I had a fairly in-depth conversation with a good friend the other day about life and business and everything that is going on, and she made a fairly sweeping statement – “It’s so nice to hear from someone who is doing cool stuff but didn’t just fall into it.”
Maybe it’s that others wrap it up in a fairy-floss coating, but I cannot believe that anyone in business for themselves, whether its full time, part time or a side hustle, could have “fallen into it”. It sounds too much like that stupid idiom you see plastered on Pinterest and Instagram “Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life”.
It’s just not bloody true.
To be in business, you have to love what you do, yes – but you also have to know how to press forward when things are tough, find a little joy or satisfaction in the hardest parts of the job and work your guts out even when you don’t want to face the inbox, the production meeting or the pouring of your thousandth candle for the week. The reality is that no matter what you are doing, what you are building, what you are making – there are going to be days where what you are doing for work is going to be shit. If nothing else in life comes easy, why would business be any different?
I think that to make it in small business or to continue to make your side hustle work, you need to learn how to appreciate the highs when they are there, and ride out the lows when they come. This idea of a rollercoaster of small business is one that rattles around in my head a lot. Sometimes it’s the anticipation as you go up the ramp and things are moving quickly and you know something big is coming. Sometimes it’s the adrenaline-depleted feeling of hitting the end of the downward slope, and sometimes it’s the mundaneness of the flats. And it doesn’t have to be dramatic, fireworks and champagne when its good, broke and alone when it’s tough, but the reality is that working for yourself you’re going to face a range of emotions – and it will all definitely be work.
So if you want to get on the rollercoaster, go into it eyes wide open. Yes, you get to do what you love, make your own hours and be in control. But it’s not all wearing pyjamas to work, finishing early on a Friday and only doing work you love. Sometimes it’s difficult clients and boring jobs and chasing invoices. Sometimes it’s hustling for weeks on end to get the new client, the new contract, the next step. And yes, sometimes it is a glass of bubbles on a Friday because you made it through another week.
Really, it’s called work because that’s what it is – and even when you love what you do, you will have to find ways to get through the tough times and the lows, based on the faith that the highs are coming next. Because if you can push through those lows, the highs will probably come, and they really do make it all worth it.