Under the Microscope
I’m calling it: starting a business is the wildest thing you will ever do. Forget skydiving, childbirth and skinny dipping – nothing can truly compare to the total chaos, mindfuckery and utter elation that comes with starting and running a small biz.
Sure, there is no real danger of actually dying (unless carking it from exhaustion counts?), but I’ve never been so terrified, confused, excited and proud of anything like I have been with Rust.
Granted, my stakes aren’t as high as they could be. I’m yet to be full time in biz, I don’t have a family to support, or a mortgage to pay or a team whose livelihoods rely on me.
But I’m online. I’ve told people about what I’m doing. I put myself out there, knowing that I could fail, and knowing that people are watching my every move.
Every time I see anyone I know, they ask “how is your business going?”. Which in a way is very sweet, because it means that they pay enough attention to ask about something I’m working really hard on. But at the same time, I feel obliged to perform a chirpy auto response: “It’s great thank you! I’m so busy working on a few projects and building up my client portfolio.”
Yes, I have become the woman who uses business jargon to dazzle you into conversational submission. If the questioner responds with anything higher than a “that’s good!” then I know the charade has worked.
Chances are, you’ve got your own version of an auto response too. We script them for emails, voicemails and any instance where we have less than five minutes to talk.
But what about before the business is a topic of conversation? When it’s just a sparkly idea in a notebook, or a registered name with ASIC? How do you tell your loved ones that you’ve decided to join the waves of women sticking it to the man, so to speak, and starting their own business?
I took to Instagram to hear the stories of YOU, my wonderful community of badass business bitches (too many b’s?), who have all lived and breathed this very moment in a multitude of ways.
96% of participants received positive reactions from the people they told.
85% of participants’ family/friends/partners were excited about their new business.
77% of participants were not surprised by the reactions of friends/family/partners.
Among the responses, there was an overwhelming theme of positivity. I don’t know if we all just got really lucky, or if the people who had shitty experiences didn’t come forwards, but out of the 8 personal stories shared with me, 7 received words of support from their partners and family.
Friends – whom we often deem our chosen family – were a little less thrilled.
Daniella Elias of Amity Created, said that “My friends weren’t so supportive, and said ‘oh, so like a hobby? I wouldn’t leave teaching for it’”. Never mind that she leaving a job that gave her serious burnout – to build a business that was going to help hundreds of women combat the very thing she was suffering from!
Georgia Press of Barnu, shared that her friends asked her for free products. Which is understandable to a degree – and certainly a very common response – but when a friend is starting a business so they create an income stream, why is our default response to ask them for free shit?
Other stories included concerns for time management and whether or not their business was actually a legitimate pursuit.
Raquel Helmers of Rackers, shared “They said I was crazy and that I was wasting time until I was done with uni and could get a *wait for it* REAL JOB.”
I think it’s safe to assume that age and current job status definitely plays a factor in how the responses sway. We could even extend that assumption to your financial situation, responsibilities and five year plan.
More often than not, as we’ve seen in this inquiry (ooh, I sound so official), the people we love are supportive and excited for our pursuits. But their positive reactions are quickly followed by logistics and practical responses. Business plans, the status of our savings and letters of resignation are all questioned, as if our decision to start a business means that we suddenly have the rest of our lives sorted (haha).
Conducting this exploration has confirmed what I first assumed: that starting something as big as a new business is no less – or more – criticised than another other major life event. It all comes down to the people you surround yourself with, and how much they believe in you.
P.S. I really hope the people around you believe in you. And if they don’t? Know that I do, even if you’re making god awful scooby bracelets and blackmailing everyone on Facebook to buy one. You do you, girl.
*Quick stats results were based off an Instagram poll with 26 participants.
Until the next brew,
Viv + Team Rust
Rust Creative helps women in their twenties fast-track finding their purpose. Through 1:1 coaching, group programs and specialised resources, we offer women clarity and direction so that they can ENJOY the most exciting decade of their lives. And tea, always tea.
The Rust Woman
AKA Our Ideal Client.
She's a savvy twenty-something looking for a safe space to he heard and supported. She's confident that she can achieve her goals, but she doesn't know how she'll get there – yet. She KNOWS she has a purpose but needs a helping hand to uncover it.