It’s our first piece in our #SmallBusinessSHEs series, and we’re getting the inside scoop on what they don’t tell you when you start a small business from stylist, designer, author, and young boss SHE Payton Dale of The Payton Project. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Payton developed her love of fashion from an early age. Her adoration of vintage clothing, classic rock, and an innate ability to put outfits together in inventive ways soon caught the attention of artists in her community. Payton quickly developed a flair for assisting them in finding their signature looks. Alongside styling artists for album covers, live performances, red carpets, and video shoots, Payton is also a fashion designer of her own line of basics for every body type, avid podcaster, and the author of the book “Hang Up Your Hang Ups: A Radical Guide to Healing Yourself Through Personal Style.” She currently splits her time between Nashville and Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs Bo and Arrow.
It’s really trendy right now to be a SHE business owner. Walk into any home goods store or a Claire’s and you will see dozens of products that have phrases like GIRL BOSS, GOAL DIGGER, and the like stamped on them. As I sit here and write this out I’m drinking out of a coffee cup that says LADY BOSS. Girl power is in. And while I am jumping for joy at the thought of successful SHE business owners being celebrated, the mugs, shirts, necklaces, stationary, and other products don’t show the other side of it. It’s not all glittery mantras and drinking Starbucks. Here’s a few things they don’t tell you when you start your own business.
You Still Have to Have Business Hours
If you had a normal 9-5 job before you decided to start your own business then you will know that a routine is absolutely necessary if you want to get work done. Mine involves making my bed every single day, spending time in the morning to get caught up on current events, journaling, and lots of coffee. After that, I get to work. I check my emails and my planner to make sure I don’t have anything coming up that day. I will continue to work on business related stuff until around 9pm. If I have a fitting or a photo shoot the next day then that time is spent getting all my fashion ducks in a row. You can’t just sit around on the couch in your underwear waiting for gigs or clients to fall from the sky. It’s still WORK. Successful people stick to morning routines and also know when to take breaks. I schedule a little break in the middle of every day to make sure that I maintain some sanity.
You Will Be Lonely
If you work from home like most entrepreneurs do when they are starting out there is a huge chance that you will be lonely. Without having the day-to-day socializing that comes with working with other people, even the most introverted of people will inevitably feel lonely. There are some days where the only ones I talk to are my dogs. I’m serious. I work very well by myself but every now and then I have to remind myself to make coffee dates with other human beings that aren’t on the other end of screen. Be sure to schedule real human contact in your daily routine. Trust me! It’ll help immensely.
Not Everyone Will Support You
When I decided to take the leap to styling full time, people thought I was crazy. Even now with a successful styling career, a book that’s doing fairly well, and a clothing line about to come out, some family members and friends like to stick their nose into my business. “But, what happens if you don’t make money that month?” That hasn’t ever happened. “Well you should get a part time job so you can, like, get your nails done and a coffee or something.” Here I am drinking coffee while admiring my freshly manicured nails typing this piece! Not everyone will get your dream. The great part about this is…YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL EVERYONE YOUR BUSINESS! I have learned the hard way that if I don’t admire someone’s life then I don’t have to take their opinions to heart. If someone isn’t paying my bills, then I won’t pay them any mind.
It’s Absolutely Worth It
There have been months where my lights were turned off. I have taped down SO many body parts that I didn’t want to see. I have worked for pennies, for exposure, and for rock stars. The journey has been an emotional roller coaster. But it has been worth every little hiccup. I don’t really think that there is such thing as “job security” these days. Layoffs happen. Life happens. Your college degree might not mean crap in a few years. You only have so many years on this planet. You might as well do something that you love while you’re here. There is no better feeling than working with the perfect client, getting paid what you’re worth, and then blowing your job out of the water. The world functions better when people love what they’re doing. All the hard work I put in got me to where I am today. I’m sitting at my desk in my studio surrounded by thank you notes from clients, pieces from my own clothing line, typing away next to a stack of books I wrote. The most important part of it all? I’m really happy. I’m sincerely happy and fulfilled. You can feel this way. You deserve to feel this way.
I always say that it’s called a calling for a reason. The phone will keep ringing and ringing until you let it go to voicemail. Then it’ll start to text you. Then it’ll start to hunt you down where you live. It’s your duty to answer that call. Don’t let it go to voicemail. The world needs the special gift that only you can bring to the table.
SHEs everywhere, this one’s for you!