June 10, 2008
My journey from full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur
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.