I love being a business owner.
I love that I have the flexibility to create my own hours, work around my husband’s schedule, spend time with my kids during the day, and take on the kind of work that makes me happy. I can photograph what I want. I can work with the brands that I choose. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. If my boss is giving me a hard time, I can just take the day off. If I want to go on vacation, I go. I don’t have to request time off or put in a request for leave like my husband does.
Being a business owner comes with its downfalls. It comes with a price sometimes.
And lately, I’ve been struggling with one of the harder aspects of owning my own business:
With owning my own business things like promotions and awards don’t come around.
There’s no advancing. No promotions. No pay raise. There’s no recognition when you bust your butt and work an 80 hour week.
No one notices the days that you don’t sleep (or eat for that matter) so you can finish a project. No one gets excited when you crack the piece of html code or CSS configuring that’s been hanging you up for three days.
It’s a lonely and somewhat isolating thing this being my own boss.
Not to mention, most people on the outside don’t even acknowledge my work. Or the fact that I even own a business. And of those that do, most of them don’t even take me seriously. The majority of our family has no clue what I do. They seem to just assume I’m home with my kids all day twirling my thumbs. The amount of time and energy that I pour into my work just doesn’t register. Like it doesn’t exist. Like the fact that I own a business is just a facade.
“Oh you design blogs. Isn’t that what these moms who stay home sit around and write? Blogs about how to parent?”
“Oh, you aren’t shooting photos professionally for people? You’re just another mom with a camera, right?”
I stopped telling people a long time ago that I designed blogs. Because the reaction was always the same. Mock interest and then that sliver of apprehension that followed. That apprehension that since I designed “blogs” that my job isn’t to be taken seriously. Just another mom who needed something to do during the day while she was home with her kids.
No degree behind my name. No office to drive off to or serve as a representation of the work that I do. I never realized that having an office…an actual physical space outside of your home, away from your children…gave such merit. That it somehow legitimized your work.
I’ve had a hard time feeling validated in my job. I love what I do. I love my clients. And most of my clients are mothers with children of my own, so they appreciate the work that I do and the schedule in which I do it on. I love the projects that I create. That I get to bring someones vision to life and breath creativity into their goals.
But when I crawl in bed at night, there’s still that part of me that wishes that there was more credit given to small business owners. Especially to small business owners who don’t have a handful of employees. Who don’t have offices outside of their home. Who work because they love what they do and the people they work with…
in spite of the days when they feel like their work just doesn’t matter.
Let me add, that I do receive a great deal of validation and feel very much appreciated when my clients leave wonderful testimonials or rave reviews about their experience. Please know that I’m not at all talking about how my clients make me feel here. More of an “how the outside world makes me feel” kind of thing…