Overcoming Business Fears

I’ve been obsessed with Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses lately.

My tutoring business is pretty steady. Between 2007 and 2009, I averaged $360/mo. No way is that enough to live on, but that’s enough to help out with the monthly budget.

My day job has cut my hours from 40/wk to 27/wk.

My first reaction was absolute panic. OMG, how am I going to pay the bills??!!

Then I took a step back. I have a little bit of a safety net that others don’t have, with the VA Voc Rehab program helping me pay for grad school. And I have my business.

For the last two school years, I haven’t had enough time or energy to help everyone that has approached me about tutoring. And I was worried about not having enough time/energy to do well in my grad classes.

Cutting my hours at the day job takes care of both those concerns. I still have steady income, even if it’s a less than it was.

And now I have time to build the business.

Which means I need to start advertising again, and doing things to build my business’ blog.

So, I’m reading a ton of small business blogs: ittybiz, erica.biz, fluent self and others. Right now, I’m slowly reading through Erica Douglass’ “Blog Success Manifesto”.

I know her suggestions are good. I know they make sense.

But I’m scared to implement some of them.

What scares me about it? I’m trying to figure that out.

Maybe I’ll actually be successful.

Maybe I won’t be successful.

Maybe I won’t be able to handle having clients want my attention. Maybe I won’t be able to handle running a business.

My day job at a small company makes me think that running a business is way more complicated than anything I can handle.

But reading stories of other people running really small businesses, or micro-businesses, makes me think I *can* do it.

But I still haven’t put a picture on my business blog page, despite that being the #1 recommended thing to do.

What am I afraid of? That someone will see my pic and go running for the hills.

What motivates you?

I have a day job. It’s a basic office job.

When I first got this job, I was overjoyed because I’d been unemployed so long, and now I could start taking steps to support us again.

I hadn’t actually done an office job before. I’d been a technician for a long time.

But I figured I had general office skills, I might as well try to use them.


I am so glad that I told the Navy recruiter that I did not want to be a paper-pusher when I joined the military. I wasn’t crazy about being a tech, but being an office monkey is soooo much worse.

That said, though, I’ve learned a lot about myself in this position.

1. I’m not motivated by money. Seriously. Once I have a baseline salary, can make a budget, and keep a roof over my head and food on the table, more money does not motivate me.

I’m not going to work harder for a $10 bonus, or probably even a $100 bonus. This means that any sales career is probably out for me.

And I’m not the only one. There’s even been a study about this.

So what does motivate me? As far as I’ve been able to figure out, by analyzing my behavior at this job, Helping People.

I will bend over backwards if I think I’m giving someone the help they need to accomplish something or taking tasks off their back so that they can do something else.

I’m all about the Helping.

I want to Feel Useful, to make someones day easier, to impart some wisdom, to give someone what they need.

When I make an offer to my Boss to take on x task, it isn’t because I want more money or work. It’s because I can see she’s overwhelmed with her duties, and I ACHE to HELP. When she rejects that offer, I’m CRUSHED. When she’s cold or confrontational about rejecting it, I’m beyond crushed, I’m stunned.

Before this job, I never really knew this about myself.

2. I’m all about the NEW.

I’ve always known that I learn things quickly; I’ve used it on my resume as my biggest selling point.

But I never knew how much I’d resent continuing to repeat a task after I’d learned it.

As a tech, that was my life. There was always a new thing to learn, always a new task to accomplish, a new technology to learn, a new class to go to, new equipment, etc. Even in a production environment, I’d tune 10 widgets, and then have a set of whatsits to do, and whosits to learn. (Widgets, whatsis, whosits are all technical terms, obviously.)

In an office environment, you learn the new thing, and then keep repeating it, and keep repeating it. And keep repeating it. And then you become the Person Who Does That Thing, which means you have to KEEP REPEATING IT.

Oh, dear gods, kill me now!

Give me something NEW, please! Here, I can teach That Thing to someone else, let me learn SOMETHING NEW.

3. This one goes hand in hand with #2: I want to have something to do with training.

My second job, working at McD’s in the mall back home (which doesn’t even exist anymore) as a teenager, I made myself an expert in the arena of training. At almost every duty station in the Navy, I had something to do with training. I kept training records, I wrote training lectures, I trained the new people, I scheduled training, I taught CPR classes.

I love training.

All of which lead me to conclude that I really am cut out to be a Teacher. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m a archetypal Teacher/Mentor.

I want to learn new things and then convey what I’ve learned to others. I want to get people excited to learn something new. I want every day to have a different challenge.

I mean there’s comfort in routine. I like getting up at the same time every day and leaving the house at the same time every day, and going to bed at a similar time most nights, and such. But I want the tasks that I’m doing to change, and the people I’m interacting with to change, and I want to HELP people or at feel like I’m helping.

Reason #47

Reason #47 why I need to get my stuff together. . .

Two weeks ago, I had to go across town and pay $30 for a TB to the only clinic that was open late. I had to go back 3 days later to have it checked.

Now, I can’t find the tiny piece of paper the doctor signed for my clearance. It’s not with my receipt. I’m certain I put it “some place safe.”

But now I can’t find it.

And I’ll need to drive across town again, during a week when I have to watch how much I’m driving, to beg the doctor to fill out another one.

Because I’m unorganized.

Cleaning & Establishing Routines

So, now that I’m feeling more like my old self, I’m more . . . . interested in making my place livable: cleaning, getting rid of trash, organizing.

When I lived alone, before C was born, I was good at this. When C was small, especially during the time that it was just the two of us, I was good at this.

But for most of the time C remembers, most of her growing up time, I wasn’t. I would ignore things until they were totally out of hand and then do just what I needed to do to get by.

Now she’s almost 15, and she doesn’t know how to establish these routines and it’s all my fault. I keep comparing her life to mine at her age. I had a chore list, with something to be done every day before mom came home from work, plus dishes daily, and most days, cooking dinner, too.

If things weren’t done on the right day, or not done to Bill’s satisfaction when he came home at midnight, I would be dragged out of bed to complete the task properly. Ok, this only happened a couple of times, but it was enough for me to know he really meant it.

Housework was a constant source of argument between us, almost as long as I can remember.

There was a point, when we lived in this white house on a quiet suburban street (my favorite place we ever lived, and I never got over us leaving that place), when my mom worked on Saturday mornings, and Bill and I were alone. I was about 6 or 7.

I wasn’t allowed to watch the Saturday morning cartoons or anything until we were done cleaning. We hung laundry on a clothing line outside, swept and mopped the hardwood floors, I had to clean my room and make my bed.

Then he’d make lunch. Since he didn’t usually make the food in the house, he didn’t know my preferences and would often make something I didn’t really like. My clearest memory was tuna sandwiches with tomato soup. I don’t like tomato soup. He would make me eat it anyway. And he’d have this silly polka music on the little transistor radio in the kitchen. Whenever I eat tuna sandwiches on soft white bread, I’m right back in that hideous orange kitchen. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I prefer to eat it on toast?

Wow, this post didn’t go where I originally thought.

Anyway, I resented the routines established by someone else imposed on me. I fought against it for my whold childhood and teen years.

I’ve allowed my kid to grow up without any sense of these routines. I’m horribly embarrassed by this.

Now that I’m feeling like my old self, I’m wanting the . . . comfort of those routines. I want a clean house. I want things done in a timely way. But it’s hard. It’s hard to make myself do it, but I’m starting to.

The problem is that I’m upset C isn’t jumping enthusiastically on the bandwagon. I know this is not rational. It’s my fault she doesn’t know these things. But I get upset when she doesn’t jump up to help out when I’m doing something.

So, I’m trying to enforce a “15 minutes a day” rule for both of us. I hope this helps us both get better about this.

Mood States and Memory

One of the things that surprises me is how I can’t remember what it was like to be in the one I’m not in.

Ok, that sounds weird.

Right now, I’m not depressed. In fact, I suspect I’m running a bit manic, due to some impulsive issues I’ve had recently.

Right now, I feel a lot like I did in my 20s: confident, sure of myself, strong, happy most of the time, adventurous on occasion. I still have problems, but I’m pretty sure I can deal with them.

When I was depressed, I could remember that there was a time when I felt that way, in a vague sort of way. But I couldn’t remember how it FELT to be that way.

Now, I’m having trouble remembering what it was like to be so depressed. Why the hell couldn’t I get off my ass and get a job when I really needed one? Why couldn’t I study? Why did I waste so much time doing NOTHING, and so much money on stuff that didn’t do anything to help us?

I remember that I didn’t feel capable of doing anything, but I can’t remember how it feels to be that stuck.

And it’s not like there was some magical moment that turned everything around. It was small steps taken over months and years that pulled me back to . . . well, to ME. A lot of those steps are chronicled in another forum, but I don’t feel connected to all that floundering. I know it was me. And I remember taking the steps. But, again, I don’t remember what it felt like along the way.

This is very strange to me. It’s like I’m disconnected from my own feelings. My emotions are always in the moment. The rest of me isn’t, but my emotions are.

How can I help someone else who is in the (to borrow a word from Havi Brooks) stuckness if I can’t remember it?

Lots going on – School, work, business. . .

I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now. So much so that I’m a little worried about myself.

Earlier today, BFF asked me to fill out my Moodscope chart, because I hadn’t in 2 months. I’m really thankful that I have someone in my life that is that attuned to my moods. Thanks for worrying.

I’ve started grad school, at National University, for my teaching credential. It’s only been one week, and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. One main reason is all these things I have to pay for. I’ll be reimbursed for much of it, but it will take time for the reimbursement to happen. I’ve got to gather together my receipts so I can put in for the reimbursement. I also still need to gather some more info for my Voc Rehab guy, and the info for the books I need for my September class.

I’m unfocused at my day job, which is not good. I need to do as well as I am able at this job, so they will accommodate the time off I will need for classroom observations. I don’t want to be the office screw up. I want to do well at whatever I do, even if it is not my ideal situation.

My business is in a lull time right now; it always is right before school starts again. But I should be getting my business license in the mail soon, which is exciting.

I’m afraid it will all be too much for me, especially since I haven’t completed my goals of getting my apartment organized or setting up new cleaning routines.

I have cleaned the kitchen today, and most of the dining area, and C has made some progress in the living room, but it’s not enough for me to feel comfortable yet.

I’m also not keeping up with this blog very well. I want to write things about observations from other blogs and things I read. Instead, it’s turning into a journal. Not what I intended.  But that’s ok, for the moment. I need a place where I can process what I’m going through, and this is as good a place as any.