You’re A Business Owner AND A Human Being …

You're A Business Owner AND A Human Being ...

The last time I checked, running a business didn’t come with a certain tool allowing us to switch off every bit of human feeling and emotion.

While, on occasion, that might be a nice thing, it would make us robots. We’re told pretty often, by experts in marketing and customer experience fields, that consumers don’t want to do business with robots.

So, suffice to say, I think we have to allow ourselves to be human, along with all of our human failings, when we’re building, managing and maintaining our business.

You’re Going To Feel The Real!

Guess what? Real people feel real emotions. We don’t live on fluffy pink positivity clouds that allow us to ignore the fact that bad shizz happens to good business owners.

Bad shizz is relative, depending on the day and the state of your business. The bad juju can come from things big or small. But it’s ridiculous to pretend that we can ignore the fact that there are times when doing business just ain’t fun.

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to ride the solopreneur unicorn when I’m dealing with:

  • late payments
  • scope creep
  • disappearing clients
  • plagiarism
  • the continued attempts at “democratization” of my skill set and expertise

Guess what party peeps? We’re all going to face one of these battles at some point during our career.

Guess what else? That means it’s absolutely A-OK hunky dory to exhibit some real and human emotion from time to time, even when you’re doing business.

It’s Okay To Exhibit Underwhelm

You do not to have jet out of your chair and do a jig every time you client comes up with another “super” idea. Chances are the idea isn’t all that super, has been tried by others to little success, and just won’t be worth the time and effort you’d have to put into launching it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You do yourself and your client a disservice if you sugarcoat bad ideas …” quote=”You do yourself and your client a disservice if you sugarcoat bad ideas with, ‘that’s a great idea, but …'” theme=”style4″]

Because it’s NOT a great idea. You’re giving them false hope that they can get around the “but” in order to implement the idea you acknowledged as great with a small glitch.

You don’t have to get excited and pass out pink positivity parfaits every time your client opens his/her mouth. While you shouldn’t dismiss or disdain their ideas, thus making your clients feel small or insignificant, it’s absolutely allowed to exhibit a little underwhelm. Especially if you explain the why of that lack of whelm.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Expertise doesn’t mean you’re always ecstatic about client’s big ideas …” quote=”You were hired for your expertise. Expertise doesn’t mean you’re always ecstatic about the ‘big idea’ you’re asked to implement.” theme=”style4″]

It’s Okay To Feel Sad

There will come a time, especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur, when your client takes all that’s lovely about your creation and somehow manages to turn it into an absolute mess.

You’ve designed a glorious website. It’s got form and function in perfect balance. It’s as easy to navigate as it’s easy on the eye. You know that there’s no such thing as a fully completed website, but you’ve come pretty ding-danged close. You’re proud to have this site link back to your own.

And then it happens. The client decides you’re too expensive to maintain the site, which is fairly common. They decide they’ll hire someone cheaper or maintain it themselves. And you notice that the glorious is now looking pretty god-awful.

It’s okay to feel a sad, even to despair a bit, over the destruction of your good work. When your carefully crafted copy is edited to the point that carefully crafted becomes craptastic. When your lovely social media image template is savaged with a terrible typeface change. When your website wonderful becomes website woe is me.

Feel sad, disappointed, even a little dejected. Then immediately remove any links to/from that now craptastic creation so that no one thinks it’s your work!

It’s Okay To Get Angry And Engage In Stern Discussion

The other day there was a discussion about copy theft in a Facebook group to which I belong. The gist of the article generating the discussion was this: don’t get upset when someone steals your content, as it will mess with your mojo going forward.

What a pile of crap!!!

I’ve had my content stolen, on more than one occasion. I’ve had my graphics lifted, altered and re-posted without a single nod of acknowledgement and absolutely no permission. I’ve had clients decide I was too expensive to maintain their site, so they turned it over to another “designer,” who then promptly added their company name and site link to the footer taking credit for the design.

Guess what happened in each instance. I got mad. Not pinkly, prettily peeved. Flat out pissed off. And while I certainly tempered my anger a bit, I didn’t take it easy on the thieves.

I didn’t tell the thieving asshats that I was disappointed by their actions in a bid to “guilt them” gently into doing what was right. I flat out told them they’d better make it right, RIGHT NOW!

Guess what? They all made it right, RIGHT then!

Be Human!

If you don’t stand up for yourself as you engage in the running of your business, you’re eventually going to get stepped on. Standing strong and holding tight to our convictions is part of who we are as human beings.

Part of doing business is knowing when to allow your emotions to express themselves. You’re not a robot. Logic and programming aren’t going to see you through times good or bad. Emotions are part of what makes your brand unique. So, while you sometimes need to suppress those emotions, or let them simmer down a bit before your strike back, there’s no need to void them in their entirety from your business persona.

9 replies
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks for chiming in and for the compliment, Sarah Marie. There’s no point, at least in my opinion, to pretend to be anyone that we’re not. Why embrace a terse, abbreviated writing style if you’re more wordy and alliterative? You shouldn’t suppress the real you in order to gain some pseudo-semblance of professionalism, right?

      Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks for chiming in and for the compliment, Sarah Marie. There’s no point, at least in my opinion, to pretend to be anyone that we’re not. Why embrace a terse, abbreviated writing style if you’re more wordy and alliterative? You shouldn’t suppress the real you in order to gain some pseudo-semblance of professionalism, right?

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    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Wow! What an awesome pick me up as I started to tire toward the end of my work day. Thanks, Sachel! My husband, who also happens to be my business partner, gave me permission to unleash even more of the real me. I might not be for everybody, but I’m really glad my style suits you.

      Have a wonderful day and keep it real!

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      Reply
  1. Angie Green
    Angie Green says:

    This is so true! There’s a lot of people who make “following your passion” and “doing what you love” sound like it’s always peaches and fluffy bunnies.

    But sometimes things are hard. And sometimes we do stupid stuff. It’s refreshing to have a voice saying that those things are okay, and totally normal!

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Absolutely, Angie. When there’s no one single “right way” to do anything, it means there are plenty of maybe not so “spot-on” ways we’ve all tried!
      Love the peaches and fluffy bunnies quote, too!

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      Reply
  2. Mui
    Mui says:

    I so relate to having build beautiful websites that get ruined when someone else took over 🙁 Sometimes I want to take my name off at the bottom because I no longer want to be associated with it. And, yes, I feel sad every time that happens.

    Disappearing clients that think it’s okay to not pay the balance because they’ve changed their mind about their business ideas… that gets me too. When that kind of shit happens it takes a lot of determination and optimism to keep going, but go we must!

    It’s not all hunky-dory, but I wouldn’t want to trade being my own boss with anything else 🙂

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Sing it, sister! LOL. I am closely monitoring two websites right now, wondering if/when I’ll have to remove my link from the footer. And my latest disappearing client was a barter agreement, something I generally look to as a good idea. But this experience might just make me change my mind. At least for the immediate future.

      You’re right, it’s not always A-okay or hunky dory, but it’s still the best gig around. We just have to be honest that it’s not all piña coladas and pretty pink cupcakes!

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