Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This is part four in a series where I'm sharing what it's really like to be a small business owner and if that path is right for you. So many of you want to start your own business someday and it's important that you have a realistic picture of what that entails. Today we're talking a little about the criticism you're bound to receive from some family and friends as you begin your business ownership journey.
For me, the nuts and bolts of starting a business were relatively easy compared to constantly battling this idea that I was somehow wrong for wanting to follow my heart and create a good life for myself that has meaning, depth, and joy. Many of my friends, co-workers, and family members questioned me and talked down to me in the beginning. And if some of the closest people in your life don't believe in you, how are you supposed to believe in you? It can certainly throw you for a loop.
I can still remember all the judgments I endured when I quit my lawyer job. The comments I still remember are:
- You really think you can make enough money selling jewelry?
- How are you going to pay for your living expenses?
- You're just going to waste your law degree like that?
- Have you ever thought about trying a different field of law instead? (Oh my gosh, this was my pet peeve. You really think I haven't thoroughly examined this idea!?)
- What business experience do you have to run your own business? (Said in a very derogatory tone)
- So, like, when are you going to go back to being a lawyer? (Again, said in a very derogatory tone)
When you start your business, you are going to receive similar comments. Trust me. So how do you navigate through them without losing your confidence? Well, at the end of the day, always remember these comments say more about the person making them than they do about you. That's it. That's the key. Remember that these comments are coming from people who have bought the "traditional life path" model hook, line, and sinker. You know how it goes - work at a job you don't particularly like, wish for the weekends, save in a 401(k), and hope to really start "living" at age 65 when you retire. These types of people get really uncomfortable when they see someone challenging that traditional path. You know why? Because they have to face the possibility that maybe there is another way. And, boy oh boy, these types of people don't like to be wrong about the way they've approached things. Trust me, I've met lots and lots of them in the legal profession. These people tend to think that everyone should be on the straight and narrow path and anyone who veers outside of that is crazy, naive, weird, strange, etc. Don't let them deter you. Don't let them steer you off course. Remember that you have a bigger life vision than them, that's all. And you'll be the one living the good life in a few years, while they stay trapped until retirement.
After a couple years, when your business has become more stable, they'll be the ones asking you for advice! Trust me. I've experienced this too. It's great fun for me to talk to the people who previously judged me! Some of them can hardly believe that I never went back to law. And they become so curious as to how you did it. To say the least, it's pretty gratifying to say "I told you so" (in my mind and never out loud of course!)
I hope this real talk is helpful. I'll be back next week with the fifth and final installment in this series. It's so important to get clear on this stuff before you invest a lot of time and money into your business idea.
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!