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7 “Oh Snap!” Responses to Small Business Put Downs

Jennifer Williams

Running a small business is a lot of work – we know that! But sometimes, what’s even more work is dealing with the weird questions and put downs you get in response to, “I own my own business.” Your friends and family might mean well, but of course, saying those types of things can still be hurtful. And even if it’s not a mean comment, hearing the same thing over and over from clients or loved ones can leave you at a loss for words for something good to say. 

Because we’re The Voice of Small Business™, we thought it was only appropriate to think of some good “oh snap” responses to common things people say about small businesses. 

1. “You must be so busy doing everything yourself.” 

It’s true. As a small business owner, you do wear a lot of different hats. In addition to providing your particular product or service, you also manage billing, accounting, marketing, etc. However, while having so many different responsibilities means you’re never bored, it doesn’t mean you’re too busy for other things in your life. 

Oh snap! 

“It’s better than working for a huge corporation where I sometimes feel like I don’t really have a say in anything. I love the fact that I can work in every area of my small business.” 

2. “How can you afford health insurance?” 

One of the perks of working for a large company is the benefits, right? So most people automatically decide that working for yourself means no health insurance. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s easier than ever for individuals to purchase their own health insurance and go after their entrepreneurial dreams. 

Oh snap! 

“My health insurance may be a little more expensive, but I love doing what I do. So it’s worth every penny!” 

3. “You must have tons of debt.” 

This is probably one of the most awkward questions that many small business owners receive on a regular basis. Even if you ARE swimming in debt, you really don’t want to acknowledge that to people that you know (and especially to people that you don’t know).  

Oh snap! 

“While many small business owners DO rack up a lot of debt while pursuing their ideas, many also find creative ways to stay in the black. I consider all of my business financing to be good investments into my company.” 

4. “It must be nice working for yourself.” 

Some people think that because you don’t have a “boss,” that you have a dream schedule and work whenever you want, however you want. But if you own a small business, chances are you are actually working a lot more than the 40 hours a week you would spend at a 9-5 job. 

Oh snap! 

“I hold myself to a much higher standard than any boss. It makes me a lot more accountable for things than working for someone else.” 

5. “Why do you charge so much?” 

Nothing can be quite as offensive as someone telling you your services are too expensive. But even as a small business, you still have the same qualifications as a larger company or agency (or better). It’s important that you stand behind your products/services and don’t undercut yourself. 

Oh snap! 

“My services are on par with other companies in the industry, so I charge a competitive rate.” 

6. “Can you get this done ASAP?” 

Well-meaning clients might think you’re so eager for work that you’re willing to provide 24/7 service. And although being a small business doesn’t give you a lot of room to turn down jobs, it also doesn’t mean you have to agree to unfeasible deadlines. It’s important that you set boundaries with your clients – otherwise you set the precedent that you’re always available to do what they want. 

Oh snap! 

“I can’t deliver what you need on such short notice, but I can certainly make it a priority and provide it within my regularly scheduled time frame.” 

7. “I could never own my own business.” 

What is usually meant as a compliment can often come off as a negative and/or critical statement. Just because someone else may not feel confident enough to strike out on their own, doesn’t mean that you’re not totally competent to run your own small business. 

Oh snap! 

“You’d be amazed at what you can achieve when you are really passionate about it. Having a job I love has empowered me to do things I never thought possible before!” 

Running a small business takes a lot of dedication and hard work – and a bit of a sense of humor too! Just remember, most people are more interested in your small business and your wellbeing than actually trying to criticize you. Take these questions and comments with a grain of salt and show them how an entrepreneur really does it with your “oh snap” responses!