Last Sunday (September 15, 2019) was the official three month-mark of my entrepreneurial life, of working for myself! As in any still-quite-new phase in life, being an entrepreneur comes equipped with a myriad of new learning opportunities. These learning opportunities come not only with a look to the future, but also a look back, while being completely engaged in the present moment.
After working for the same organization for over 21 years, being able to enjoy life as an entrepreneur feels nothing short of a great feat and accomplishment. However, I don’t want you, readers out there, to think that this is not hard work. I actually feel that I’m working more than ever! The difference, however, lies in the fact that I work doing what I absolutely love, and I don’t have to settle for any less. As a matter of fact, doing what I love keeps me quite busy these days!
I think it is important for anyone contemplating the jump from employee to entrepreneur to contemplate all the pros and cons of this decision. At the three-month mark, these are the ones that I think about the most:
- Your time is yours: Yes, you own your time, and you get to distribute it the way you want to. Want to work 15 hours today? You can do that. Want to take off so you can catch up on your reading? Go ahead. You don’t need permission to do as you please with your time.
- You get to express our own thoughts and professional opinions: As an employee, I was forced to say things that I knew were misguided, inconsistent, and sometimes plainly wrong. As a matter of fact, in my last position, I endured a great deal of bullying from my supervisor/s for standing up for what I believed. When you work for yourself, you represent your business, and your opinions matter. Being free to express myself is one of the most precious gifts of being an entrepreneur.
- There is virtually no limit to your professional growth: Your work is what you make of it, and you can take it in any direction that you want. In my case, I’m moving towards a more mobile alternative, so that I can basically work from anywhere, most of the time. You are able to design the type of work, and the type of work/life balance that you want.
- You get to interact with the people who matter to you the most: Every day, I get to experience the triumphs as well as the challenges of the people that I serve, and I do so intimately. I get to establish a mutual working relationship of trust, as people entrust me with what they value the most: Their children, their families. This makes my heart shine like a thousand splendid suns and there is simply no better reward than this.
- PTSD is real! Learn to recognize the signs, talk to your doctor, talk to a therapist. You may have left your job behind, but the triggers are still there. I get a very automatic reaction every time something reminds my body (not conscious “me”) about a particular place or experience. Don’t think that only veterans can suffer from this condition. People who are or have been bullied can suffer from this too. If you are experiencing bullying at work, please seek help!
- It’s hard to STOP working: Just because you can work as many hours as you want, does not mean that you should work every waking hour, but when you are an entrepreneur, it is hard to say no! I have been growing exponentially for the past three months, and there are days that I think I can work from dusk to dawn. It is important to recognize your limits, listen to your body, and take care of yourself! I’m learning to do this, little by little, and every time I do something just for myself, it feels GREAT!
If you have any questions about entrepreneurial life, career or work issues, or would like help building an exit plan that would work for you, drop me a note.