The Small Business Owner Blues

In the silence of the night when everyone else has shut down and you are left with your decisions, that’s when you become an entrepreneur. Someone said to me once that to be an entrepreneur you have to have a spouse with a full-time job and while that anecdote is funny it’s also a bit sad. The very essence of an entrepreneur is a risk-taker, however unfair that risk is to the people that love and support you. It’s a sad statement because it implies a fundamental lack of faith in your ability to be successful. I am not naïve, I understand that most businesses fail and most don’t make it past the 3 year mark; but that statement just screams shenanigans to me and here’s why.

Failure makes you great

You have to earn your stripes as an entrepreneur and that means that you have to fail. You have to mess up in ways that are so bad, you will never do them again. You have to make decisions that will make you cringe in ten years, because that’s how you become great. You get a thicker skin, you get a smarter strategy and you finally understand that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

 You learn to trust your judgment

Every day I fight an internal battle about my business decisions, I know that I don’t know the answer to every question but I have had to learn that I do know what’s best for me. That revelation after 6 years as an entrepreneur came just this year. I know what I need, I know what the vision for my company is and thank God I wasn’t a quick study because I learned. I learned that I don’t need my mentor’s approval of my actions, I learned that I don’t need anyone else to weigh in on my decisions. I learned to trust what everyone else already saw…I could do this.

You have to be disappointed

The thing about disappointment is that you need it. You have to want something really bad and not get it to understand that that you have to dream a little bigger with a little more color. I feel like I have a black belt in disappointment and my business has taken more than its fair share of sacrifices, but oh man do I dream big. When I look around it’s crazy that all this has happened to that little girl from Alabama.

Your thoughts make you

It’s hokey and my country spirit balks at this just about every day, but it’s true. County girls don’t break and it’s because we know that what beats you isn’t your skills, your team or you product. It’s your head, that’s what breaks you. The things that you think about yourself and your company determine how successful you are. Every day I have to realize that. When I’m beaten and I just want to crawl under my blankets and never come out, I have to remember that just because one person doesn’t see my value that doesn’t make my value go away. I have to find a way to highlight it. It sucks being positive (how is that for ironic?), its work. You have to make the decision to find the silver lining in every situation, which is hard but oh man is it worth it.

Fear is good

Having a spouse with a full-time job is having a security blanket. It’s never really having to put up or shut up because the bills will get paid anyways. Fearing the floor dropping out from under you is the best gift life can give you as an entrepreneur because your brightest moments come when you have nothing left to give.  And you know what the kicker is? It was always there, you just couldn’t see it.

So hang in there, I get it. I really do. Some days it sucks, but these really are the best days. When you are sitting in your plush office presiding over your empire, these are the days that will make you smile. The days when you had no clue where your next client was or if they even existed. You will be great and then you will see, you were an entrepreneur all along.

Leona Charles

Leona Charles began SPC Business Consulting Ltd in 2007 to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their performance. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, she brings a fresh and unique approach to Operations Consulting drawing on her 10 years of combined experience in law enforcement, government contracting, property management, customer service, non profit industry, and education.

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  1. says

    the biggest challenge is watching your revenues go up and down monthly! and also the isolation if doing work from home, that’s a huge challenge but great to have the commute smashed!

  2. Nicki says

    This is a great article. I am so glad I took the time out to read it. Down to earth and very very grounding.

  3. says

    Hi Rachel,

    You are absolutely correct, those are some of the hardest things to manage as an entrepreneur. When you have a typical brick and mortar office it’s easy to get out, when you work from home that isolation is hard to shake. Thank you for bringing up an important point.