The Reality Behind A Small Business

As the lockdown begins to ease and the new normal gets underway I just wanted to give a mention to all those small businesses out there.

Those who have kept going relentlessly through all of this.  Whether its been an essential part of keeping the country going or whether its been essential to just keep your business going, whilst not being able to operate.  Diversifying in all sorts of creative ways just so you can keep some kind of income coming in.

These last few months more than any, we have heard the words ‘small business’.  I use these terms very loosely when describing anything that comes under the heading of small business.

When I’ve looked at my business over the last 9 years, I found there is actually nothing ‘small’ about it.  It may be that the number of employees is small, being that there is only one or that your takings are considerably smaller compared to a large company but your job is certainly not small.

Why Did You Choose It?

If you were to look back at when you decided to go self employed or create your own business, what did you think to yourself?  Why did you have the urge to go it alone in this ‘high risk’ bracket?  Which to be fair, makes some things near on impossible to do when you put that self employed status!  Just think mortgages, credit applications, rent applications, even mobile phones!  The odds are always stacked against you, having to jump through so many more hoops than if you were employed.

For me it was holidays (and still is) and having flexible time, especially having young children. Its usually the Mums role having to juggle work, childcare and school holidays but that’s a whole other story I’ll come on to!

If I wanted the days off between Christmas and New Year, I wanted them off as a reward for working so hard all year.  Not the drama of putting a request in, waiting 2 weeks to then be told “ No Karen, you can only have 1 day off as you need to cover ‘Sandra’ the other 3 days “. ‘Sandra’ who I had never had to cover, at any other time during the rest of the year!  It was so frustrating.

So freedom from the clocking in times, set break times and routine was a lovely thought!

How Appealing Does it Sound?

Whatever your reasons were, you chose to do it for what suited you and not someone else, especially if you’re a hard grafter!  Why should you not be making the money for yourself rather than for someone else.

However being the super hard worker that you are, also has its downside.  How do you switch off from work?  How do you stop and take a break, let alone a holiday?  How do you manage your day without it running into your whole evening, till you end up going to bed far later than you planned.  After all this is your business and only you at the reigns.

If anyone were to look at a complete breakdown of what you do in a day or a job description, do you think it would sound very appealing? I know what I’d be thinking..

Wow I’m never going to get all that done in one day!

You’re hourly rate works out at how much?

No holiday or sick pay?

Breaks – if youre lucky

Saturdays, Sundays and evenings?

You might not get a wage if your customer or clients don’t come in

No chance of promotion

Not much chance of a bonus

Be available AAT (at any time)

I’m not sure I would be sold on this!  You certainly get plenty of variety if nothing else.  You end with lots of new job roles without even having to apply for the jobs!  How exciting is that?  well sometimes!

New Job Roles

Often these new roles are self taught, muddled together from some online help, various youtube videos or advice from ‘Lynne’ who has “done it like for the past 10 years and its always worked for her”.  Shear grit, determination and no other option are what get you to learn what is needed.

In a typical day you can be PA, Receptionist, Social Media Specialist, Head of Facilities, Writer, Project Manager, Procurement, Teacher, Councillor, Payroll Officer, Marketing Manager, Retail Manager, IT Manager, Mentor, Accounts Manager, Business Development Manager, Photographer, CEO and Director! That’s just at work, when you get home you then slide straight into Mother, Wife, Friend, Cleaner, Chef and the rest!  Phew you’re definitely busy.

What It Really Means

Having a small business means you are courageous, brave, driven, determined, optimistic, positive, hard working, brilliant, creative, enthusiastic, fabulous, innovative and strong willed.  There are not many people who against all these odds take on this mighty role and you need to be proud every day of how far you have come.  Appreciate just what it takes to be this person and this business as you are your business.

Your many job roles, hidden talents and endless hours often go hidden into the background of whats actually on show.  With no bosses or managers giving you any accolades or encouragement for all your hard work.  So give yourself the recognition and the pat on the back and say well done for coming this far.  You do it for the love and passion of what you believe in and what you ultimately want to give to others.

Yes it might seem on certain days it would be easier to tick that box of being ‘employed’ but would you get those same heartfelt moments? Providing that personalised service for your customers or clients or of what you have achieved in building your own business, I know I wouldn’t.

Keep Us In Mind

As we all try to return to work, please keep in mind how hard all of these ‘small businesses’ have worked to keep you safe and have kept going so you have something to go back to.  Remember to keep supporting local businesses where you can as they still need you more than ever.  In turn they will remember each and every one of you personally and how you helped them to get through this.

Here’s to a local lockdown comeback success for everyone!

Keep safe and take care, love Karen x

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