It’s always easy to look at clever business social media posts and believe that everything in small business is all sunshine and roses.

And most of us small business owners tend to take great care in only showing the positive side of things – presenting that seemingly all-important ‘professional’, ‘we-in-control-and-kicking-arse’ image.

All while hoping like mad that someone actually buys what we have to offer.

Trouble is, small business definitely isn’t all sunshine and roses. It’s tough. And often, it really sucks.

Not to mention, our personal lives are often in a complete shambles behind the scenes and behind the screens. As we try to juggle kids, family, relationships and all that general life stuff – while, pouring everything we have into trying to bring the money through the door.

Without any financial safety nets. Relying purely on our own creativity and energy to make things work.

The ‘glossy’ image is never reality though is it.

Sometimes things go well and we feel good – other times, we just plain fall in a heap and pretend we’re ok, hoping things will be better tomorrow or next week.
I’m starting to think though that continuing to present this ‘glossy’ image is all just a lie. And that perhaps, it’s not healthy for any of us.

Most people out there think we’re doing pretty well.

And yet this year has been bloody hard.

Let’s give you the rundown…

Our 6yo (nearly 7yo) daughter has been given a probable diagnosis of high functioning autism.

If you met her you probably wouldn’t be able to tell.

Because she hides it so well in front of other people.

In fact, I never would have thought that a child so young could do such an expert job at changing who she is in front of other people, in order to fit in and appear ‘normal’.

Trouble is, while she’s pretty great at school etc., she then falls apart at home.

Most people see her as terribly sweet, cute and funny and ridiculously smart. And she is all of those things.

But she also has tantrums and meltdowns that get destructive and violent.

We have to protect our older son from being hurt by his little sister.

We have to physically restrain her to prevent her from destroying everything in the house.

We’ve suspected autism for awhile, and at least we now have a reason and more understanding of why she tends to be so difficult at times.

But it’s hard. And it poses all sorts of complications.

After getting both a cold and gastro over the past month, we also went through 3 weeks of her barely eating. She was suddenly convinced she couldn’t swallow or chew anything.

It was hell, as she does not cope when she’s hungry. The mood swings were awful. Trying to find and cook things for her was beyond stressful.

We nearly took her to hospital as it was getting so bad.

Luckily, in the nick of time, she started eating again. But still not normally. Yesterday, we literally did not stop cooking for her. Only, for her to eat two bites and want something else.

Sure, you could say, get tough with her and let her be hungry enough to eat what she’s given. That was the advice from our GP. But this isn’t an act of defiance – it’s a product of anxiety and autism and god knows what.

And believe me, there’s zero reasoning with her. We’ll just have to wait this phase out.

We’re gradually getting some support with her behaviour – both for us and for her.

But do you know that most psychologists have a 12 month waiting list? Even for kids and families who really need help?

We’ve finally started some Occupational Therapy – but even that’s taken 6 months to access.

All I can say is, it’s not easy. Not easy to figure out what she needs, not easy to juggle our older son’s needs when she’s so demanding, not easy to handle our own mental health as a result.

And certainly not easy finding the energy to keep being positive when it comes to our businesses.

Want me to add in some more reality for you?

There’s the 1985’s mega small house we live in, that’s crumbling around us. We barely all fit in here – we’re on top of each other. I work from bed because there’s no other room. And things keep breaking that we can’t afford to fix.

There’s the constant ‘patching’ of old fencing for horses, or trying to make more safe paddocks with limited resources, so they have more grass.

There’s the juggle of the expense of Sophie’s extra appointments she needs, while also trying to seek support to look after ourselves.

There’s the horses to feed – which yes, may seem a luxury to some, but they are a lifeline for us. They are our ‘out’ and our therapy. Sophie’s too.

There’s the constant mum and dad guilt that we’re working so much right now – and not focused on the kids more.

Then we do focus on the kids, and our businesses slow down. Which means no income. And guilt about taking too long to get things done for clients.

There’s the strain on our relationship.

And quite frankly, the strain of trying to keep our businesses looking ‘perfect’ and continuing to work for clients, when we feel rather lost and broken.

All of that is really just the tip of the iceberg.

This is not intended to be a sob story however. You do not need to take pity on us or anything else.

It’s simply a picture of raw reality. In a single broken moment of time.

It’s not all doom and gloom, really it’s not.

We have a lot to be grateful for.

And I take comfort in knowing that living through these tough experiences only makes me BETTER at understanding people.

Which means I can write more effective copy for my clients.

It means I can help my clients more, from a place of deeper understanding of the challenges they too most likely face.

And I hope that by starting to share some of our struggles – other business owners might take comfort in knowing that they’re not alone in theirs.

The human experience is never straight forward.

And small business isn’t for the faint hearted.

We do it, because we care so much about the world and we want to make more impact.

But it’s not easy when you’re juggling all sorts of complications and challenges behind the scenes.

I hope this inspires you to be more authentic and honest too.

I think the world needs more of that.

And maybe the ‘warts and all’ approach might actually work better, rather than only showing the glossy side.

P.S – If you need a copywriter, I need more clients. I’d love a couple of extra bookings so we can pay the mortgage this month 🤣