How do you talk about your non-traditional job in social settings

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately.

Moving to India was a big deal – not only were we trying to set up home somewhere totally, totally different, but we were faced with the daunting task of finding new friends and starting again.  Luckily we met some fantastic people over there– many of whom I know will be in our lives for a long time – but it took a while to find them, and I found myself in lots of new social situations being asked about myself and what I do. 

Two years on and we’re in the same situation, starting our lives in a foreign place. And even with all the practice I’ve had, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have moments when I struggle to tell people what I do with confidence.  

Personal styling isn’t a traditional job – I take people shopping and edit their wardrobes for a living; it’s not your typical 9-5.  

I used to dread the question “so, what do you do for a living?”  It used to be a huge hurdle I’d struggle to get over, partly because I didn’t think that people understood what I did for a living, and if they did, they’d probably think it was not a real job.   There was also a small part of me that would think they were going to label me as materialistic, vain or judgmental (worrying about what I thought about their style). I was fully aware that I was the one who put that hurdle there, but no matter how hard I tried, I’d still falter at the starting line. 

Over the years, I’ve learnt a few ways of dealing with it, like beginning with a positive instead of a negative.  For example, I might want to say “I run a styling business, it pays the bills” just to move the conversation on and talk about something else, but insead I’ll try saying something like “I run my own styling business, and I love it!  I get to show people how good they can look, and to boost their confidence!”

Selling a product is a hard thing to do, but selling yourself and your ability?  Well that’s even harder.  But if you love what you do, and are proud of what you’ve achieved then you should shout about it!  Right?  So why is it so hard to do??

What do you think? I can’t be the only person who struggles with this?  So tell me, how do you talk positively about your non-traditional job?