This is advice that I am putting out to all people who build their business from home. The internet is a wonderland of opportunity where anyone can sell anything to anyone. But it’s also bigger than you think and it never forgets you. What self-starter people need to realize is:
YOU ARE YOUR JOB.
Most people in the 9-to-6 world out there? They get to go home. They get to leave their place of work and go home and the job stays there.
You don’t get to do that.
Most jobs are manned by hundreds and thousands of people. They’re protected and shielded from being singled out because they’re just one ant in a colony. So what if they say something or do something on the internet? It’s not like anyone’s going to connect them to their place of work. And most times they’re right.
You don’t get to do that either.
Because you are your job.
So what baffles me is going online and seeing young independent businessmen and businesswomen go onto the internet and act like spoiled children. They bully, they libel, they slander, they harass and generally act out to get attention or vent frustration online. They do this under their own names, and in full view of their potential customers.
And then they wonder.
They wonder why they didn’t win a competition. They wonder why they didn’t get commission work. They wonder why they didn’t get into a convention.
And then they continue to complain, whine, and bully.
Well maybe it’s because they not only ruined their personal reputation, but because they ruined their company’s reputation too. They messed up because they never thought it would affect their business life and they’re shocked when it does. It always does.
Because you are your job.
And that’s hard! There’s been so many times when I’ve wanted to take someone down a peg, where I’ve wanted write a rant that “it isn’t fair,” where I’ve wanted to complain about a really hard customer I’ve had. I understand that. It happens to us all.
But I can’t talk about it online.
That group I’m making fun of? One might be a client, and they’re having second thoughts about recommending me to their friends.
That convention I’m whining about? Their chair is reading every word and deciding to never work with me again.
That more-famous artist I’m denouncing? They might have been planning a collaboration with me and now they’re deciding I’m not worth their time.
I am my job.
Which means when people have a problem with me, it affects my job. I don’t get to hide behind the anonymity of someone who works at J.C. Penny’s or Starbucks. I don’t get to act like a bitch to people and not have it follow me home. I work at home.
So if you’re an indie businessperson trying to get a leg up? It’s time to wise up. It’s time to be cautious, always take the upper hand, and to walk away from the keyboard when angry. It’s time to second-guess yourself, and never let your emotions get the better of you, and to never let your despair lead you to prejudice and hate. Most of all, it’s time to stop acting like a spoiled child with a grudge.
You’re in the business world now. Act like it.
Our jobs are fun, creative, and sometimes even rewarding (if we’re lucky), but with it, we lose that ability to take off the mask.
You are your job and you can never NOT be your job.
Are you ready to deal with those consequences?
If not, then maybe—just maybe—you shouldn’t post that.