People often give me grief and ask me why I left the corporate world and big organizations to start my own business. From my perspective, I find it all rather amusing in that there remains a culture in the U.S. that these big organizations will take care of you and that they are the only powerful bodies in our economic future…Therefore, we should be thankful, loyal and always return to the “MOTHER SHIP”. I disagree. Should everyone quit their jobs and start a business? NO. But, what would it be like if everyone should realize that they have choices? What if people made those choices consciously and not out of fear or by default? It makes me sad to hear questions from that narrow dependent perspective.
- “Aren’t you worried about the economy out there on your own?”
- “Doesn’t working from your home office seem lonely, or don’t you get distracted working from home?”
- “Wow, you must be getting some big checks now that you are a business owner?”
First the economy question, “Aren’t you worried about the economy out there on your own?” This one is almost humorous to me. First of all, big companies with big money can make big mistakes. The Enron fiasco should have taught us all that years ago. Enron’s collapse 2001 continues to affect the lives of thousands of former employees in the form of pension, access to health care insurance and loss of livelihood over 10 years later. The death of Enron, was a perfect demonstration of how a large lucrative corporation can disappear overnight and become the subject of law suits, fodder for long term economic case studies of “WHAT NOT TO DO” by major universities throughout the world, and impetus for new accounting regulatory laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which tightened disclosure and increased the penalties for financial manipulation.
Okay, so that is an extreme example, but my point is that I am creating my own economy or economic system. I have a PRODUCT, career coaching which I excel at and enjoy. There is a DEMAND and CUSTOMERS, i.e. people who want better careers, jobs that satisfy, financially support or fit their personal lives better and pay me for the coaching that gets them there. In my business there is a balance of CREDIT and DEBIT– People pay me for my career coaching services; I then pay bills, taxes, my employees and myself. That is my economic system, the one that works for me. It may not work for you, but I am enjoying it and I encourage my clients to negotiate more of what they love, enjoy and value into their work life all the time. Through coaching I see clients get more money, more free time and better job opportunities within future and current companies all the time. You’ve got to love that!
“Doesn’t working from your home office seem lonely, or don’t you get distracted working from home?” Yes, I have my quiet stretches where I have little need to interact with the outside world, but I have choices related to those times. I often choose to work on my back porch, go to a book store with free WI-FI or use that time to write like I am doing now. Besides, having a hosted a booth at the Texas Conference for Women that was visited by over 160 incredible women in less than 8 hours earlier in the week, I need some quiet time. So, no I am not lonely, because I choose to use the quiet times to my advantage. You can also learn to leverage of quiet times in your J-O-B. Have you ever thought of that?
As far as distractions, yes I get distracted. The dogs bark, the doorbell rings, kids come home from school, my husband, who also works from home, is laughing on the phone with his favorite customer…I have learned to manage that, carve out some quiet space for myself both in the house and on the calendar. Also, some of my interruptions are priceless, a great grade on a test that just can’t wait to be shared, a smile from my husband over a bowl of soup at lunch or a hilarious scene of my very small dogs chasing even smaller, faster and more clever squirrels. I cherish those distractions! What if through coaching you could find the gifts in those blips in the norm at your work?
Then, the last question I will address today about the “big checks” I get as a business owner. People who ask this question typically have never been in business and seen all the checks going out on fees related to filing your business name, taxes for owning a business, employer taxes, marketing expenses etc.
Those checks going out can be daunting and just scare the britches right off you. There has to be money coming in for a business to survive, but I am not a career coach because of the big checks, although those are nice. I love the check that comes to me after I have had the opportunity to help a client make a career decision that improves his/her life. Those checks, no matter the size, signify that I have that I have connected with another human being, improved how they spend their time at work. You know W-O-R-K, that place where we spend more time than we spend with our families, our friends, on vacation, in church or temple, or even asleep.
I love career coaching and how I make my client’s lives better and on really great days, I get a check like this one in a Dr. Seuss card covered in glitter. Inside the card there is a check, but more importantly tucked inside is a hand-written note from my client about the difference I made for him. It just isn’t about the money. It is about the work that I enjoy and the difference I enjoy making in people and the world.
That difference is something I couldn’t do in corporate where I was told that I had too much imagination, was too loud and too much of a Texas accent?
Making a difference for people and their relationship with the work they do, that is why I left corporate world! I love what I do, and I want other people to love what they do, too.
So, I say: TAKE THIS JOB AND LOVE IT!