I’ve been running my new business for about 10 days now, and while things are going okay for the most part, it’s undeniably a struggle. I’m noticing that I’m already changing in ways I didn’t expect.
When you start a business for the first time…
1. You become distrustful of everybody. People mess up. People lie. People neglect to do things or tell you things, on purpose or by mistake. And these human flaws become more apparent and frightening because they affect your business. When you work for somebody, you mostly just have to look out for yourself. But when others are working for you, it could just as easily be their actions that get you into trouble as your own.
2. You become more self-involved. You become a talker. You turn into a 24/7 salesman. Everything you talk about revolves around you and your business, because it’s all you ever think about. As your work consumes your life more and more, there remains less room in your heart for other people.
3. But at the same time (and maybe because of that), you get lonely. There are decisions that need to be made every day, all of which ultimately have to be made by you. You need to maintain composure and confidence in all professional communication and even personal communication that could have a stake in your business (which can amount to quite a bit). The distractions of your working hours might keep general loneliness at bay but at the end of the day, you crave that much more to have that someone around whom you can completely let down your guard.
Anybody who knows me knows that the above is not who I am. If anything, I am too trusting, too compassionate, and usually too busy to feel loneliness. I’m sure that with the proper work-life balance, I can be who I am and not be this neurotic mess losing all sense of self, but for now at least, this new venture is bringing too many changes in my life, changes I’m not ready for. I hear the way I’m changing when I talk to people. I see the change in the voice of my writing.
I started this business under my own name, calling it Nayoung Kang Translation because I wanted the work to be about me. I wanted the translation methodology and business principles to reflect who I am and what I believe in. But it’s starting to feel like I am becoming my work, or just work in general — the reality of surviving amongst competition, the pressure of making a profit, the burden of making everybody happy.