Paris

Small business confidence

Although normally I’m a confident person, when I talk about my business I suddenly feel so shy and embarrassed. I find it hard to sum up what I do in a way that people in ‘normal’ jobs will understand (I use the word ‘normal’ here loosely, but you know what I mean). Since moving to Paris I’ve had people ask me if I’m managing to keep busy while my husband is at work (what?!), and the eternally frustrating ‘but what’s your real job?’, or ‘how’s the employment search going?’ Um, I found employment. I employ myself. I’m employee of the month ALL YEAR ROUND, FOLKS!

But other people’s perceptions are only part of the problem – I’m certain that the main reason I feel this way is because, before I lived in Paris, I was a scientific researcher and my shop was just an awesome hobby. Now I’m no longer a researcher (best decision EVER!), and the thing that used to be a hobby is now my full-time job, I feel like it isn’t ‘enough’…as though I should be doing something more, or different, or with a snappy, easy-to-explain-to-people title.

Of course these thoughts are ridiculous. If a friend said to me “Oh, I’m not really a creative entrepreneur because I used to do a different job before this….” I would immediately say “Don’t be silly! What you did before has no impact on the validity of your current job!”. But as always, we judge ourselves much more harshly than we judge others.

When an English-speaker tries to ask me about my job I find myself saying, “Oh, I just have a little online shop, I make and sell some things, I used to be a researcher though….”, still clinging onto my previous identity because I still don’t feel like my current status is enough. Happily, I’ve found a solution! When I speak about my business in French, I don’t know enough words to diminish my status and my achievements. I only know key words and verbs, so I’m forced to say “I’m Becky, and I’m a micro-entrepreneur. I make astronomically accurate laser cut jewellery and world map skirts with pockets. POCKETS!”. While speaking French I have no choice but to state the facts. BOOM, instant (appearance of) confidence!

With each conversation in French about my business, I start to believe in myself just a little bit more. Now I just need to come up with a succinct job title to write on all the paperwork I have to fill in here – suggestions on a postcard (or in the comments box), please?

BeckyQof_Logo_square_etsy

You can also find the aforementioned astronomically accurate laser cut jewellery and world map skirts with pockets (POCKETS!) here: Becky, Queen of Frocks

Or why not come and say hi on Instagram? Find me at @BeckyQoF

 


My original version in French, originally published on the Petit Paris Etsy Team blog:

C’est simple; utilisez une langue étrangère!

Bien que d’habitude je sois une personne confiante, quand je parle de mon entreprise je me sens timide et embarrassée. Je suis certaine que je me sens de cette façon parce que avant d’habiter à Paris je faisais de la recherche en science, et ma boutique n’était qu’un loisir. Maintenant que je ne suis plus une chercheuse, l’activité qui était mon passe-temps est devenue ma carrière. C’est pour cela que je sens que mon nouveau statut n’est pas <<suffisant>>.

Ces pensées sont ridicules, et si j’ai un ami qui me dit <<Oh, je ne suis pas vraiment un créateur parce que j’avais un autre boulot avant….>> je dirais <<mais non, tu es fou! Tu es un créateur!>>. Mais, on se juge toujours plus durement à soi même.

Si je rencontrais une personne Anglaise, et si elle me demandait <<Qu’est-ce que c’est votre boulot?>> peut-être que je dirais timidement <<J’ai seulement une petite boutique en ligne, je vends des accessoires mais ce n’est pas ma vrai carrière parce que j’étais une chercheuse….>> Je m’accrocherais à mon identité précédente parce que je ne crois pas encore que mon statut soit suffisamment valide. Toutefois, j’ai trouvé une solution! Quand je parle de mon entreprise en français, je ne suis pas consciente des mots qui diminuent mes réussites. Je connais seulement les mots les plus importants, donc je doit dire <<Je m’appelle Becky, et je suis une micro-entrepreneur. Je fais des bijoux que je coupe en bois avec un laser, et tous sont scientifiquement précis>>. En parlant français, je n’ai pas d’autre choix que d’être confiante!

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