Cut the crap. Basically, that’s been my commercial mantra since setting out on this sole trading malarkey two years ago (two whole years and not bankrupt yet, whew).
Tell it like it really is in small business – highs and lows, warts and all – that was the simple objective for this commerce confessional. I set out to use these very pages as a way to do a bit of micro biz myth busting. But here’s the rub. I’ve hit a wee snag about spilling the sole trading beans.
Usually I’m an open book kinda broad, shooting from the small business hip, and I love it when others talk straight too. Real life stories and experience spoken straight from the heart will always be my entrepreneurial education of choice. Unfortunately not many others playing the entrepreneurial game seem to feel the same way. I learned early on that open and frank dialogue Just Isn’t Done when it comes to commerce. There’s plenty of practical advice to be had, but when it comes to finding out how small business people actually FEEL during the good times and bad, there’s pretty much diddly squat. And that dear hearts, is exactly why I began my own truth-telling small business blog. Simples.
It’s only my take, nobody else’s, but I reckoned if no-one was giving a more emotional perspective about entrepreneurial endeavours, then I might as well take to the keyboard myself. I never had any serious aspiration for accolades or adoration from a devoted readership, hanging on to every word of my middle-aged musings. But by telling my truth, my writing has struck a chord with some fellow travellers going through the SME experience , and the responses I get have helped me feel a wee bit less lonely when my own journey was bumpy. And nothing has changed, in theory, at least. I remain committed to my one-woman cause, and the truth-telling editorial brief stays the same.
But then came a problem which felt almost too hard to admit online. This doozy’s really caught me on the horns of dilemma. I’ve been worried this might be a confession too far, words which in commerce are just never said. So I weighed this dilemma up down and sideways, and eventually came to the conclusion it’s better out than in. So, deep breath, here goes…
Business is bad.
I’m not on the verge of going bust, not for a while (hopefully never), but for the very first time since I started this game, business has slowed to a crawl. The phone’s been ominously silent and the email ping is not doing much pinging. The irons in the fire have gone a bit cold, and the pipeline’s got blocked. Frankly, my dears, it’s all a bit of a worry. When you’re out on your ownio, not knowing where or when the next work will come, slow times create a stomach knotting anxiety unlike any other. It just ain’t a laugh.
But listen. I’m not looking for tea and sympathy, no sir. Such are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune when it comes to small biz. I know for a fact that this scary scenario is hardly a unique experience in enterprise, behind many a polished positivity facade is a creaking bank balance and gnawing concern.
Anyway, it won’t stay like this for too long. I’m not simply sitting and fretting, I’m out there looking for work, and that work will come. Probably shedloads of it, cos that’s small business sod’s law. So next time I’m droning on online about being snowed under, feel free to shout out, “Oi! Sole trader, shaddap you face!”