I’ve always admired entrepreneurs.
I spent the last 20+ years working in the corporate world. I’ve worked for small business owners (entrepreneurs) and large enterprise organizations (founded at one time or other by….an entrepreneur).
Not everyone has what it takes to start, run, manage, sell, market, produce and deliver products and services. You have to be able to sell yourself, have a bit of a thick skin, and recognize when it isn’t working and to pack it in. It takes passion, dedication, organization, energy, time, courage, and of course MONEY.
It takes money to start a business. It takes money to sustain it as you build up your client base. It takes money to buy supplies, pay your staff (if you have one) and support yourself and your family. But if you can tackle that hurdle and set realistic goals for yourself. If you appreciate the benefits of being your own boss and doing what you are passionate about, then maybe, just maybe, you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Here are my top 10 reasons why I chose to go out on my own:
1 – The commute: I used to travel 1.5 hours each way to get to and from work. That’s 3 hours a day! Now my commute is 8 feet
2 – Wardrobe: As much as I love to shop, I must say I love the fact that I get to work in yoga pants and a t-shirt
3 – Cost Savings: I have saved money on makeup, gas, coffee, eating out and clothes (see #2)
4 – Exercise: I can go to the gym whenever I want. Typically, I go for a cardio workout in the morning and am back home, showered and at my desk by 9. On days where I am meeting someone for lunch, I will opt instead to go later in the morning, and head straight to lunch freshly showered and wearing REAL clothes. The bottom line is…it’s up to me
5 – Healthy Eating: Although some people may find the opposite, I find I eat better at home. I have a proper breakfast, a decent lunch, and a home-cooked dinner. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I choose to eat frozen yogurt and berries for lunch…but I can tell you it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than if I made that choice and had to purchase it from a foodcourt!
6 – Time for my kids: Most days I am home when they get home from school. I can find out how their day went and give them a hug. And then I can kick them out of my office and continue working until it’s time to make dinner.
7 – Time for me: I don’t have to do grocery shopping on Saturdays anymore! I don’t have to worry about the number of personal calls I make during the day. I don’t have to worry who’s looking over my shoulder if I want to check my Facebook status! And I can set my alarm for 8:55 am on the mornings that I don’t have to get my kids off to school! (see #1)
8 – Fewer politics: As a consultant, I don’t typically get embroiled in the office politics, the office gossip, the idle chit chat and the frustrations that can set in on a team that is strained and overburdened. That doesn’t give permission to be arrogant. On the contrary. I value and respect the people I contact and have the privilege of working with.
9 – Variety: I am a person who thrives on variety. Even if all of my clients want the same thing (i.e. a lead gen strategy), each is different. Different products, solutions, audience, offer, budget, goals, etc. It keeps me on my toes and keeps the creative juices flowing.
10 – Pride: I get to do what I love and share what I’ve learned the last 25+ years with people and companies who appreciate and value what I bring to the table.
Of course there are always days when I wonder what will happen if my proposal doesn’t get accepted, if my prospects dry up, how I’m going to cover the medical expenses with no benefits, whether I made the right decision to go out on my own while we are still in the tenuous process of recovering from a struggling economy. And I suppose for the foreseeable future I will often have those doubts.
But then I remember how I felt when my first proposal was accepted. When my first article was published. When I received payment for my first consulting job. And how proud I feel when I receive gratitude from a client and a referral to someone new. I also think of the amazing people I know made the very same decision I recently made and have thrived.
So, whether you consider me a freelancer, a consultant, an entrepreneur, or simply self-employed…at the end of the day…I am happy! (…and yes, I still have a rolodex of recruiters close by….just in case!)