How do we Eradicate the Stigma of Small Business?

As a society, we seem to draw negative attachments to small business. Where does this come from? Is it possible to encourage a college degree or higher education without devaluing the “house painter” or what it might represent? Further, how do we eradicate the limiting beliefs or stigma attached to small business?

If we look through the lens of a business owner or entrepreneur, we may altogether digress from the discussion of the importance of a college degree. Instead, we’d snap the focus into the marvels and opportunities hidden in the layers of what house painting can embody.

To an entrepreneur, business owner, or everyday go-getter, they see “house painting” and rather than dread, dead-end, and the lack of success, they see structure, craftsmanship, practice, ways to garner demand, a personal brand, a business culture, ownership, community, impact, relationship-building, and of course, income–far from undesirable and empty of meaning. But gaining access to this opening is key.

Part of the limiting belief we seem to have about roles within small business and blue collar work is their cookie-cutter nature and the division of labor. Meaning if you are a house painter, that’s all you are: you paint houses and your path is presumably a dead-end. This format of thinking has been problematic for over a century. It separates the person behind the business/work from the work itself. The perception of prestige is sucked away when you operate as a cog in a machine.

But imagine if we took on the project of reformatting the way we encourage our young adults–that each piece of work has a value that contributes to society and it’s up to you, as an individual, to integrate aspects of yourself, your experience and knowledge and infuse it into your work. Could that space be where prestige is rooted? Going further, would it be too huge of a project to shift our idea of success, happiness, and prestige away from the old school rhetoric? How can young adults access an equally fulfilling path that doesn’t make them a “loser” if they don’t choose college? Not everyone is meant to be a doctor or take on what we commonly refer to as white-collar jobs, but everyone should have access to the tools that help build the person behind any business.

We’ve uncovered extraordinary ways of re-identifying our work, regardless of its type of business, with its corresponding prestige. The tools and body of knowledge we now have access to, through various examples such as breakthroughs in business approaches, coaching programs, online courses, and supportive business owner communities, have helped us reformat the way we define the value of our work. Booming Collective in an example of the body of knowledge and course platforms out there. The tools are endless and they have done well to help us eradicate the limiting beliefs and stigma. If only we can continue to spread this new norm, we could potentially experience small business and all types of work differently, and feel the rich value as consumers.

Today, we have a better understanding of what it means to deliver our value from our core and build our work as something related and interconnected to an entire ecosystem of things. Modern business concepts like branding, impact, and value have helped create a more integrated approach to work and business in which you’re no longer just cookie-cutting but instead, required to be both fisherman and philosopher, house painter and artist at the same time.

Other examples like the gig economy in which disruptive apps and other software technology have mobilized go-getters to use their trade to execute business. Taking ownership of your skills and dreams have never been more accessible than before. The cultural leap into entrepreneurship has made small business ownership hot. You have the opportunity to deliver your value through your business, and extend that same quality to the different roles within your business. It’s up to you how prestigious you set your role. It requires more responsibility, but with responsibility comes equal prestige. And with prestige, we trump the stigma attached to small business.

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