I have been surprised at some of the comments I’m getting lately when I tell people I have a new full time job that starts in December. Family, friends, clients and colleagues know me as the Professional Organizer/Author/Speaker. And I have been pretty successful in this business although I never got on the New York Times bestseller list and I never became the highly paid speaker I was shooting for. But I had a growing and profitable service business for twelve years.
The first comment I’ve heard by many is “they are lucky to have you.” Meaning my new company, Velocity Advisory Group. So thank you, that’s nice to hear. I hope I can live up to everyone’s expectations. I feel I’m lucky to have them. I’ve carried the stress of running a business for long enough. It’s been nice, now I’m ready to move on.
The second most common comment (which floors me) is, “Are you going to keep your organizing business?” Let me get this straight, you want me, a mother of three who still does the wash, food shopping, cooking, doctor appointments, holiday planning and scheduling of extra-curriculars to have 2 FULL TIME JOBS? That’s when I realize that nobody understands what I do on a day-to-day basis, unless they are a small business owner themselves.
This is a full time job! I work with clients every day Monday thru Friday, sometimes Saturdays. And often it’s two clients in one day. I rarely have a full day off. When I do, I am handling all the administrative part of my business: social media, writing talks & blogs, calling customers, delivering donations, sometimes ordering products for clients, thinking up new ways to make money, paying bills, scheduling, re-scheduling, listening to new potential clients on the phone, answering media inquiries. Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff but it is a full time job. My typical week has been half day at a client’s house and a half-day working from home. The problem is, billable hours. No one is paying me to do the admin. No one is paying me when I go to workshops to learn something new. No one is paying me for a week at the beach in the summer. I am paying for my family’s health care premiums and they have just doubled! I have to pay taxes on a quarterly basis so I don’t get slammed in April. So when someone talks about “pricey consultants” I don’t think they appreciate all that comes out of that hourly rate.
Do I love the flexibility of my own business? YES. It has served me and my family well for a long time. But the kids are grown and they can be left alone more and we have systems in place so our home runs smoothly. Running my business has taught me as much as I believe I could learn at Grad School and I’m happy to take my expertise to another business who appreciates my talents and is willing to pay me accordingly for every moment spent working.
If you are a small business owner, I hope you understand where I’m coming from. And if you have a friend who owns their own business, you may see them at the gym at 8 am, or picking up a child at school at 3 pm. Don’t assume their job is easy or more of a “hobby.” They are probably working when you are not and they are under stress to survive in this economy. They have expenses you don’t even think about. Don’t assume they only work 4 hours a day. And please, don’t suggest that they get another full time job. But please, support them this Saturday on Small Business Saturday!
What else do small business owners do that no one realizes? I’d love to hear your comments!