For me the answer is clear. Well, at least most days.
I was never supposed to become an entrepreneur. When I was at the finish line of my studies and landed my first real job, I was so relieved – my nightmare was to end up being an unwilling entrepreneur constantly running after new clients and projects, making pennies and feeling miserable.
On the job, I was lucky to have the opportunity to acquire new responsibilities regularly. But from time to time I felt bored. I felt like I couldn’t combine all my passions when working for one carefully branded project at a time. I had an eye on freelancer budgets and sometimes adding up those numbers and comparing them to my work speed and monthly salary, I ended up asking myself ‘would I actually make more money as an independent?’
I am not saying that freelancing is a goldmine. However, what motivates me, is to know that if I work more, I make more. Or the other way around: if I choose to work less, I must be ready to cut down the expenses. I feel like I’m in control.
So, financially the answer is inconclusive. From another aspect, is being one’s own boss a step up or a step down?
UP ↑ I have complete control over my time
For a working mom this is such a big plus that it’s immeasurable. I still feel guilty over my daughter spending overly long days at the daycare, but at least it is up to me to go get her home a little earlier or later. I can continue working in the evening – and it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice but a smart time-management move. I can work from whenever I want (but I must pay attention to also have proper breaks).
UP ↑ I can become whatever I want
The biggest advantage for me is the possibility that I can take my career in whichever direction I choose. I can grow to my capacity, set my own goals and make my own decisions. And I don’t have to stop there. I don’t have to negotiate with anyone outside myself and my family.
UP ↑ I’ve learned not to be afraid of changes
As an independant, I work all the time with several different customers. Some new ones come, some old ones go. There are big and small projects, and intermittent gigs. It stresses me, some days more than the others, but I’m never really scared of losing my job. I just had a friend who almost lost her job. It was an awful moment for her, to wait for that earthquake which feels like it’s rocking her entire world. For me, it’s never like that. It’s like living in a country where small earthquakes (tremors if you will) are a part of everyday life so that you learn to adapt quickly, and it can be less stressful than waiting for one huge tsunami to come and ruin your life.
DOWN ↓ I have to pick up my own coffee, open my letters and buy my office supplies
Well, you can’t have everything, can you? For me, the ideal solution has been to work in a co-working space where some of that stuff has been taken care of.
DOWN ↓ No corporate retreats, health benefits or raises
If I want to leave for a retreat or offer myself a gym membership benefit, I know whose credit card bill that is going to show up on. But I also like it in a way. I don’t like myself boxed into a fixed role of a company. Too quickly I start to think that I am entitled to different things: raises, benefits, holidays. When I work for myself, it’s very clear: if I want that extra week of holiday, I must arrange and finance it myself. If I want to add a gym membership benefit, I must use my very own credit card to pay for that.
DOWN ↓ It’s all in my hands
This is definitely a double edge sword. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to hold all the strings in my hands at the same time. I get to make every decision, but I’ve also got no one to make them for me. Here I get help from a few strategic tools I’m going to tell you more about very soon.
Still, the scale is very much on the positive side for me. Maybe also, because I clearly realise that it was a choice. It was never evident or acquired but I very much made it happen by myself. It scared me – it still does! Being an entrepreneur means navigating through that fear every day.
How do you other ‘mompreneurs’ navigate with that fear?