Are you a ‘real’ business owner yet?

Written by Lisa

It’s 2014, I am at a dreaded networking event and the sweat is rolling down my back. I’m two years in ‘business’ now. I have a bunch of Vistaprint business cards in my hand at the ready, praying that no one asks me for one.

That was the story of my life back then. I was constantly concerned at where I fitted in, yet I was still turning up. I felt less than everyone else in that room. All those other ‘real’ business owners, with their ‘real’ businesses.

Taken in 2012. My first networking event as a sole trader. Dying inside! I believe it was a N.E.W. Meeting hosted by the Local Enterprise Office.

My head was saying  “Nope, I’m not a business owner at all. I’m just a waxer”.

It wasn’t long before I was headed towards my third year in business and yet still I didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur of any kind. I was embarrassed by the tiny room that I ran my small, yet growing, waxing business from.

I didn’t even have a reception.  In fact I had no staff. I didn’t retail any products. I didn’t run my business online and I for some reason couldn’t get my location on Google maps properly.

Yet, despite self doubt, my business was growing steadily but I still had trouble putting a name on what it was I owned.

A salon? No. A business? No. A studio? Maybe – Damn labels. Can someone please tell me when you get to qualify as an actual business owner?

I had left my full-time corporate job in pursuit of happiness. I wanted to be the captain of my own ship, dance to my own tune and live a life where both personal and business opportunities would be limitless. They were, and still are, my reasons for setting up my own business in the middle of one of the biggest depressions our country has ever lived through.

Wax It 2013.

At the beginning of my second year in business my Dad died. He was not only my father, he was my mentor. I wasn’t sure how I would survive that blow and also keep my business afloat. But some how I did. I kept on turning up. In fact, life continued all around me with lots of ups and downs and I consistently forged ahead with building my client base.

It was in 2015 that things really started to change. How? I changed. My mindset changed.

I was now well into my third year in business and turning over a decent salary and still embarrassed by my tiny room that I ran my ‘business’ out of.

‘Enough! I’ve had enough!

I’d had enough of not stepping into and owning what I was building as a real business. I knew instinctively what was holding me back – my mindset and my confidence. I knew had to do something or I would continue to hold myself back.

So here’s what I did:

  1. I made a final decision on what it was I owned and every chance I got I introduced myself as the ‘owner of a waxing business in Greystones’ – Wax It Studio (now called Wax It Lounge).
  2. I had a strong word with myself about valuing my business as an real business. About valuing my skill as an actual craft and legitimate trade.
  3. I worked on my confidence daily. I put positive affirmations around my bedroom to overcome my self-doubt and filled my news feed with people who inspired me. I was determined to get out of my own way.
  4. hired a business coach.
  5. I downloaded business books and listened to podcasts. I still do. I learn and grow as much as I can, always.
  6. I attended even more networking events and mixed with other businesses outside the beauty industry. I joined Network Ireland Wicklow.
  7. I put one day aside for business development every week – not ‘admin’ – Business Development. It’s different and more powerful.

Lastly, and most importantly, I remained grateful. Grateful that we live in a world where learning is at our finger tips. Where sharing knowledge and supporting each other from all corners of the world is possible and at the ready.

That four years ago now, and I’m seven years in business today. I now have a fantastic business partner, Kathy, and we continue grow our business on a daily basis together

And we have a reception!

Thankfully, today I no longer dread networking events, in fact anyone who knows me know’s I now love them. I even started a monthly women in business networking evening, along side Michelle Power. There’s over 600 members online. However, truth be told, I still have to work on my confidence. Whenever I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone (which I try to do as often as I can) I throw podcasts of Tony Robbins or Brene Brown on, or I put up the positive affirmations on the mirror again and I keep forging onwards.

Whatever it takes for the business to go where it needs to go, I get it done.

If you are struggling to see yourself as a ’real’ business owner or step fully into your business, here are three powerful questions to ask yourself that might help you move forward;

  1. What do you tell people when they ask you what you do for a living? Watch the words you use to answer.

  2. What’s specifically holding you back from owning you and your business? Whatever it is look at putting some support around it so you can move through it.

  3. List out what you are currently doing in your business that is no longer serving you and stop doing it or get rid of it.

 I will leave you with a famous quote I love. A quote that was repeated to me by my father as he encouraged me to go after the life I wanted.

‘It is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.’ – Theodore Roosevelt.

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Lisa x

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Further to that she states “comparison can be a way to berate ourselves into being a better mother.” Ah. Clever.

‘It’s not necessarily the comparing thought that’s the issue, but rather the feeling of guilt and shame that follows’. – right. And no better way to ensure compliance. Guilt and shame are long used forms of social control.

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Okay, so what can we do about this comparison then?

First, we must recognise that we cannot resist what we cannot see.

So, grab a pen and paper and write down:

1. What do you currently believe you should be doing in order to consider yourself a good enough mum.
2. Challenge any thoughts that are creating shame or any feelings of not good enoughness. Where do those thoughts or images come from?
3. Could you then create your own image of what a happy, content and good enough mother is?

My intention for 2022 is rebuild what my own beliefs are around all this.

I don’t think it’ll happen overnight but what I wish for me as a new mum, and all the mums out there, is to mother my little love like no-ones watching.

Lisa xx

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