If you really want to irritate me and insult everyone around you at the same time, here’s what you should do.
Tell me how much you love what you do.
Tell me how you would do it for free.
Tell me that it really doesn’t have to make money – you’re okay with that.
Tell me that it’s not about the money (and make it sound high-minded.)
One of my favorite (read least favorite) refrains from small business owners is,
“My business doesn’t really need to make money,” or, “as a family we don’t really need my business to bring in any money.”
Ever so discreetly I usually take a deep breath and try to explain why this is the worst way to look at anything you’re calling “a business” and why it’s actually a problem for all of us – not just you.
Hobbies don’t need to make money. Past times don’t need to make money. Charitable work doesn’t need to make you money. But if we’re calling this preoccupation a “business”, the terms are different.
You may not realize this, but by saying you don’t need to make money, you just insulted every other woman around you whose business does need to make money, while also validating every jerk out there who refers to women’s businesses as “jobbies.”
Let me explain.
I know that some women are in business for reasons other than supporting themselves and their families. I understand that some of these businesses are mission driven and that they serve a different purpose. And I’m ok with that.
I also know that every woman I have ever met through the Her Corner community works really hard on these businesses. In fact, lots of women (and men,) eventually give up because it is so much work and takes so much time to build a business from scratch that sometimes it’s easier to just work for someone else. Given what a valuable commodity time is, we should absolutely respect where we spend it.
So if you’re going to work this hard on your business, as we all do, please be clear on what your businesses’ job is and convey that to us, instead of telling us that your business doesn’t really need to make money.
Your business has a job to do.
You feed it, you take care of it, and you nurture it. And in turn, it is there to deliver something for you. Maybe that’s money used for savings, maybe that’s money for your children’s college fund, maybe it’s a retirement plan, and maybe it’s a sense of greater purpose. Whatever it is, it has a job!
And part of that job, if it’s to serve a great purpose, is to cover its own expenses, and allow you to fulfill the mission. If the business isn’t making money, guess what? You can’t fulfill that mission, or even continue to run the business.
So please, take your business seriously. Take it by the lapels and shake it a little. Tell it to get to work for you and do what it’s supposed to do, and stop acting as though despite everything you do for it, it really doesn’t need to do anything back.
Frederique is passionate about helping women take their businesses to the next level of growth and success. As founder and CEO of Her Corner, she applies her entrepreneurial spirit, management consulting background and business operations expertise to give women the springboard they need to move forward.