When people find out that I’m an entrepreneur, their first response is… “Wow, that’s cool. That must be [enter a superlative that ranges from awesome, freedom, cool, scary, ridiculous, and so on].” And while being your own boss can be all of those things, one of the biggest lessons that I have learned along the way, is that it is not… easy. I do not the work/life balance that you are dreaming of entrepreneurship to hold; I am not sitting on the beach working (despite what my Instagram photo may have said last week), and I am not rolling in money (but wouldn’t that be nice?).
I have moments of all of those things, but what people forget to tell you (or we gloss over it when we’re heading towards our goal), is that entrepreneurship feels different than the perception of it.
I will write about my first day of freedom in detail at some point down the road, but it still seems too new and fresh to dive into so soon in my journey. But my overall feeling of being a solopreneur, is constant. It surrounds me every minute of the day – something that a traditional corporate job never did.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thought is my checklist in my brain of all of the things I am going to do that day, interlaced with the “life things” I need to get done. And of course I have a self-created layer of angst over where I am going to work my during my “morning session.” Once I have everything figured out in my head, I start my day with a quick check with email then head to my first “work station.” And so my day begins…
It is interspersed with email, being on the site, answering questions/comments on guest posts, attempting social media, and freaking out. Yep, freaking out – I have at least one moment of panic each day, usually about the same theme, although the actual panic situation differs. Mostly it is about: where is my next client coming from, and how I am going to pay my bills. And I would like to point out, that this crosses my mind even when I’m having a great client-generating or income day. Which for me, is insane – this is not a thought or idea that I had really ever thought about in my life prior to going solo.
The panic usually passes quickly and then I get right back to work. But “work” as a definition has also taken on a new meaning. I am no longer tracking towards meeting the company’s objectives, taking guidance and direction from a more senior employee, or having a list of projects and deliverables that I need to work on. Instead, the word work has turned into something… more. It’s about how many people I am going to reach out, responding to the people that have reached out to me, helping others figure out this “HR stuff,” fitting in some time to blog, even more time to write books, and also doing “life stuff.”
But more than anything, the word work these days means pushing boundaries and being uncomfortable (for about 50% of the time). It is the weight and knowledge of being responsible for generating everything – the people, the ideas, the execution, and the quality. It’s about putting yourself out there because you believe in something, and being ok when it doesn’t go 100% as planned. It’s about… letting go of control (I know, right?).
Work as an entrepreneur is not about sitting down and getting stuff done. It’s constant, it’s who you become, it’s the constant thought process around making you and your business better, it’s about finding and reaching new people, and it’s about pushing yourself harder and further than you ever imagined possible. All without leaving your home – crazy, right?