In Canada, we are celebrating Small Business Week. Government and organizations that support small business are holding events to recognize the contribution we make to the economy.
Yes – we.
You see I am a small business owner although it has taken some time to embrace that term. I never started out wanting to be a small business owner but somehow, here I am. For better or worse I am in the trenches with the rest of the business leaders and entrepreneurs trying to make a go of it.
If you were to ask me what I do, I would say I am an educator. Even in my early career working in many not-for-profit organizations, I was in my element when I got to be in the role of teacher and facilitator. My life story revolves around learning and sharing my passion for teaching with others. It never included business owner.
I come from a family of blue-collar workers and service providers so the world of business has always been a foreign concept. I always brace myself at family get-togethers for that infamous question “are your working?”. Yes…yes I am…in a way I have never worked before nor will you ever understand.
I jokingly tell people that I “fell” into business. As a trainer, I was offered a contract on a tech implementation and needed an HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) number. So I got one and became a sole-proprietor. Then to be part of another project, I needed to be incorporated and voila! I am now a small corporation even though that was definitely never in the plan.
Owning a business means I had to learn a new discourse and way of thinking. And don’t forget developing new skills: networking, financial management, sales, strategic planning, marketing, negotiation, and project management. I have been in business for 6 years now and I am still constantly learning and evolving…or as we say in the biz world…pivoting.
And to tell you the truth there are times when I feel like an imposter such as when I am in a room full of outstanding business leaders. I wonder how in the heck did I get here. It all seems surreal to me. In fact, last week I was referred to in an email as someone who “is a prominent figure in the women business ecosystem” and my first thought was whoa…they’ve got the wrong person. Yet that is who I am so I am learning to own it.
Marrying the world of adult education and business has been an interesting journey. One that still keeps revealing many hills and curves in the road. Yet, I am fortunate to be on it. So as Small Business Week continues, I will celebrate that I am a small business owner who educates because that is ultimately what I do.