On February 8th I quietly celebrated four years of business ownership. ‘They” say most businesses flop within the first five years, so I guess there’s something to be said for making it 80% of the way to that benchmark.
I’ve always known I wanted to own my own business. I just never knew growing up what that business might be. Now I can say that I own not one business, but three, all of which are successful in their own right.
Some days I wonder how could anyone want to work for someone else when I get to experience the highs of a big sales win or new referral partnership cemented. Or, when I get to enjoy the freedoms of my time that come with self-employment.
Other days I question why I left the world of employment where you get a steady pay, health insurance, and a retirement plan. You also get some amount of predictability which, too, has it’s pros and cons.
Ultimately, I don’t think I really had a ‘choice’ in the matter of whether or not I would ultimately become self-employed. I think it has always been a part of my DNA. It seems that two types of ‘entrepreneurs’ exist: those who are born to be them, and those who fall into it accidentally because they have such a great idea that must be unleashed.
Even with the stress, late nights, and lack of predictability at times, I wouldn’t trade this life in. This ‘choice’ to work for myself has not only brought me financial success, but equally importantly, it’s taken me down a winding path to meet incredible and inspiring business owners and entrepreneurs in-the-making. It has also allotted me the freedom to travel, to volunteer, and to give back to my community and the organizations that are meaningful to me. It have obtained my “street MBA” as I like to say (and in which I’m likely still a year 1 in my studies with many years of lessons to continue to learn).
I recognize that the world needs all types of people for our systems to function so not everyone should be or is cut out to be self-employed. But I am very grateful that about 6 and a half years ago when I graduated college and set out to join the work force, that the work force made it clear to me that it didn’t want me. In about 2 plus years, I experienced 2 lay-offs and 2 hours cut-backs. Life just kept nudging me in this direction. Even though it felt like a huge leap back then, with the gift of retrospect now, I’m able to appreciate how I was being guided and taken to the place where I would feel most fulfilled.
It’s important and meaningful to stop here and there and reflect. 4 years ago I was afraid I wouldn’t acquire any clients. Now I have over 600. 4 years ago I was afraid I would never be able to support myself. Now I can do that, give back, and launch new ventures on my own. 4 years ago I felt that my self-worth was less because I didn’t have a company with which to attach my identity. Now I’m proud of what I’ve built and know that I’m capable whether or not the world wants to employ me.