How Much Do you Make?/ Sharing Business Lessons/Collectivitea

Welcome to the first in this series on business (and definitely, life) lessons! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of business? To use an old-fashioned phrase, wheeling and dealing! Excitement. Maybe you think of money. Still others may think of stress or more flexible hours of work. Uncertainty of pay. What a mixed bag! When I decided to start a business, I thought of all this though I didn’t have a clear idea on how much work is involved in running a small business!  I’ve written this before, and it’s a quick assessment lacking in nuance, but running a business is like raising a baby. You love it intensely, but it does take up your life and gives you sleepless nights. Plus, everyone has an opinion on how you should be doing it. In addition, with a business, people are intensely curious as to how much you are making! How much do you make? Maybe you are making a little extra on the side? Or is it a living? Do tell!!

First, if you run a business (or are thinking about it, will do so in future etc. etc.) and you are at the receiving end of this curiosity, take a minute here, and think about it. To some people, this may seem like a mild question that they have no qualms answering. To others, it may seem like an invasion of privacy. The topic of money is a sensitive one for many people, and in my experience, more so for women. Add cultural conditioning, social influences, age, and personality, and the topic of money becomes even more complicated. There is also the issue of shame associated with the topic of money. How much do you make? Do you make enough? Are you successful? I am not any kind of expert, but i have two theories as to why people are so curious about it- one, maybe they are looking for a way out of their current situation. They want to know if running a business, with its apparent “flexible time schedule, being your own boss, everything is in your control” cachet  is the solution? Which makes you, the business owner, a role model! And the second theory, in my opinion, is that they just want to know where to place you – making greater than, equal to or less than them or someone else! In both cases, it is about them, and not you. Don’t take it personally.  It seems so lame to write this, but it bears repetition – whether you make a little or a lot, you are not the money you make. Your value is immeasurable. Yes, you need money to pay the bills. Some businesses start off making money immediately. Other may take time as you build a clientele, or a customer base. Or there maybe a lean phase. Or whatever. {The more I write, the more I realize that so much of what we read is just generalization.} Whatever the reason, maybe you are not making the money you need straight off, and you wish people would stop asking you this. First, let’s deal with the practicalities. Maybe you can continue with your job while your business is being launched. Maybe you have a supportive partner and the two of you have invested time, effort and money to turn your idea into a business, and see the business through its growing pains. Maybe you are a Mom or Dad raising a family who is looking at other options because you want a more flexible time schedule to meet your family’s needs and your partner is supportive of that. There are as many combinations and permutations as there are people. Every family and business model is different. Show up, and work hard. Be clear on your goals, and your budgetary and time limits. Let everything else, including nosy people, goKnow that you learn with every new step you take. That you won’t know until you try. That you may experience success or failure. Success, most people will agree, is awesome. Failure? In the words of former President Obama, “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”  These words move, and empower me every time I read them and I believe that they hold true for everything we do, big or small. By sharing this series, my goal is to empower myself, and anyone reading, so that we may move these issues out of the shadows, and into the light. Where we may learn from and support each other. I’ll be back later with the second part of this series. Have a wonderful day and as always, I would love to hear from you. – Priya


This post is part of a series on Shared Lessons In Business (Introduction123)

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