Running a business is like going to the dentist.
Do your business responsibilities give you anxiety? Are there certain tasks that make you cringe or find excuses to avoid? Does it sometimes feel like running your business is like going to the dentist? If so, you're not alone.
My business as a voice actor/audiobook narrator and acting teacher/coach is full of all sorts of tasks I'd rather not have to do. Like a lot of my friends who run similar businesses - I'm a "creative", not an "administrator" and all those tedious things that keep my business running do not come naturally to me. In fact, it's been challenging learning and implementing these business lessons, when all I want to do is the fun stuff!
I love creating character voices and narrating a good audiobook, tapping into my years of training as a theatre and screen actor. I could do that all day long. But marketing, emails, billing, taxes, social media, website management, and all the rest can sometimes feel like a root canal. And that brings me to my story...
"...here I was face to face with it, and I was just going to have to deal with it."
Today, I had to go to the dentist. Nothing major, just a filling. Still, I couldn’t help feeling anxious, nervous, hesitant. It’s something I’ve done before, so it wasn’t that I was afraid of the unknown. (Almost worse) - I knew exactly what to expect. 😬
As I sat down in the waiting room, I was overcome with a sudden urge to leave. I knew the unpleasantness that was waiting just around the corner for me, and I began thinking of excuses. Maybe I could lie and say an emergency came up and I’d have to reschedule. Maybe “my kids needed me to pick them up from school”. Maybe…. But before I could come up with any plausible excuse worth trying… it was time. My name was called and there was no turning back.
I forced myself to get up and take the steps toward that thing I had been avoiding. I was finally starting to accept that this was going to happen. I would much rather be doing 20 other things, but here I was face to face with it, and I was just going to have to deal with it.
"Running a business is like going to the dentist."
Sitting now in the dentist’s chair, I starting the inner monologue to distract from the necessary pain before the procedure … “ok, you’ll be fine. You’ve done this before and you lived to tell the tale. It only hurts for a little bit, and then it gets better.”
And as my mind drifted to all the business I had to take care of later in the day - that’s when it hit me. Running a business is like going to the dentist. Hear me out.
If you run a business, this probably sounds familiar. Sooner or later, you’re going to have certain tasks that you need to take care of in order to keep your business healthy. Unfortunately those tasks can sometimes be uncomfortable or even a little painful. But…you know what’s coming and you know you can’t avoid it forever. You might make excuses or find other things to distract you for a while. But eventually you know you’re going to have to just face it. You do whatever it is that you don’t want to, and just like the painful poke of the anesthetic, it’s over before you know it. The pain is temporary and it helps numb you against the remaining work to be done.
"...the pain is only temporary and leads to a healthier outcome if you just accept it, get it done and move on."
Of course, everyone has different experiences (both with running their own businesses and with going to the dentist). For some of you, running your business is easy. For me.... it's getting easier the more I do it. Some of you might enjoy going to the dentist. You have a higher pain threshold and you focus more on the end results. So, I don't want to say that everyone has the same experiences as me, but I would venture a guess that a lot of people can relate.
I hope you don’t have to visit the dentist any time soon, but if you do I hope this thought helps…. Like those uncomfortable tasks of running your business, the pain is only temporary and leads to a healthier outcome if you just accept it, get it done and move on. Small problems compound into big, nasty problems the longer you avoid taking care of them. So take care of yourself (and your business!)