"So What Do You Do For A Living?"

Posted by Brittani Willnauer on

"So what do you do for a living?"

For the last 8 years this has been the world's easiest question to answer...I'm a teacher!  I would venture that I get this question or something similar to it about once a week now that I am out and about more often.  At the bank, at the post office, at the gym, at Wal-Mart, at the library, on applications and forms, on Jeopardy audition paperwork...you name it!  No matter how many times I'm asked and how much I think about it, I can never come up with an answer that sounds halfway respectable.  Maybe part of the reason is because I do SO MANY things and I lack focus sometimes in what I do.  But honestly, everything I do makes me happy so having to cut something out for the sake of "focus" doesn't sound enjoyable.  I know it's probably not a huge deal what I call my "profession" and you might be wondering why I care so much about what other people think of me and my business, but to me it is kind of important.  I want people to know how much I love what I do and how hard I have worked to build my business.  Spreading the word about what I do is part of marketing my business.  And the "I make stuff and sell it" answer just doesn't cut it for me!

I could say that I'm an Etsy seller.  But that leaves out the other 50% of my business doing craft shows and selling in boutiques.  Plus, there's the stigma that anyone and their dog can open up an Etsy shop and the occasional comment of "oh my step-mother's brother's ex-wife just started an Etsy shop!" 

I could say that I also do craft shows.  But to so many people, a "craft show" is 10 little old ladies set up in the basement of their church selling potholders and cute knitted blankets...not 500+ booth vendor events.

I could say that I create personalized stamped jewelry.  But that again, leaves out the other half of my business doing apparel, Chalk Couture, DIY parties, etc.

I could say that I just work from home.  But in today's society "working from home" can take on so many different levels and meanings.  

I could say that I am a crafter.  But "crafter" to me also has a negative stigma.  When I think "crafter" I generally think of a lady sitting at her kitchen table gluing doo-dads, glittering everything in sight, and crocheting mittens for her cat.  No offense to anyone who actually does those things (I have done my fair share of glittering), but that label just doesn't fit what I do necessarily.  

I could say I'm self-employed.  True, but that's such IRS-speak and the term "self-employed" gives me shivers thinking about all of the not fun things about being self-employed...taxes, crappy insurance, yada yada yada...

I could say small business owner or I run my own business.  Both definitely true but still kind of broad.  Luckily though when give this answer people generally ask a follow up question such as, "oh what kind of business?" or "what do you sell?"  To which I want to respond, "how much time do you have?"  Haha!  In all seriousness I do like how this answer leads to conversation and maybe even passing out a business card or two.  Hmm, this one may be my favorite so far.

I think the main point for me here is to be confident in whatever answer I give.  I need to be proud about my business and the things I make.  So even if I say that I sell jewelry on Etsy or I'm a crafter, I can say it with enough confidence to not get that "oh really?" raised eyebrow or side-eye.  And when that occasional raised eyebrow or side-eye does come my way, I need to learn how to just ignore it and move on.  Because odds are I have about 40 other things on my to-do list that day that are more important than the validation of a stranger in the grocery store checkout line.

Sincerely,

An Etsy-selling, craft show-doing, boutique-selling, DIY party-hosting, jewelry-designing, t-shirt-making, toddler-raising business owner.


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