The ONE Thing to Never Say to a Business Owner

Jenna Kutcher 

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May 25, 2018


It’s probably one of my least favorite ways to begin a conversation, in fact, it’s no secret that I’d rather go around asking people what they were passionate about… not what they do to make a living or what they punch a time clock for. But since the world doesn’t really revolve around me and my pet peeves, it’s time to equip you to be prepared to really respond with boldness and confidence the next time someone wants to know how you spend your time!

Have you ever been asked this?

We all have a story like this one. It typically follows the “what do you do” question. I’ve had several, but one of the more recent ones happened on the San Diego News. After explaining I was a podcaster, social media influencer, educator, and photographer, the news anchor said “and… you make a living at this?”. Umm, yes. Yes, I do. My other favorite? “Ohhhh, and what does your husband do for a living?” 

I don’t think comments like these are mean-spirited. Let’s be honest, as entrepreneurs, we’re operating outside of the norm. Our lives and dreams look different than those around us. We’re not satisfied with the typical 9 to 5 work until we’re 65 plan. Our dreams? They look different. We’re proud of them. We work hard for them. But, in those casual conversations with well-intentioned people, we can sometimes be caught off guard. Unable to communicate our life’s aspirations and leave feeling less than, misunderstood and not enough (pssst, my I am Enough necklace is coming back in stock, enter your email here to be the first to know when you can grab yours)!

As entrepreneurs, we might not be able to answer this question with a simple title that makes sense to everyone, but let’s resist the urge to feel the need to prove ourselves, get defensive or default to the, “well, it’s sort of complicated,” responses.

Instead, here are 3 things you can do the next time this happens:

Give them the benefit of the doubt.

If someone treats your career as a hobby, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there aren’t a lot of entrepreneurs in their circle and they sincerely don’t understand what it is you do. For people who can answer the question with a definitive title “accountant” or “dentist” or “teacher”, this topic might be completely off their radar. As an entrepreneur, you’re juggling a million things and wearing a million hat. People’s line of questioning can come off as rude, but let’s trust that they are approaching with good intentions and then be equipped to answer each question with a confident answer.

Be ready with a few key points.

I used to say, “Well, it’s a little confusing,” when people would ask me what my job was. I felt like I had to list a laundry list of the items that I do on the daily and it only muddied the water and made it even more confusing. The key to not being backed in a corner feeling the urge to defend your career choices is to have practiced responses that will roll off your tongue when this question comes up. (Yes, I want you to rehearse this stuff!) Put pen to paper and brainstorm a list of things about yourself that you might want to share with someone. Things like what you’re passionate about, what services you provide, what makes you unique, your niche, where you want to take your career, who you serve, what you’ve achieved, what your goals are. Now practice them and practice them again.

Create connection points.

Next time you’re asked this question, answer based on who it is that you are talking to. Why should this specific person standing in front of you care about what you’re saying? Is there a way to connect with them on a level that helps them understand your passions without closing the door or changing the conversation to the current weather? Is there an opportunity to connect in a certain area? Might there be an opportunity to partner professionally in some way?

I get it, it’s hard as an entrepreneur to share what you really do day in and  day out. It’s time for us to get better at communicating what it is that we’re excited about and instead of turning people away from our passions, we want to show them that this life is really possible (and heck, it’s beautiful too!)

Need more help with that elevator speech so the next time someone asks you what you do, you’ll be ready to answer boldly and confidently? I’ve got you girl. Tune in to this episode of the Goal Digger Podcast and grab your free guide below!

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  1. Natalie says:

    I need that necklace! 😇

  2. Lauren says:

    Trying to grab the download for the elevator pitch, and it isn’t working! 🙂


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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