Because our jobs are born out of passion and things we love doing without getting paid, the hobbyiest (or jobbyiest-- you are getting money but you aren't really *making* money for your business) is almost built in to our business. Which is why at some point, most of realize "Hey! That's not how a BUSINESS would do that" and have to course correct in some way.
I'm excited to share with you #ahasmember Meg of Bumblewood Soaps who had a very enlightening experience about what she REALLY thought about her business. Read on to find out how she corrected this.
Q: Please introduce yourself, tell us about yourself and what you do.
A: Hi there! I’m Meg, the owner and creator at Bumblewood, a natural soaps & skin care company based in southern California. I’ve been making products for my family’s use for a while, but have been officially in business for 3 years now.
Q: What experience helped you to better understand how you were marketing your business?
A: A few months ago I was featured on one of our local new stations along with some fellow makers to promote a craft show we were a part of. One of the makers put it together, and we were able to bring a collection of our products, put up a mock display, and have the news promote the craft show. We didn’t know very many details going into the promo, and it turned out to be a full morning of segments during the 2 hours of morning news! Which meant, unknown to any of us, that WE were on TV, not just our products.
Of course, my luck meant that I was the first one they went to when the camera was rolling and it totally threw me off guard. When I watched the segments later, I realized when the newscaster asked me tell a little bit about my business, I referred to it as a “hobby that had taken over the house”. I’m sure it was nerves, and not being prepared for actually talking on TV, but it really shocked me that I said that even though I’m very serious about my business and it’s so far beyond just a hobby.
Q: What were you able to learn from the experience? What did you decide to do as a result?
A: In that moment I realized that deep down I wasn’t actually taking myself as seriously as I thought I was, even though I’ve been at it for a few years. It was time to not only ask myself why I referred to my business that way, but to craft my words and story behind the scenes, so that in the future I can present Bumblewood as the real business that it is. I also realized that some of the decisions I was making weren’t as “big time” as they needed to be, and that probably needed to change in order to change my thinking.
Why do you think you reacted the way you did? What do you think was behind that?
Part of it was just the nerves of unexpectedly being on camera. But I think also because I’m still a SAHM (Stay at home mom)- which for me is the whole point of owning a business – it’s hard to wrap my head around being “legit” when I’m chasing kids and doing laundry. And I think as makers we tend to let how others perceive us define what we do. I have had some people in my life that think what I do is cute and a nice part time thing, when in reality it’s a full time business with lots of work that goes into it, but apparently my subconscious didn’t get the memo!
Q: How have you changed the way you speak about your business?
A: I’m putting on my big girl pants and owning what I do! I’m making sure I view and present myself and Bumblewood in a real way – from talking about it, promotion, the words I use, my story, and the decisions I’m making about and for the business. I’m taking time to sit down and decide exactly how I want to talk about and run it so I’m not taken by surprise again.
Q: What effects have these changes had on the way you market yourself and your business?
A: I definitely feel braver and more open now! I’ve always been a very quiet person (which makes it really hard when it comes to promoting a business), but this one experience has helped me to realize that if I want to grow and be successful, I need to let go of my shy nature and put myself out there more.
Q: What advice would you give others who take their work very seriously but still get “stuck” in the hobby mindset when it comes to presenting or marketing themselves to the world?
A: What you do is SO much more than a hobby! We spend so much time researching, creating, ordering,doing inventory, bookkeeping and doing taxes, making sure all of our ducks are in a row to make a living by doing this thing we love. Own what you do and why you do it.
Change your thinking. Put it on a post it note and stick it to your mirror if you need to remind yourself daily. “I am a business owner. I do this for my living.” Craft your story so that when you’re presented with the opportunity to tell it, you don’t refer to it as a hobby like I did. ;) And don’t let anyone else’s view or opinion of your work define what you do.