“Hi, what do you do?”
This is a question that we are all familiar with. When you start out with your own small business, you’ll become increasingly aware of how much your own personality is involved and how much your own identity can potentially be transformed.
In many ways we are defined by our surroundings and the context that we exist in. Work is a major part of our individual identity; When you start a new business, your context is entirely changed and it is down to you to define the terms, the environment and the outward and inward perception of ‘what you do’. In short, you will be reconstructing your professional identity.
If your aim is to commence a new chapter in your professional life then you have to accept that the comforts of ‘known & accepted’ things are gone – your identity being one of them.
In my own situation; starting a new business coincided with me becoming pregnant at age 40, and living in the Blue Mountains, quite isolated – quite a change!
Where I had come from; my career was very well regarded and I was known to be a good worker. When we rocked up in our mountain side suburb, my profile took on a somewhat different appearance; I had bad eyes as a result of doing some obscure job on a computer.
Years on I still do that obscure job on a computer but I also do other things (so my eyes are now quite bad). I’m still me, but just a slightly more evolved me. It’s easy when you just ‘lean in to it’ and learn not to take things too much to heart, but it does take a while to get your ego to settle down to its new surroundings.
As well as the responsibility to your clients you have a responsibility to yourself and what you are doing all this for. It’s important to keep sight of your vision & stay true to it. Hopefully, you’ll have your leisure time with which to enjoy the benefits of your new life but you also need to enjoy the time you’re putting in at work too. You need to feel good about the work you’re doing, the immediate environment that you are working in and you need to like the overall package that you are presenting to the world.
When you start a new business you go through an inevitable amount of reinvention, just as you do whenever you change jobs, schools or relationships.
Enjoy the new environment you find yourself in but, importantly, make sure that you like the ‘you’ that exists in it.