Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Tess Robinson of Smack Bang Designs.
Building a business is hard mother-flipping work. And in my own personal experience, has nearly been the death of me. But the cliche is true – what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I truly feel like, with every hurdle, I’ve grown into a bigger and better business woman able to handle more and more and turn each problem into an opportunity or solution that works in my favour.
I recently went back through my journals and found some heart-wrenching and hilariously funny stuff. The good news is, the occurrence of these thoughts are becoming less and less, and nowadays I actually do have a helluva lot to be #grateful for – hello, arvos off! But in the spirit of sharing and hopefully shining some laughable light for those still writhing in the trenches, here is my list of common thoughts that I think every entrepreneur has at some point (or many). It’s the stuff we often think but rarely discuss, so consider this a starting point!
1. “I’m a fraud”
Do they know I have no idea what I’m doing? If I look intelligently at my screen with a furrowed brow and type meaningless words on a page, will they be impressed? What if they find out that I didn’t major in ‘ridiculous jargon buzzwords to use in an interview’? I’m 90 per cent sure that my team, my clients, and even my dog are suspicious on the fact that I’ve next to no experience in doing all of these things I’m doing. I’m a fraud and it’s only a matter of time before everyone realises and slow-claps me out the door.
2. “Why so FOMO?”
Seeing my friends livin’ da vida loca is totes green-eyed-monster inducing. There they are, backpacking the globe, living it up. Why can’t I be backpacking the PCT? Seeing the world, partying, on the festival circuit, wearing the same sets of rags every day. Boohoo.
3. “I want what she’s having”
Comparison is not only the thief of joy, but the thief of many thoughts. ‘How on earth did she get 22,000 followers since yesterday?’ ‘How the golly did he manage to wrangle that turnover in a year?’ ‘How are her teeth so impossibly white? I need veneers.’ Seeing other businesses go gangbusters and wondering why on earth you’re still couriering your own prints to save the $30 delivery fee can bring out the Comparison Carlito in all of us.
‘Will I ever make enough money to buy myself organic groceries so I stop consuming pesticides every meal?’ I’ve got friends treating themselves to a manicure and a haircut in the same month. Like seriously? Are you a Kardashian? I went an entire year cutting my own hair just to cut costs and haven’t had a manicure since my year 12 formal.
5. “Pay me what you owe me”
Badgalriri sang it best. So, I’ve done all this work for you, and I’ve even learned how to create and send an invoice in this really tricky software that I’ve been trying to learn. Please pay it. I doubt you’ll pay on time, and there’s a chance you might not even pay it at all. But for the sake of my staff, their wages, and all that is good in this world, I’d really love if you could pretty please give it some immediate attention.
6. “I’m allergic to you”
Five to 10 per cent of clients will actually give you the hives. Your heart stops when you see their name flash on your phone, and sometimes you just want to set up an auto-responder that says, ‘Hi there! If your name is X, Y, or Z, then Smack Bang Designs is regrettably no longer open for business. Please take your incessant requests and patronising tone elsewhere. Have a lovely day, Tess.’
7. “I’m still alive”
Oh yes, I see you over there with your brand new Volkswagen and Zimmermann dress. So nice to see you’re holidaying in the Maldives yet again. Oh me? Yeah, I’m great, still pulling 70-hour work weeks, and loving it. Sorry I haven’t texted you for a while, been knee-deep in writer’s block, a soaring ATO debt and navigating the world of hiring, training, and encouraging new staff. Nice to hear from you and, yes, I’m still alive. I might have some time freed up in about 2040? Let’s pencil something in for then.
8. “I’m fine”
When the barista has to call your name four times before your bleary head makes the connection. And then he asks you how you are. You, of course, say on autopilot, “Fine, thanks!”, when inside you’re actually dying, you feel like you haven’t slept in 72 years, and you’ve got a client riding you like the devil’s inferno.
9. “I hate you, Tim Ferriss”
Hey Tim, you’re a big fat liar. There’s no such thing as a 4-Hour Work Week. As much as I love the concepts outlined in your book, if I were to work a 4-hour working week I would have to become a hell of a lot more accustomed to Mi Goreng noodles and tinned spaghetti, and I’d live in Mum’s laundry on a yoga mat, but not a Lululemon yoga mat. A Kmart yoga mat, on sale. Tim, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed that I’m not superwoman. Yet.
10. “Sleep when I’m dead.”
If I had another 6 hands, 4 brains, and 20 coffees day-to-day, I might be able to get everything done. Eating, sleeping, going to the toilet – all cheating. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Of course, those thoughts that swirl around my head in circles like a dumb Tweety bird do eventually migrate north and south, away from my overthinking brain. What replaces them are thoughts of world domination, kick-ass female empowerment, and visions of humongous bowls of guacamole. Nowadays, I pinch myself that I get to sit at the front of this wild rollercoaster ride, because although the risks are higher, so are the thrills. And the thrill of building something that flies, my friend, is what drives us in the first place, am I right?