Glamorous Entrepreneur Gig: Say What?!?!?!
I dare say I’m always pretty real with my readers. I’m not one to mince words when I feel something needs addressing and I’ll tackle the topics others in the digital marketing industry sometimes find too sensitive and possibly incendiary.
But today I’m taking the real to another level entirely. I’m going to bust the seams of the silliness that is the “glamorous” entrepreneurial lifestyle.
I love to quote The Princess Bride (amongst many other movies, TV shows and songs) and much like the R.O.U.S. (rodents of unusual size), I don’t think the coveted glamorous gig many a new marketer envisions is attainable.
The Days Often Start Early … And End Late
I took the dog for her morning walk and started the coffee pot at 4:12 AM today. I’m not usually up and at it quite that early, but I woke up around 3 AM and couldn’t shut off my brain. So, to keep from disturbing the deeply sleeping husband, I got up. I’m never up later than 6 AM on a week day. Most days I hit the streets with the puppy at 5 AM and I’m at the desk by 5:20.
Even with those early starts, there are days when I’m still at the computer at 9 PM. No, not always. But c’mon, there’s nothing glamorous about 12 hour days, let alone 16-17 hour days.
Fashion Or Feeds?
Red lipstick, killer heels, the cutest outfit? Not on this nimble entrepreneur’s radar. What am I wearing? Frayed flannel PJ pants, yoga pants, gym shorts, hoodies, baggy tees and exercise tanks. That’s the dress code at Go Creative Go. Sure, I slip on a circle skirt, tank and a cardigan when I have a face-to-face meeting. But comfort takes precedence over fashion.
And, since we’re being really REAL, many a day I roll out of bed and spend the day working in whatever I slept in the night before.
Feeds before fashion is definitely how the entrepreneur rolls!
Hygiene Or Grooming On Hiatus?
Remember, we’re being real!
One of my BBFFs, Brooke Ballard, an equally nimble entrepreneur, and I were recently talking about how it’s sometimes hard to get in a shower. I’m pretty sure she won’t mind me sharing that!
Stop! I know. Yes, I live and work in Atlanta. In the hot and humid southeast U.S. Where the A/C constantly runs or you sweat. So, stop it. Yes. I bathe regularly. Sometimes twice a day on tennis days.
But, I don’t necessarily always have perfectly smooth legs. And my hair, while always washed, is rarely styled or even combed with anything other than my fingers. And some days I choose another cup of coffee over immediate teeth brushing. Because coffee and minty fresh are not a match made in heaven!
As for lipstick, earrings, painted toenails and/or matching my shoes and handbag. Puh-leeze. My black flip-flops do usually match my yoga pants. So, I’ve got something going for me!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. One of the main reasons to embrace the entrepreneurial way of life is tied to doing something you love, rather than working for a paycheck. But let’s talk about another kind of check. The reality check!
[clickToTweet tweet=”SOME days you’re going to hate everything about your business. #realyourealbiz” quote=”Some days, not every day, but SOME days … you’re going to hate everything about your business.”]
Some days are just shitty. Some days you’ll leak angry tears and want to rip the heads off even your most accommodating clients, while you dream up ever more devious tortures for your not-so accommodating clients.
Don’t get me wrong. Some days the entrepreneur gig is gregarious and gorgeous and golden. And those are the days most often shared by those writing about it.
But it ain’t all sunshine, roses, rainbows and snickerdoodles. Some days hail a shit storm of hassles, helplessness and even some hollering at your computer screen or biz partner.
I actually get irritated when I see the plethora of “passion” posts strewn across my feeds. Sure, passion and love for your business can be really beneficial. But some days you get by on grit, sweat, tears, swear words and irascible imaginings. That needs to be shared, too!
Styled Space? Seriously?
There’s a growing trend, of late, to showcase the workspace with a “styled” photo. Most of these styled shots leave me shaking my head in amused befuddlement. Do remember, I recently revealed that I rarely comb my hair. So styling my workspace is not something on which I place a lot of value or emphasis.
When did an artfully arranged clump of herbs tied with a bow become a sign of professionalism and productivity? With my luck the cat or dog would eat it and then promptly throw it back up.
Glitter? An open lipstick? Flowers sans vase? Beautiful bowls of color coordinated binder clips and pushpins? They’d all end up all over the floor and I’d end up hopping on one foot, swearing while I pulled a pushpin out of the other foot!
Alysa Passage recently joked that we need a PSA to halt the hostile takeover of succulents and gold scissors. She went on to reveal this gem:
“Yes, the photos are polished but they’re not an AUTHENTIC brand identity.”
What’s an authentic desk space look like? I can’t speak for everyone, but my workspace is styled with coffee rings, paw prints and a squirt bottle to discipline the feline leaving the paw prints.
Yeah, I wipe the space down every night. But my work space is where I work. It’s not a styled and staged photo opp.
Work … It’s Part Of The Wonderful!
That’s the point I’ve been trying to drive home throughout this read. While I can say that the entrepreneur gig can be wonderful, that’s not always the case. Sometimes it makes you want to wail:
There’s one constant I can count on when it comes to my own entrepreneur gig, the work! It’s too often left out of the glorious and gold-plated descriptions of the entrepreneur’s gig!
The work is always there. And it’s not all that glamorous. As much as I love working with mood boards, typefaces and color palettes, many an hour is full of unproductive calls with undecided prospects, chasing and collecting past due dollars from clients who sometimes forget how to pay, and dealing with the hesitancy and indecision that comes when you wear all the hats (or capes if you’re more into the superhero thing).
You’ve gotta embrace the good with the GACK and know that glamour isn’t going to be your go-to description. If you can do that, then you’ll be wowed by the wonderful more often than you’re overwhelmed by the “ CRAP, you’re kidding me” moments.
Share some of the “glamour” that makes up your daily grind!
Oh this post makes me smile. You’re breaking down entrepreneurial life, old school. And did you use the word GACK? Classic. Yes — passion rocks! It’s totally the weekly practice of dedicated work time that helps the dreams and passions flourish. Glad you’re pointing that out to other business peeps, Mallie!
Thanks for the shoutout.
I knew I had to include your thoughts on the staged photos, Alysa. It was classic.
And yes, yes I did use GACK. I did not use ding-danged in this publish, though. I think maybe I’m a little off my game. I think it’s really crucial that we don’t unnecessarily romanticize the entrepreneurial path. It’s not strewn with rises. Once in a while you might even step in a pile of something stinky!
My days start early as well and besides three large dogs that need to be walked – at least 4 x day – I am also mom to four kids! My days aren’t glamorous by any means and my ‘help me’ moments often come at 2:37 PM when it’s time to round up the dogs and head to the bus stop and I realize I am indeed still wearing the clothes I slept in or wore the day before, and I really, really should have taken a shower at 2:30 PM!
After nearly 5 years of entrepreneurship I am better at turning off the computer – and my brain – on Fridays at 4 PM.
I basically work like a madwoman from 7:30 AM – 2:37 PM and then go back after the kids are done with activities, homework, dinner and sports, around 8 PM or so for round two.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it’s not as glamorous as those pictures you see on blogs and in magazines.
My office might be dusty, full of dog hair and messy – I still am productive and that’s what counts.
I forgot to mention the dog hair and the clay from the tennis courts, Dorien!
Productive and pretty don’t always go hand in hand. But productive pays the bills and pretty, when it comes to the entrepreneur, is just window dressing!
Ha ha, I love this! My desk looks NOTHING like those styled work spaces. It would be pretty funny if a photographer released a mockup of a “real” workspace: dirty coffee cup, old CDs as coasters, coffee cup stuffed full of pens (1/2 with no ink, and missing tops), stacks of paper samples, whatever dishes from the last meal at my desk, phone charger sans phone, etc…
Joelle, we talked about releasing a “real desks” series. Want in on the action? 🙂
And, being completely honest, my desk is rocking three old coffee cups!
Ahhhh this was FANTASTIC! I’m laughing my ass off over here. Glamorous for me, as a work at home mom, would mean the showers don’t necessarily happen everyday…and I’m likely to be sporting some kind of who-knows-from-what stain on my shirt.
If I’m feeling SUPER glamorous one day, I miiiight put on a real bra. But that’s probably because I need to drag the kids to the grocery store 🙂
This was an epic post, and I’m super glad you wrote it!
Thanks so much for chiming in Caitlin Powell. I thought I might drum up some enthusiasm with the topic, but also thought I might get a little push back. It’s still early. The dissent could be imminent.
Just today I sat at my desk for at least 30 minutes, gross and sweaty after tennis drills, as I just couldn’t hop in the shower when I had emails awaiting responses! I am now bathed and I threw on the closest pull-on dress that was waiting to be put away (covering the ironing board).
Epic post, Mallie. You are so right. Productive and pretty don’t always go hand in hand.
My days start early, but not quite as early as your days do. And my desk? Ouch! Right now it could use some serious housekeeping. There’s a stack of folders that needed to be filed last week to my left. An open draw to my right and an empty coffee cup that needs to be filled in front of me – again. Not so glamorous, but there are deadlines to meet and all will have to wait.
Productivity and pretty are not BFFs here, but the productivity is what must take center stage.
Early mornings are nothing new to an entrepreneur, are they, Robin! They are just part of the package.
I’m not averse to pretty, mind you. I’d love a truly gorgeous office, worthy of pinning on Pinterest. But you’re right. Producing for clients always takes a front seat when you have to make the choice!
As is usual, I nodded along with your post.
Making peace with long days, hard work, getting stuff done no matter what and realizing that it doesn’t matter what you look like whilst doing it makes your life as an entrepreneur a whole lot smoother.
I’m an early riser too – those dogs have to be walked – and at the moment I am also working with a couple of Australian clients, which means sleeping on a very odd schedule! Flexibility is part of the gig.
And the only reason why my housework is up to date and the office is super tidy is because we are showing the apartment before moving home!
Well said, Mallie 🙂
It’s always good to know that I’m in tune with my peers. Just inside after the first morning walk. And the first pot of coffee is brewing. Yes, it’s Friday, but it’s just another long day in a long week. Sure, the weekend is right next door and there’s a staycation in my near future. But the work, if you’re good at what you do and have an onboarding plan in place, doesn’t go away.
I LOVE the idea of a “real life” desk scene series! This was just perfect . . . the reality check I needed at the end of my most productive, but least glamorous week ever!
Lori! Thank you. I was actually a little nervous about sharing this one in the Blog Loft group, because I saw quite a few styled photos in the feed. 🙂
It’s certainly tongue-in-cheek, and you absolutely got it.
Have a wonderful weekend!
The next time someone tells me I’m super lucky I work as a freelance because I can wear PJs all day long, I’ll send them a link to this post. 😉
Because, let’s be real, the whole “Follow your passion, and you won’t work a day in your life” is quite a load of BS. lol
Thank you, as always, for reminding us all of the what matters!
Yeah, it no longer sounds so lucky when we admit that we’re in our PJs because we haven’t had time to do the laundry, or we haven’t changed clothes in three days. Sure, we love what we do. But it doesn’t mean it’s not work!
Yes to everything about this! So completely true 100%! I haven’t worn mascara in weeks and my wardrobe is pretty much entirely yoga pants. Dealing with the frustrating days is what sets true entrepreneurs apart from the rest. Those who think it’s always glamorous can keep their day jobs 🙂
So jazzed you found the article and that it spoke to you, Taylor. Lately I’ve been trying to get dressed every day. Mostly because my husband deserves a little more put-together wife. But, trust me. When deadlines loom, pajama (yoga pants) days are the ticket!
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