So How’s Business?
If you ever meet me in person and happen to ask “So how’s business?” please forgive me if I’m extremely awkward. As I’ve become more and more confident introducing myself as a small business owner and decorator, more and more casual acquaintances tend to ask me how the business is going. And I never know how to answer.
You should be warned that in general I’m a very shy person. I can turn on the networking chatty skills, but it leaves me mentally drained. I am quite naturally chatty with my best friends, but I need a recovery quiet day after a lot of socializing. Textbook introvert.
Typically the questions “So how’s business” or “how is your new business going” are just innocent conversation topics. But I get really uncomfortable answering those questions. If I just say “It’s great!” it’s kind of a conversation staller and weirdly too-upbeat, but clearly they aren’t asking for my annual report and bank statements. Sometimes I get away with a jab at the old job, like “well, it sure beats that commute I had!” or by sort-of sharing that it’s DAMN HARD (which is the truth), saying something like “It’s tough, but I have some fun projects coming up.” Cause if you end with “It’s tough” PERIOD, that makes people uncomfortable. Not exactly what I’m going for at Ryan’s company picnic.
It’s a question of where the over-sharing line is, and how much information I want to divulge. But obviously there is more to starting a business than “it’s great!” as you’ve seen from some of my posts this month. Maybe I’m over-sensitive about it (Ryan thinks I’m making something out of nothing) but I hate feeling all squirmy.
So my question for you is, how much do you share with casual acquaintances (or prying family members) about your entrepreneurial efforts or dreams? If people know you’ve started a business or midnight hustle, do they ask how it’s going? Does it send you for a loop, or do you take it in stride?
Funny note: When I spent five years at my desk job, people always asked “So how’s life at XYZ?” My first year (during which I realized I’d made a huge mistake) I think I replied, “Can’t beat that paycheck!” By years 2-4 it had changed to “It’s a great learning opportunity” (HA!), and by my final year I’d say, “Why, are you hiring?”