Today I'm going a little off course as I get to be part of the incredibly kind and talented Hilary of Dean Street Society's Happy Hour Blog Tour. Along with a group of other amazing women, I get to help promote her new book, the 4-Part Entrepreneur Cocktail. She has gathered 30 bloggers & entrepreneurs for 30 days in November to share 30 stories- our stories about the ins and outs of what we do, why and behind the scenes of things we might not regularly talk about here. Check out all the posts on the Happy Hour link above and if you have a moment visit yesterdays post by Chivon John and tomorrows post by Ali Rittenhouse.
The dreaded question- "So what do you do for a living?". I could tell them about all the hats I wear or I could keep it simple, but do they really actually care? Occasionally I will answer with a lack of confidence "I'm self employed and do some online stuff". Thats when I get the blank look followed by 'ohhhhh cool, etsy?". Rarely I bravely say that I own an online accessories boutique and I write an online publication. Thats for days when I'm feeling fancy. I notice it happening to others too- when you are a creative type, a self employed woman, a blogger, a stay at home. Don't get me wrong, I see some shouting from mountain tops about their successes, but so many of us don't really take pride in our acheivements. Why is it that we as woman so badly want to be equal (with other women, with men & what is defined as success) and so often don't put ourselves up there where we so rightly belong? Why do we allow others lack of understanding what it is that we do, make us feel less for doing it?
I was at an antiques shop a few weeks back and this girl had an amazing tote bag, I asked her about it and she said she made it. It was beautifully handcrafted and before I could ask for a card or even if she had a shop she said "I just own this dinky little online shop, I don't have many sales". I wanted to shake her and say that description she just gave is no way to share her talent, why would she call it little when what she is doing was great. She had no cards on her and I can't figure out the shop name because I know she mentioned it was spelled funny. All these things stuck out to me that either she was not serious about her business, isn't confident in how great she really is or just doesn't have anyone that understands what she is doing.
I want to be proud in all of my accomplishments, but without sounding conceited. I am constantly struggling with that fine line of where it all stands. I've owned 2 hair salons, a photography business, an online accessories boutique, an online supply company, a subscription service, I was the Boss Lady (we couldn't think of anything better for a title) at Passionfruit Ads, was the Director of Social Media at Sidlab and now I'm about to start up a new business adventure. I get to make hair accessories for magazines and television shows, I blog, I plan events, I go on adventures and I struggle to describe how all of these things are me. Obviously I don't tell everyone all of that, because its irrelevant to what my current title is. However, each of them has been a passion of mine, they molded me to be where I am today and some have led me to new experiences I would have never had the chance to have otherwise. I'm not a toot my own horn type of girl, but I want to be proud of my accomplishments because in the end this is me.
The community of hand-crafters & bloggers can be a tricky one. There is immaturity out there, jealousy, copy-cats, competition, drama- that's just life. But the good people, the ones that have constantly encouraged me through comments, sent along emails, liked a photo- those are the ones that know what I'm doing and are probably doing it to, they're my people. They get me. Surround yourself with good and you will do good. Believe me, the petty stuff isn't worth it. I know because at points in my online life I've been a part of it, I've let it get to me and that negative energy affected everything I did. One day I let go and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. The same goes with being proud (not cocky) of what I do. When I started confidently sharing myself, opportunities opened up, conversations started and friendships ignited. Hiding in a shell can get lonely, pop out once in a while and I promise the positive that comes from it will make all parts of your business and life better.
Self employment of any kind is hard hard work, but if you love it enough its all worth it. I don't want to make what I do seem insignificant because I don't know how to describe it to people that don't understand or don't give a damn. I don't want the dreams I had to be made into something smaller than they were at one point all because I'm afraid to share that I've been able to reach for and sometimes accomplish them. I hope you keep dreaming, doing and never stop. I know I wont.