When I came up with the idea for My Color of Beauty, I was in my last semester of graduate school at the University of Central Arkansas. The plan was to take two years off from my career, complete grad school and then return back to work in public service. To be honest, I loved my old profession but it didn’t light enough of a fire in me to continue. I was always into startup businesses and the back story on why people went to work for themselves. I was into the dream of the “hustle.” But no one in my circle talked about this, so neither did I. I never thought I could be a entrepreneur or be a part of the hustle until one day I thought: WHY NOT?
Now that I have been making an income as an entrepreneur instead of by traditional employment, remarks about what I do for a living are interesting, confusing and sometimes insulting.
“Why don’t you just get a job at Sally’s Beauty Supply, if you want to sell beauty products?”
“Why do you have to sit at the computer if you already have your website?”
“When are you going to go back to work?”
My family and friends are as supportive as they know how to be. Follow your dreams, they say. Do what makes you happy.
I was featured in a local magazine earlier this year. It was a nice spread on emerging entrepreneurs in Arkansas. I, along with two other entrepreneurs, were featured on the cover. My in-laws came to visit right after it came out. They raved over it, absolutely loved it. They were proud. They are from the “print media’ generation, so it really meant something to them.
We were on our way to dinner later that evening and while sitting at the table, my father-in-law said, “You think you can get your old job back? I bet they will make you the boss.” Earlier that day I was excited that they seemed proud and somewhat understanding of what I was doing. Then in this moment, I was crushed. I love my father-in-law and was sure he was giving me a compliment and not meaning to demean what I was doing. He knows traditional employment. He knows owning a business, but he does not know working on the web. I just shrugged him off and told him I was returning to my old place of employment and that I’d continue to build My Color of Beauty. He was satisfied with my answer and assured me it would be nothing but great.
I get these kind of comments and responses all the time from family, friends, moms at my kids’ school. I get it and they don’t. Here is what I do to get past those statements and stay focused on my vision.
- Understand that they do not comprehend what you are doing and do no expect them to do so. If you are not part of the startup ecosystem, you will not understand. I try to educate them as much as I can without going over their head. If you divulge too much, then they’ll expect you to be the next Mark Zuckerberg because that’s the name in technology they know. Educate them at a minimum and build up as you build your business. They will understand it along the way and will be able to see.
- Beware of the naysayers. I guarantee they are among you. They are waiting on you to fail. If your startup isn’t where they believe it should be, then you are probably already a failure in their eyes. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Just steer clear of them. You do not need negativity in your life while trying to build a startup. Avoid it, walk around it and let others know that you cannot listen to it.
- Stay inspired. It’s easy enough to get discouraged when things do not go as you hope by yourself. Look at those who did it before you. There are those we know of, like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, etc. Then, there are those right there in your community. Find them and mimic their success. Become a part of startup events in your area. If there are not any in your region, then go to the web and jump on there. There is inspiration all around you; it’s just as matter of where you choose to find it.
All of your friends are not going to get what you are doing as an entrepreneur, and that’s OK. Your family is not always going understand your vision. Just know that they love you and want the best for you. Keep your head up and stay away from the negativity.