no guarantee. How dumb is that?

So why risk it all? 

Not only are you giving up money, you are giving up your time with friends and family, and you are giving up your MENTAL STABILITY!

That’s right… owning a business will DRIVE YOU CRAZY! At least at first it will.

You will now eat, breathe, sleep, and dream your company. You will think about your company when you’re in the shower, when you’re reading a book, when you’re at a party, when you’re sitting on the toilet. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you are, from this point forward your mind will be totally engulfed with thoughts of your business.

This to me is one of the BIGGEST adjustments, or differences when comparing a business owner to a non-business owner. If you work a “normal job” , you are PAID to think about work. You are told when to clock in, clock out, and when you aren’t on the clock, you are free to live a normal life. Not entrepreneurs. (Of course, good doctors go home and worry about their patients. Good teachers go home and lesson plan. But, it’s not mandatory, it’s passion.) 

So, why leave a job where your salary was discussed before contracts were signed, and you know exactly when to go to work, when to leave, when you’re going to get paid and how much, heck you can even take a vacation and GET PAID FOR IT!!

Why leave that security, to maybe not get paid, work yourself to death, maybe lose your home, your reputation, all your money, and essentially life as you know it?

It’s simple. FREEDOM. 

Here’s my friend and I, adventuring because owning my own business gives me FREEDOM!

According to the Small Business Association, 30% of new businesses fail in the first year. That’s comforting, ayy?

It gets worse. 50% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years. If that doesn’t make you want to sign a business license, I don’t know what will!

Honestly, it seems STUPID to be an entrepurener when you look at it all on paper. 

So fast forward and your company grows. You have multiple employees. So now not only are you responsible for your own personal bills, AND the bills of your company, but you’re also responsible for and are being entrusted by others. To make sure their bills get paid, and food gets on their table for their families as well. No pressure.

Why might one take on those responsibilities? FREEDOM. For the slim chance of gaining freedom. 

Oh and another thing… It doesn’t matter what goes on in your business, good or bad, it is YOUR FAULT. Someone did something great and you had no idea? Congrats you get the credit. Someone screwed up and you had no idea? Congrats, that’s your fault too! 

When you first start your business, you work 24/7. There is no freedom. 

That quote, “Live like others won’t now, so you can live like others can’t later….” has never been more true.

For years, you will work your butt off. Trying things. Failing daily. Learning. Failing. Getting better. Improving. Failing again. And this goes on for YEARS. (If you make it past that 5 year mark and beat the statistic, that is.)

Before we go further, I should note. Not all entrepreneurs have the same definition of “success”. Success to me, is to be able to spend my time how I want to, to be able to live my life without financial worry, to be in control of my own days and time management, and to always have a potential to grow. According to my goals, entrepreneurship is the only option for me.

Disclaimer to everyone who is now offended: If your passion is physical therapy. Be a physical therapist. If your passion is teaching, teach. Your passion and your definition of success does not have to match mine. There is no right or wrong way, if you’re happy. If you’re an entrepreneur, and your passion is to work everyday in your niche and in your company, DO THAT because then that makes your life successful!

I read something once that really spoke to me, and it said, “A business is not successful, until the owner is not needed.”

This is only true if the owners definition of success is freedom, which for most entrepreneurs, it is. I’m not here yet, but I’m pretty dang close.

I’m still needed in my company. Partly by demand, and party by choice. But since I’m an entrepreneur, this is my world, and I get to define my own success. 

So what is with the shaming and unnecessary comments? Entrepreneurs take a big risk to live a life they want.

I can tell you first hand exactly what it’s like to be “entrepreneur-shamed”…

I go to the grocery store and run into someone I know. “What are you doing here Kaleigh, shouldn’t you be at work?”

HMMM… Well, sir… I have to eat too!

I got on vacation and get asked, “How will your business survive without you?”

HMMM… Well, ma’am… “I am not the only person who works there. I can get my responsibilities covered the same way you do.”

The unsolicited questions of why you aren’t “at work” are just the beginning.

For me personally, there are days where I work all day. From the time I opened my eyes, to the time I shut my eyes. I was working. (I’m not complaining… I chose this. I like it this way.)

But for some reason, people think that if they can’t SEE ME, I must be sleeping, watching TV, partying, chilling by a pool, or any number of non productive things.

Let’s get one thing straight… if my business is running itself, and I want to lay by the pool all day, sleep until noon, or binge watch Netflix… I can. And I will. With no shame. And that is my choice because I put in the work, and I made the choice to be an entrepreneur.  

The reality is, for most entrepreneurs, is that we are workaholics, and even if we don’t have to be working, we are. We are thinking, reading, studying, and bettering ourselves and our businesses. Or better yet, maybe we are working on starting new businesses?

If we did choose to spend the day by the pool, our brains are still working. If we watch Netflix all day, we are still making mental notes of new ideas and changes we can make.

Remember the freedom thing I mentioned? That means, if an entrepreneur has worked hard to get his or her business off the ground and operating smoothly without them… that’s A POSITIVE THING, not something to shame!
Don’t assume I’m a millionaire. Don’t assume I’m poor.

Don’t assume I do nothing all day and just rake in the moolah. Don’t assume I am a mentally unstable workaholic who works all day and abandons my friends and family. 

Don’t assume money is all I care about.

Don’t assume I’m lazy. 

Don’t assume that every new idea I have works. Don’t assume that all my ideas will fail. 

Don’t assume that this lifestyle is easy.

If you want the truth… Even a small business who has the best systems in place, with a killer awesome and trustworth staff, and their company can run without them…. WILL BE NEEDED! Once issues have ran through all the managers, and up the ladder, guess who is there is deal with the burdens? THE ENTREPRENEUR. If the money isn’t coming in, and things have to change, guess who does that? The Entrepreneur.

DO assume I care.
DO assume I work hard.
DO assume I am passionate about what I do. 
DO assume that even though I chose a different path than you, even though our life goals are not the same, I am doing what it takes to create a happy, fulfilling life for me and my family, and I’m doing it my way.

Kaleigh Duffy, An entrepreneur who is tired of your assumptions.

PS: As a small biz owner, in order to maintain balanced, I created and use the Stay Beautifully Balanced planner, grab yours today!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s