The busyness business

Frazzled, fried and fed up. Truth talking, sometimes this small business malarkey takes a heavy toll.

There are episodes in enterprise which are just not a laugh. Times when you’re clinging on by your fingernails and praying your shredded nerves can last just long enough ’til the next chance to draw breath presents itself. Times when the to do list is stretching into next year, never mind next week. Aye, it can all get a bit much.

Hang on a minute tho’, this is not “real” graft. It’s not picking rice in a paddy field, or hewing coal down a mine. It’s not nursing or working in a care home. It’s not driving a bus or working on the till in Asda. On paper, at least, what people like me do is a canter. But in reality, sometimes small business is bloody hard going.

At the risk of joining the ranks of the uber competitive busyness brigade, and sounding like a pathetic first world whiner, the secret life of a sole trader is scarily stressful sometimes. When you work for someone else, and have sidekicks to pick up some of the slack, trust me, you simply have no clue what it’s like to work on your ownio.

Look, it’s brilliant being your own boss, and the mistress of your own destiny. It’s exciting, liberating and invigorating, it’s challenging and character-building, but it’s certainly not a skoosh. It’s bloody difficult being the bookkeeper, the clerk, the cleaner, the marketeer, the IT department, HR, the salesperson, the secretary, the receptionist, the social media guru and the networking self-promoter. Oh yeah, and then there’s the essential stuff like having to find the work, do the work and then find some more, on repeat.

I know, I know, that’s what I signed up for, so I should probably just shut up and get on with it. And getting on with it is indeed the name of the game. Basically, in small biz you’ve got no choice. Not if you want to keep paying the mortgage, that is. And believe it or not, I’m not looking for sympathy, hell no. I’m not even trying to pour cold water on entrepreneurial efforts. I simply want to speak up about some of the less shiny stuff.

That’s because I’m not in the business of staying schtum, there’s enough silence and spin about the realities of small biz as it is. So hear me, employed people – forewarned is forearmed etc. If you’re thinking about stepping into the world of sole trading, I wish you every success and will support you 100%, but please, steel yourself for some damned tricky times. And, if you’re lucky enough to make a success of it, you’re going to have spells when you are utterly overwhelmed.

The good news? You’ve got choices in commerce, just as you have in life. You can choose not to damage your health and wellbeing in the short or the long term. Knowing that a bonkers busy spell will come to an end isn’t always a whole lot of comfort when you’re banjaxed, but you simply must factor in breaks and breathers. Believe me, you’re going to need ’em.