It may come up in normal networking conversation or it comes up from a friend who is burnt out and frustrated with their work. At some point though the question arises, “What do you like best about being self-employed?”
This question always brings a smile to my face.
At first, I thought the answer was freedom. But I quickly realized that freedom was too general an answer for me. If you’ve read Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Work Week, you quickly pick-up that freedom for him is to be able to work anywhere in the world he chooses. For some other entrepreneurs I know freedom is the ability to create and build a business without limitations or restrictions from a boss or other hierarchy.
So what did freedom mean to me?
And what does freedom mean to you?
If you have ever thought of starting your own business or being self-employed, I really encourage you to put some serious thought into why. What do you want that you can’t have in your current situation?
For me, freedom meant flexibility. I was in charge of my schedule. I was able to decide when I wanted to work, whom I worked with, and what work I took on.
You may be thinking “Sure, that sounds great Megan, but what does that really mean?”
Let me give you an honest glimpse into a couple “days in the life” and show you what flexibility means to me.
This past Thursday, after I got my kids off to school, I grabbed a cup of coffee and reviewed my list of activities to focus on for the day:
– Finalize my QuickBooks for my end-of-year meeting with my accountant
– Finish 2 proposals for prospects
– Go for a 3-mile run
– Touch base with Sara (the other awesome consultant in my firm) about a client engagement she is on
– Get caught-up on laundry after traveling the entire previous week.
I was just two hours into my day when I got a call from the school nurse. My 7 y.o. son was in her office with a headache and I could either bring him some Ibuprofen or she could send him home. Since we live close to the school I was able to run the medicine over to him so he could get back to class. Imagine my surprise when less than an hour later the nurse called me again telling me his eyes were all red and swollen and he had to go home!
After picking him up, I was able to get him an appointment with our doctor’s office for that afternoon. In the meantime, I got to hang out with him while folding laundry and watching Chopped. After the doctor confirmed he simply had allergy eyes and not pink eye, we arrived home in time to get my daughter off the bus. The remainder of the day was spent picking up eye drops from the grocery store ($60 for prescription eye drops! No, thank-you), Running through the parking lot in a mini-hurricane, Whipping up something for dinner, and patiently – oh so patiently – helping my 6 y.o. daughter created and paint her ballerina “funkin.” (You can see her creation over on our Facebook page.)
In summary, I accomplished very little that I had set out to do. However, I was there for my very most important clients – my family.
Contrast Thursday with Friday, when I had an hour and a half conference call, followed by a flurry of emails, a lunch meeting, then I wrapped up the day with some work for a class I’m teaching at a local university. After getting my kids off the bus, they played with their friends and I relaxed on our deck.
If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know there are some weeks when I may be gone for three, four, or five days at a time. Yet, it’s this concept of flexibility that I love about self-employment. If I am gone for a week, I can choose to limit my meetings for the following week. Another perk, I take off at least three weeks around Christmas.
Now, I know I don’t always get it right, but having this kind of flexibility has definitely ruined me for employment!
What about you? Why do you want to be self-employed?