I have to be honest with you: this blog post has been on my heart (and in my iPhone notes) for a while now. In the online space, and especially in what I’m calling “girl boss” business culture, it’s always a little bit uncomfortable to share truly unpopular opinions. But these are some of the things I’ve been seeing in the online space that have been kind of frustrating to me, that happen kind of in the “background,” and I believe they are not talked about enough!
My intention here is to share some things that may go against the grain (or at least that I don’t see talked about often) and then you can decide for yourself if you agree or disagree. The ONLY thing I ask here is that you read until the end before deciding if you agree or disagree with me on any of these things. Sound good?
Let me repeat — it’s also absolutely okay if you don’t agree with me today. We can still be friends! These are opinions, not facts. Although blog posts can often feel like one-way communication, the truth is that I would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to send me a DM on Instagram and share your thoughts. If this resonated with you and you feel like sharing, please tag me on your Instagram stories. I would genuinely love to hear what you think!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
Let’s talk about “girl boss” business culture
Quickly, before I dive into my 3 most unpopular opinions about “girl boss” business culture, I want to explain what I mean by it (even though I know you likely already know!). I’m talking about the online space that so many of us are floating around. When I talk about “girl boss” business culture, I’m thinking about all of the marketing messages targeted specifically at women starting and running their businesses. If your Instagram feed is filled with messages from other women building businesses, online business coaches, course creators, and celebrity entrepreneurs, then you are in it, my friend.
Now, let’s talk about some unpopular opinions.
1. You don’t need to retire your husband to have a successful business.
In fact, that doesn’t even have to be a business goal at all. Personally, I’m not into the idea of retiring my husband. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely can be a beautiful goal to have (especially if your husband hates his job, would love the opportunity for a career change, or wishes he could be a stay-at-home parent full-time).
I am not saying that retiring your husband is a “bad” goal. In fact, if you’ve been a long-time listener of the podcast, you know that I’m in a situation right now where I am the primary income earner in my household. But in my opinion, this is completely different than trying to retire him.
In fact, many of the women I see shouting from the rooftops that “they have retired their husband, and you can too” are missing the mark — at least in my opinion!
What I wish “girl boss” business culture would say about business goals instead:
- You don’t need an altruistic goal (like retiring your husband!) to justify starting a business.
- You are allowed to start your own business simply because you want to earn money and/or do something you are passionate about.
- It’s okay to want to turn something you are good at into a career.
As women, we often feel guilty putting ourselves first.
Starting a business is a ton of work. It can be expensive and time-consuming. When you want to invest in another $2,000 course or stay up late after bedtime to work on your business, you might be tempted to feel like you have to justify the sacrifice as if “it’s for your spouse” or “it’s for your kid’s college fund”.
I am NOT saying these are bad business goals. Making enough money for your spouse to pursue what they want, filling your child’s college fund, or even donating X amount of money to charity, are all really beautiful things. I’m just saying — it can also just be for you. Not him. Or your kids. Or your clients. It can simply be because you want to.
I also think this goal of “retiring your husband” can be used manipulatively to try and sell you an offer (who else watched Lularich?!)
Hear me out on this - often, this messaging is used when someone is trying to sell their course or get you to sign up for an MLM. In fact, if you remember the company Lularoe or if you ever watched a documentary on Amazon called Lularich, they talk about this too! A big part of that marketing around that was this “big dream” of retiring your husband. They targeted their marketing towards “stay at home moms” by saying things like “hey - let’s retire your husband from corporate America and he can work in your Lularoe business too.” And hey - it DOES sound like a beautiful dream, but the reality was it was manipulative and wasn’t the reality for a majority of the women who invested in the company.
If you haven’t watched it yet, go watch it! It was so good and felt kind of similar to some of the messages we see in the online space too.
While “girl boss” business culture might say you should retire your husband, I actually think work is a beautiful and fulfilling thing
When I’ve seen businesswomen talk about retiring their husbands in their 20s or 30s, it baffles me a little. What are they going to do now? It seems a little odd to me.
I am NOT saying that you can’t retire your husband. If you want to help your husband get out of a job he doesn’t like, that’s fine. But your goals don’t need to revolve around his work. If retiring your husband is your only goal, your business probably won’t be that fulfilling for you. On top of that, you’ll likely put a lot of stress from within your home on your business that shouldn’t be there.
If you want a little extra encouragement, check out this post about how I believe it is OKAY to not always be growing your business. Like I said in this Instagram post, if you’re not growing, you’re probably doing something else wonderful with your time. You don’t need to chase a lofty goal like “retiring your husband” to have a fulfilling and profitable business.
2. You don’t need an Instagram-worthy morning routine to have a successful business.
We all have kind of an obsession with other people’s morning routines, don’t we? I know whenever I see a podcast episode titled “my morning routine,” I’m always eager to listen. I’ve also shared my own morning routine on the podcast before! It’s not a bad thing, but you also don’t NEED to have an Instagram-worthy morning routine to have a successful business.
I think there is a lie beneath it all that makes us believe if we just know what their morning routine looks like, we will have what they have. There’s also a fancy glorification of this high-vibe morning routine in girl boss business culture too.
For example, you may hear that your morning needs to consist of:
- A cold shower
- Burning sage
- Drink matcha tea or bulletproof coffee
- Go in a sauna
- Read an inspirational book
- Leave your phone locked in a box for the first three hours
- Go do yoga on the beach
- Go on a one mile walk
- Journal for 30 minutes
- The list goes ON AND ON.
We are told that doing some or all of these things in a specific order or sequence is going to be the thing that changes our lives. And hey - I LOVE morning routines. I totally see the value in starting your day with intentionality and slowly warming up to work and not just looking at your phone immediately. I also see the value in getting up and exercising, or reading, or praying first thing in the morning. I fully get that and love that. If it is working for you and you have the capacity for it, I truly love that for you.
Do you need a morning routine?
What I don’t love is feeling like you have to have a perfect morning routine. I want to push back against the lie that your morning routine can make or break your success. It’s not just exclusive to mornings either, you don’t need to copy someone else’s routine for any part of the day in order to be successful. Everyone’s life is different.
I also believe that what someone says they do during a 15-second reel or on a podcast episode probably looks a little different than what they do in their real life. Often, they are telling you their IDEAL morning routine, if everything goes according to plan. So if you are wondering what time you need to wake up to do this seemingly 5-hour morning routine, just know you don’t need to follow someone else’s morning routine. It’s not always what it looks like, so don’t let it be a distraction to you.
My Morning Routine as a Mom
And hey - just to be transparent with you, my morning routine looks a little different every day too. It all depends on the day, on my mood, and what life has for me that day. I’ve had elements of a morning routine that I follow, but it’s never very fancy. Now that I have an almost two-year-old, Colin is what wakes me up most days (he’s never been a great sleeper - he’s definitely a morning person lol).
When I DO wake up before Colin, those mornings feel kind of special but all I really do is drink coffee, pray, and do a devotional on the sofa. It feels like a huge win if I can hit the gym before he wakes up but that’s RARE. I’ve never been able to knock out eighteen things on my morning routine and I’ve still been able to grow a successful, thriving business.
While I do sometimes wish I could do more in the morning, that’s not my reality and it’s okay if it’s not yours either! If you feel like you just can’t fit in a super high vibe routine, that’s NORMAL and it’s okay.
3. Revenue expectations placed on online business owners are getting ridiculous.
My last unpopular opinion? The expectations for what new revenue numbers we CAN and SHOULD get to as business owners are getting ridiculous.
I might be dating myself here, but at one point aiming for 6-figures was the “ultimate” business goal. I swear when I started the “ultimate revenue goal” was even less than that. Reaching $5000 months used to be an exciting goal. Recently, the ultimate goal has shifted to 7 figures. And now? I’m seeing 8-figures ALL of the time.
What bothers me most about this is the lack of transparency in it all. An 8-figure business is a $10 million dollar business… and I know there are dozens if not hundreds of Facebook ads telling you that you can get there in a few hours a week. How? The truth is, it’s probably not true. At least, not in the way it is advertised.
What a 7-figure business could mean:
- They made over $1 million in revenue that year
- That they pay themselves a $1 million dollar salary (news flash: it rarely means this)
- Since they started their business X number of years ago, they have made over a million dollars (what they usually mean when they say 7-figure business).
To be completely honest with you, I also think that when people advertise their revenue numbers, they are intentionally NOT specific so that we, as consumers, don’t question them as much. We draw our own conclusions when people say “6 figure business” even though there is a big difference between $100,000 and $500,000.
Listen, I know many of you listening are educators and course creators, and income claims are a part of it. I would love to encourage you to be specific when possible, while still protecting private financial information. Instead of blatantly throwing out “6-figure business” try to say things like “I pay myself 6-figures annually” or “my business makes 6 figures in revenue annually.”
Try to protect your audience and consider how YOU would perceive the numbers you are throwing out.
I would also love to encourage you to talk about your offers WITHOUT making any income claims. If that’s the only way you can market or sell your offer, it’s not a very strong offer or marketing plan. This shouldn’t be the only thing you are relying on.
What I want more than building an 8-figure business
I’m going to finish off this unpopular opinion by saying something that might sound like I have a bad mindset or don’t believe in myself. I actually don’t believe my business has the capacity to be an 8-figure business annually. I don’t think I can do $10 million dollars in a year.
But also, I don’t want that business anyway.
I want a much simpler business that pays me well, supports other families, and serves YOU. I’m not trying to build the “8-figure empire” that these Facebook ads are trying to sell me. And you don’t have to either.
If you want those things, that’s FINE. I’m just saying that it’s also okay if success to you looks like
- Wanting an extra $2000/month for your family
- Working with ONE dream client that pays you $300/month for work you can get done during naptime
- Focusing more on the number you pay yourself than the fancy top-line revenue number you are “supposed to” have
Let me just say this: I may not have a multimillion-dollar-a-year business BUT I honestly believe that I am probably paying myself more yearly than a lot of people who do run those “8-figure businesses”. And that could be your situation as well.
Want to read a little more about this? I talk about increasing profit and running a lean business here.
I also want to encourage you to be brave enough to ask follow up questions when the people you follow (and potentially buy from) make lofty revenue claims. It’s not nosy to ask questions when THEY are the ones bringing their revenue numbers up. Especially when they are asking you to invest in something.
I would also say: make sure you KNOW what your goals are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and say NO to investing in anything that doesn’t feel aligned.
Controversial opinions about “girl boss” business culture:
That’s it! I really hope you’ll still hang around me even if you disagree with every single one of these opinions. I know compared to other “controversial opinions about business culture” these may not seem that extreme, but I really believe these are NOT talked about enough (and may be TRULY unpopular opinions)
Wondering what to do next? I would love for you to head over to Instagram and let me know which of these you agreed or disagreed with!
If you love a good “unpopular opinions” post and you are a branding and website designer, you are also going to love this post with my 3 most unpopular opinions about branding/website design businesses. Make sure to head there next!
Are you part of our FREE Facebook community yet? If not, we would love to welcome you in! If you are looking to surround yourself with fellow business owners who totally "get it," this is where you'll want to be! I also share behind-the-scenes access to my business strategies, including deep dives into each podcast episode.
And of course, you can ask me any questions you have, and I'll be there to give you the answers you need. Click here to join now!
This Episode Is Sponsored by Riverside
Riverside is my favorite software for recording podcast interviews and creating short-form videos and YouTube content from those episodes! Whether you are on episode one of your podcast or have over 200 episodes like me, let me say - the right software makes ALL the difference. Get 20% off your subscription and try Riverside today!
May 30, 2023