June 30, 2008
I now have 4 (yep, you read that right – FOUR!) days left in my JOB! I can hardly believe how fast the past few weeks have gone. Sorry to be missing in action; I’ve been running around like crazy, trying to clean up my desk for the next poor soul who fills my position, and then when I’m at home I’m working on growing my businesses, trying to spend at least some quality time with my husband and daughter, and on top of it all, preparing the house for a July 4th get-together – why, oh why did I agree to have it at my house, with so much other stuff going on??! But in all seriousness, I am really looking forward to this weekend. This Thursday, July 3rd, will be my last day of working full-time for someone else, slaving away to put their dreams and goals into action, and we’re going to celebrate with an evening of fun and festivities at my sister’s house. This night will be filled with food, beverages (adult and otherwise!), fireworks, and plenty of interesting conversations with those closest to me. Woo-hoo!
I must admit, now that my independence day is getting closer, I’m starting to get a little nervous. It’s a bit like jumping off a cliff, with no idea what’s waiting for you in the dark water below. But it’s also exhilarating to know that I will be in control of my future. What a rush! The potential rewards are well worth the risk.
Back to the weekend plans – this Friday, I’ll be celebrating not only our country independence but also my own. My weekend is jam-packed with plans to get together with family and friends, and I’m so looking forward to sharing my excitement with them all. Then, come Monday, it’s off to work in my home office as my own boss! I can hardly wait!
June 23, 2008
I have several motivational posters in my home office (as you may remember from my earlier post about Ten Two-Letter Words to Live By) that give me inspiration and keep me going when times get tough. One of my posters says:
There are three types of people:
- Those who make things happen
- Those who watch things happen
- Those who wonder what happened
This always picks me up because it reminds me that even though things may not be going exactly as I’d planned, I’m still moving forward and making things happen for myself. I could be sitting around moping about all the negative aspects (aka “failures”) that “are happening to me”, but I refuse to play the victim. Instead, I realize that everything happens for a reason, so I try to find that reason. Maybe my car payment bounced as a sign that I need to get myself in gear and create a budget already (and then stick to it!) Maybe the lack of traffic to my web site is just the shove I need to finally learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that can be used to not only bring in new clients but to also bring in extra income, as I can add my newfound knowledge to my service offerings. It’s a win-win situation!
The next time something bad happens “to you”, quit wasting precious time whining about it! Okay, fine, you can allow yourself a moment to wallow in self-pity, but then pick yourself right back up and start thinking about the positives that you can take away from the experience. Ask yourself how this set-back can make you a better, more successful person, and then, when the answer hits you square between the eyes, put your new plan into action.
Side note: We’re on countdown day 11 to freedom from my JOB. Only 8 days and 3 hours left to go!
June 20, 2008
The recent life-threatening storms in the Midwest have strengthened my resolve to take life by the horns and move full steam ahead toward my dreams. I definitely don’t mean to trivialize the tragedy of the situation, particularly in Iowa where four young men recently lost their lives and countless others are struggling against flood waters. My condolences go out to the people affected by these tragedies.
I just mean that none of us have any idea what tomorrow will bring, so we should be making every day count.
Why spend days, months, even years at a JOB you hate? Every moment that you spend in misery is a moment that you could be truly enjoying your life and your career. Seriously, take a moment to stop and think about your reasons for maintaining employee status. Financial security? Fear of failing in your own business? Of course, those are valid concerns, and I’m not trying to encourage people to throw caution to the wind and quit your day JOB before you’re able to handle the risks of self-employment. I’m just hoping to start a fire under you in case fear is holding you back from your dreams.
For me, it’s been a fear of losing the steady paycheck that comes with a full-time JOB. But after facing the jarring after-effects of suddenly losing my JOB a few years ago when my employer declared bankruptcy, I realized that nothing in this world is a sure thing. Think of it this way: Would you rather have one source of income that you could lose all at once (a strong possibility if you have a full-time JOB, especially in today’s risky economic situation) or multiple streams of income padding your bank account? If you’re working for yourself and have, let’s say, ten clients, what are the odds that they will all fire you at the same time? Slim to none. So while you may think that owning your own business is risky, it’s actually a safer bet than a full-time JOB these days. Besides, when you’re working for yourself, you’re in control of your destiny. You take charge of how hard you work to gain (and keep) new clients. When you’re working for someone else, you’re at their mercy; if your employer can’t handle his/her business well enough to stay afloat, you could easily find yourself in the unemployment line.
June 17, 2008
I did it – I liberated myself from my JOB! I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning and decided that enough was enough. I don’t think I can take another month of working 14-hour days (10 hours at the JOB, including commute, and 3-4 hours on my businesses at night). Not only am I (mentally) exhausted, I am sick and tired of spending my entire day either away from home at my JOB or holed in my home office, working away while my heart longs to be downstairs with my husband and infant daughter. I missed her first giggle the other day while I was at my JOB. That about ripped my heart out!
I realized the other day that I would only need to work 17 hours/week in my business to replace my full-time income that’s currently eating up 50 hours of my time every week. That was a bit of an eye-opener to me! Imagine the possiblities – I can either keep my hours low and my salary stable or I can work more and greatly increase my earning potential. And the best part? The choice is entirely up to me. I don’t have to check in with a “boss” if I want to work fewer hours one week and double my workload the next.
But I digress. Back to the original topic: on Monday morning, I told my husband that I was going to talk to my boss. I was beyond nervous to break the news to her, but after her initial shock (her jaw actually dropped!), she was very supportive. Kept saying that I need to do what’s best for me and my family. Her reaction really helped to ease my guilt in leaving!
I gave her a three week notice so that my last day falls on July 3rd. How fitting, to be able to celebrate our nation’s freedom along with my own independence day! (Yep, I timed it that way!) July 3rd is also my grandma’s birthday, not to mention the day my husband proposed to me three years ago. You better believe I’ll be celebrating to the fullest that day!
It feels so amazing to vocalize my decision and set it in stone. The countdown is really on now – only 12 1/4 days left to freedom!
Image credit: j_jyarbrough
June 14, 2008
I have a sign hanging in my office that displays ten two-letter words to live by:
If it is to be, it is up to me!
I can’t stress how important that simple sentence is. Too often, we sit around complaining about our situation (lack of money, boredom in our career, etc.) but never make a conscious effort to make changes. Life-changing opportunities very rarely drop themselves into our laps – we have to seek them out. If you don’t take control of your future, who will?
June 13, 2008
If you’ve ever worked in a Monday-Friday office JOB, you’ve likely had a conversation with coworkers that goes something like this:
You: ‘Morning! How you doin’ today?
Coworker: Great! I’m so glad it’s Friday!
You: No kidding! Can’t wait for five o’clock. Got any plans for the weekend?
And so on and so forth. You can feel the excitement as people get ready for their two days of freedom. Then comes Monday morning, and your conversation might be like this:
You: How’s it going?
Coworker (shrugs): It’s Monday. How was your weekend?
You: Not long enough! But then, they never are!
Sound familiar? I go through similar conversations with my coworkers every single week. Happy when Friday comes, down in the dumps when Monday rolls around again.
I’ve gone through this same cycle time and time again myself, but I never gave it much thought until I was off on maternity leave for seven weeks recently and spending a lot of time working on my new business ventures. I was working a few hours per day, seven days per week, but it was on my schedule. And I was working on projects that I truly enjoy, like writing press releases, editing books, etc. Sure, there were a few little bothersome tasks that I had to take care of in my own business, like bookkeeping (so not my cup of tea!) But even still, I never dreaded work like I have in most of my full-time positions.
As an employee, Sundays are pretty much shot for me, because I typically spend the last half of the day rushing to get ready for the week, frantically throwing laundry into the wash and trying to take care of anything that I won’t be able to do once I’m spending ten hours per day at my JOB. I also spend the last few hours on Sunday dreading the early morning shrill of the alarm clock and the horrendous morning commute, fighting against other drivers who are all just as angry as I am at the prospect of spending the next 8+ hours in a dreary cubicle (especially on beautiful spring mornings…those are the worst!)
When I was on leave from my full-time JOB, as I mentioned above, I was still working about 20-30 hours per week. But I never once dreaded “going to work” (especially since my office was in my living room, the kitchen, the spare bedroom…wherever I felt like working!) I also started to really look forward to the Sunday dinners we usually share with family and friends, and I found that with my newfound self-employed freedom, my time wasn’t spent watching the clock and thinking about everything I needed to get done at home before the work week started. I was able to truly enjoy my free time. What a novel idea!
I finally realized that I was wasting countless hours first dreading the offensive task (aka my full-time JOB) and then actually completing the task, and I decided not to throw another minute of my life away.
You may not be ready to quit your JOB yet, but ask yourself if there’s something else that is sucking the joy out of your life. Are you muddling through a class that you thought would be worthwhile but turned out to be a waste of time? Maybe you’re reading a book that you really have no interest in but want the bragging rights to be able to say you read it (I’ve been there!) Identify things that you dread doing and, if possible, eliminate them from your schedule. Cut yourself a break from the guilt; you deserve all the happiness that life has to offer!
I would love to hear your motivations and inspiring thoughts on working for yourself versus slaving for someone else. Please share them here, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
June 12, 2008
I’m finding it increasingly harder to concentrate on the responsibilities of my full-time JOB. My heart and head are no longer here; they’re at home with my daughter and my businesses! I keep thinking about things I need to get done, which only leaves me frustrated that I’m wasting so many hours of my day at this JOB when I could be home building my businesses and, therefore, a better future for myself and my family.
I’m beginning to regret my decision to wait until the end of the month to put my notice in and wonder if I should reconsider…and then I think of what’s best for myself and my family, and I think a few more weeks of building my business will prove most beneficial in the long run. When negative feelings begin to overwhelm me, I try to take a step back from the situation and look at the big picture; in the grand scheme of things, what’s a few weeks?
I just have to keep telling myself that freedom will be here before I know it!
Are you a part-time entrepreneur too? Misery loves company…so please let me know that I’m not alone! I’d love to hear what you do in JOBland (aka your full-time JOB), what type of business you’re building (or thinking about starting) on the side, and how things are going. Please share!
June 11, 2008
I called in sick to my JOB yesterday. Woke up exhausted with a throbbing headache and sore throat. But did I get the rest I’m sure my body needs? Nope. I was busy working on projects for two new clients (just landed one this week – yay!)
The funny thing is that working on my business doesn’t feel like work, so I don’t mind putting the time in, even if I am a bit under the weather. The best part is that I’m able to feed my two-month-old daughter when she gets hungry and can take mini-breaks to shower her with kisses or watch her sleeping. I can hardly wait to be home with her full-time!
The countdown begins: T-minus 21 1/2 working days. That’s a total of 172 working hours…but who’s counting?
June 10, 2008
All throughout my working life, I’ve felt like something was missing in my career. Each of my full-time positions was full of what I term “busy work”: filing, data entry, etc. etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with those tasks, mind you, it’s just that my degree is in English, so I prefer tasks that require more creativity, like writing and editing. Unfortunately, creative jobs in my city are few and far between, and the competition is fierce. To top it off, employers filling those type of positions are always looking for experience. It’s the old catch-22: gotta have experience to get a job, but gotta have a job to get experience! So I toiled away in administrative jobs, wishing and hoping that I could be doing something that I enjoyed.
The busy work that kept landing on my desk was slowly wearing me down and getting me more and more frustrated with my situation; I was completely, 100% bored with my career. My work wasn’t challenging enough, and, crazy as it may sound, I actually felt myself growing duller, as if my creativity was seeping away. I went through a period of job-hopping in the hopes that a new employer and new responsibilities would add excitement and/or fulfillment to my life, but it just wasn’t happening.
I finally came to the realization that I could work for myself and offer the services that I enjoy and excel in to those who need my help. It’s a win-win situation! As I looked into becoming an entrepreneur, I realized that owning my own business could potentially offer everything that had been missing from my career: challenging work, freedom, flexibility, financial stability. It hit me that part of my dismay all those years had been due to the fact that I was working for others. I realized that I hated being required to complete “grunt work” tasks that my superiors (what a term, anyway! what makes them superior to me?) didn’t want to do and thus handed off to me. I also hated being tied down to a rigid schedule: come in at 8 a.m., go to lunch at noon, head home at 5 p.m. What if my prime time is late evening? What if I want to get up at 8 a.m., start working at 10 a.m., and work until 6 or 7 p.m. before calling it a day? What if I wanted to take a break from 1-2 p.m. to workout, spend time with my family, or run errands? My schedule as an employee never allowed for such flexibility. Let’s not forget the whole paycheck-to-paycheck thing that also comes when you’re living in JOBland. (For those who don’t know, my definition of JOB is Just Over Broke.) I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not being paid what I’m worth as an employee. To make matters worse, I happen to know for a fact that my employer charges their clients an hourly rate at least 6 times higher (and sometimes more) than they pay me for work on that client’s account. You may have heard that employers can expect to pay out roughly twice as much as an employee’s hourly rate when you factor in health insurance and other benefits. What I want to know is, who gets the rest of the money that my employer is charging clients for my work? But I digress. Moving on with the rest of my story…
When I found out last August that my husband and I were expecting our first child, I decided once and for all that it was time to quit my day JOB and build my own business that would give me greater potential for flexible scheduling and financial stability. Within a few months, I had started two small companies. One business, called The Write Associate (www.writeassociate.com), offers copywriting and editing services to small business owners with a particular focus on online marketing efforts, such as blogs, articles, and promotional e-books. Actually, writing and editing business books has become my specialty, and I’m beyond excited to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses with the help of e-book marketing. My other business, The Dragonfly Press (www.thedragonflypress.com), was started with the help of two partners, my sister and a close childhood friend. Our specialty is publishing personalized keepsake books.
By the end of the year, I’d discovered the Virtual Assistant industry, joined http://www.VirtualAssistantForums.com, and started researching all things business-related. Keeping track of all this while working a full-time JOB and making my way through my first pregnancy was a little tough, to say the least. This past year has definitely been a busy time in my life! I’ve spent countless hours reading and researching, honing and perfecting my businesses.
My plans were to build my businesses enough that I wouldn’t have to return to work from my maternity leave, but unfortunately those plans weren’t quite realized. I went back to work on May 27th and hated every minute of my time away from my daughter and my new businesses. After a week of misery, I told my husband that I’d had enough; I was ready to quit my JOB and take a leap of faith into my business venture. Thankfully, he was behind me 100%, and I was absolutely exhilarated by my decision. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and now that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, going off to work was somewhat tolerable. Within days of my decision, I’d landed my first regular, ongoing client. I also had other work coming in that was not quite so steady but was keeping me busy nonetheless. After six months of hard work spent building my businesses with few noticeable results, I was finally feeling the beginnings of business success!
Although I made my decision two weeks ago, I decided to wait until the end of this month to officially give my two-week notice, which would put my last day of full-time employment at July 11. Please join me through these last five weeks of excitement as I transition from full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur. I can’t wait to relay my joys and frustrations, in addition to sharing motivational and inspirational thoughts and quotes to help others in the same boat stay the course on the difficult path of building a business while holding down a full-time JOB. I’m sure the end results will be well worth the initial sacrifice!
Do you have your own tale of building a business part-time while holding down a full-time JOB? I’d love to hear it – please share here or email me at email@example.com.