Doing things you don’t want to do, but have to because you’re a small business owner

DIY is a popular trend these past few years, isn’t it? I know when I say DIY, visions of burlap table runners and mason jars immediately come to mind, but that’s not quite what I’m talking about. I’m talking about small business DIY, which means roughly that in addition to your job as photographer, you are also a studio manager, graphic designer, accountant, media manager, public relations manager, sales consultant, legal advisor, and many more things that have very little to do with photography itself. Now, some small business owners prefer to refer these tasks to their specialists, and some small business owners dream of the time in their careers when they can afford to make that a reality, and some other small business owners will never allow a third party in because they prefer to have total control over how their business runs and all the tasks that come with that. I’m not advocating for any of these approaches above another, but what I can say for sure is that there are always things to be done that you really don’t WANT to do.

For example, I really don’t want to send reminder emails for clients with overdue balances. I mean, I don’t want to have clients with overdue balances, but that’s not up to me, so therefore I have to send emails about overdue balances (well really, my super awesome client system Tave sends them automatically, but I still don’t like monitoring them)! I also don’t want to mop my floors or fold laundry, but here we are.

I recently listened to a podcast about time efficiency, and one of the most interesting points was made by the guest – his take home point for me was this – you don’t have to want to do something to do something. I mean, we all knew that, didn’t we? Yep. But here’s the kicker – there’s this cultural assertion that if you’re self employed then you must really enjoy everything about your profession, because that’s why you work for yourself and not someone else, right? It’s contradicting the unspoken opinion that if you don’t like what you have to do to achieve your goals, then you must be in the wrong field.

There is so much language and messaging around ‘finding your passion’ and ‘following your bliss’ and ‘doing what you love’. Self employed, work from home, side hustling women in business have the destructive habit of idealizing their career for their public image – I am ALL for keeping the difficulty out of your expression when you’re helping your clients have an enjoyable experience, but let’s be real – some parts of the job are downright BORING or tedious or just NOT your thing.

Anyway, the lead got a little buried, but what I am trying to say is – if your tasks are challenging you, and your work is enjoyable, you feel inspired about your craft and your industry – hang on to those moments and let them carry you through the mundane tasks, the technical details, and the things you hate doing with a passion. Or…just hire an accountant already 😉


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