Hello Monday! As I shared on the newsletter, I had a great weekend being surrounded by people doing amazing things in the city. Being in this industry means we encounter people who are doing all kinds of things. There are so many local startups, and agencies that it never occurs to me that others don’t have a valid understanding of what I do everyday. Owning a technical creative company, it’s probably not the easiest to classify in the “normal” boxes that others are accustomed to when it comes to careers. I feel as if I lived in a place like San Francisco or New York, there is hardly an eyelash bat at young entrepreneurs owning tech companies. However, there’s something about this area that the common man doesn’t quite understand what is going on with young adults and why some of us are abandoning the “traditional” career roles.
I Own A Real Business
It’s easy to be confused by the type of work that people who work with the web do. I think there’s often a misconception that being self-employed is the same as being unemployed. There is confusion about things like benefits and steady pay periods. When someone hasn’t really owned a business of their own, they can be extremely confused as to how people own small businesses successfully. It’s even more unbelievable when it’s a two twenty-something kids who never took a course in college.
Believe it or not, I do own a real business. I had to register my business with the state. I pay business taxes. I manage my hours as I would at any company. I manage my contacts with a CRM. I have profits and loss margins. I have a co-founder. I have a business plan. It seems redundant to share that information in this space but you wouldn’t believe how often I’m questioned about the state of my employment. Self-employment is a real thing and you can be successful.
Every Day is Different
I’m sure many of you get questioned on what your day-to-day looks like. It’s even more ridiculous for me because no two of my days are the same. On top of that, being pregnant means everyone believes in a few months, I’ll be a lovely stay-at-home mom who watches Netflix and posts yoga pictures on Instagram all day. I try not to roll my eyes at these assumptions but really, I wish I could just hang out at home all day and still pay all of my bills.
Unfortunately, I’m often in meetings throughout the day all over central Florida. My desk is covered in notes, invoices, receipts, meeting agendas, and mock-ups that I reference all throughout the day. I get dressed everyday. I never remember to eat lunch on time. I have projects booked through the end of the year. I have projects booked after my very, very short maternity leave. I like what I do. I like being busy, which is why I left the 9-5 world in the first place. No two days of mine are alike. I’m always working on something different which is why I love what I do.
Measuring My Success
So unfortunately, measuring my success is my job and not the job of my peers, friends, or family. It’s up to my husband and I to know when we’re doing well and when we’re face planting. Obviously, I’m not the Scrooge McDuck of branding, but we’re doing pretty great for two people who have been self-taught in everything we do. I’m not sure what it is about self-employment that makes others feel entitled to know what your income is but it’s really no one’s business. I do love when entrepreneurs share their income reports publicly because it becomes visible that you can make money doing non-traditional work. However, no one owes that information to anyone other than the government.
I feel most successful when I get recurring work from my clients. I feel successful when I get emails that praise what we do. When I’m at an event and people are sharing their thoughts on something I’ve talked about or shared on my blog, I feel like I’m giving back to my industry. Yes, it’s amazing to be financially in a good place and have a billing rate that I’m comfortable with. However, I don’t really care how other people decide to measure my success. When I’m failing, you’ll definitely be aware!
Honestly, you really don’t owe and explanation to anyone who isn’t involved with your business about what you do everyday. You will get the same questions over and over from the same people. I actually do enjoy educating others on branding, design, and how a twenty-four year-old doesn’t report to manager for work. Self-employment isn’t something new. This country is built on the spirit of entrepreneurship. I think the confusion comes from the fact that there isn’t a tangible product or established service that the general consensus is familiar with.
I try to familiarize what I do to other small businesses around me or other small business owners. These are the people who own our local restaurants, boutiques, cleaning services, etc. Everyone knows someone who works for themselves. Working with the web or design is no different. You put in the hours, provide a service, and make money. Don’t allow others to make you feel like what you do isn’t a real thing. The twenty-something tech entrepreneur is no longer a rare thing so embrace it!