Hello! It’s your friend, Emma. This is my first #briowrites takeover!
I was a bit overwhelmed with what to write about for this first post. Between a surprising amount of client work and internal Brio logistics, my head was spinning. So many possibilities!
However, after a bit of reflection, I realized an interesting pattern. I have thought of some combination of the same three things every single day in my first month as a business owner. These are the nagging questions that threaten to knock me off my game. By giving voice to them in this post, I feel a weight lifted and a chance to show, honestly, what this experience has been like for me as one-half of Brio Marketing.
Here are my three things:
1. I’m too young to be doing this / What do I even know anyway?
I’m very aware that I look 12 years old (and act that way sometimes too). I don’t wear cute tailored pant suits and I don’t have a Masters Degree. How could I possibly know what I’m talking about? How could I have the audacity to start a business?
Um, too late! I did already.
Whenever Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head, I just remind myself of what I have done and what I’m going to do. Then I think of Batman, because he’s my hero-crush and the quote from Batman Begins gets me: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”
2. Can I love business-y things as much as creating things?
When I told my dad (who has also had his own business) about Brio, his first bit of advice was this: Treat it like a business, Emma.
Yeah, I had the same thought: “Duh!”
But this obvious yet pesky statement has become very real. While the fun and rewarding work is in creating new things, the business survives through systems, reporting, meetings, prospecting, accounting…I could go on. The business logistics require and deserve as much effort, time, and care as the fun creative work and that’s a new shift of focus for me.
While reading “In the Company of Women” (as I do every morning), I found the perfect quote from Fashion Designer Mary Going to illustrate this point:
“People often go into business because they love something: baking pies, building furniture, designing clothes. The reality of being a business owner is that your occupation is not Pie Maker, Furniture Builder, or Clothing Designer. Your occupation is Entrepreneur. If you don’t love business, you will not love your job.”
[ mic drop ]
3. Will I ever find a new work/life balance?
“But don’t you just, like, get up whenever you want, work from home in your jammies, and enjoy the luxury of taking breaks whenever you want? You’re, like, in total control of your schedule.”
Asked the hypothetical person named Agatha, who I just made up
…and who I want to scream at.
But, there’s no point in screaming at Agatha, because how could she know what this is like? She doesn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know either…until this first month.
Having so much control can be paralyzing when so much is counting on you.
At the risk of alienating moms everywhere, the only way I can describe this is by equating my business to a child. This thing I created either thrives or withers as a result of what I do next. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for the well-being of this thing that I have taken the responsibility to bring into being.
So, Agatha, to answer your stupid question, I literally work at all hours to do anything that needs to be done because Brio is in its needy infancy stage of life. It wakes me up at night, I wake up early to give it extra attention, and yes, it fills my entire day…all day, every day. Weekends too. Because otherwise I feel guilt, Agatha. GUILT!
BUT, like any new mom, I’m hoping that this will get easier with time. I’m sure I’ll find my new routine, my new normal. As my business starts to crawl, walk, and run, I’ll likely find more freedom to take care of myself…but for now, Brio is my baby and I’m going to give it whatever it needs.
These are my three things.
I have chosen this new life and consequently have chosen these three things. Instead of ignoring or avoiding them, I’m digging in. These nagging, challenging questions are my chance to better understand myself and what I’m doing. Like anything worthwhile, starting a business isn’t easy and that’s the point.
Avoiding mountains won’t change your life… climbing them will.
#briowrites is a collaborative production of Brio Marketing co-founders Emma Smith and Grant Henry. Periodically, however, each will takeover this blog and post from their own perspective.