A friend of mine, a fellow writer by the name of Kathe Lieber, wrote a Facebook post this morning that nestled its way right into my self-employed heart. To paraphrase, she wrote that it was thirty years ago today that she left her steady job to “try out” freelancing and that she’s still “riding the rollercoaster.” I love this. I love that she has had the tenacity and endurance and courage and TALENT to keep at self-employment for three decades (and that she knows the anniversary date!).
Especially, I love her honesty in saying it’s still hard. There are still ups and downs – sometimes elating and sometimes harrowing.
Where you are right now, dear entrepreneur, whether in a high or a low… it’s all okay. It wouldn’t be a rollercoaster otherwise. You have permission to be in a dip and not feel stuck there. Dips are part of building momentum too, even if they don’t feel that way at the time. You, dear business owner, have made of your life a certain amusement park. That’s going to feel weird sometimes.
Another dear entrepreneurial friend confided last week that he was afraid I’d be disappointed in him when I found out he was interviewing for a salaried job. He also described his business as a “failure” as in its first 18 months, it hadn’t been able to support him. Please, everyone, know this: taking the leap into self-employment is the success. THAT is the mark of bravery and uncommon faith. That is what I will applaud every chance. Where it goes from there is in so many ways, to me, irrelevant.
But here is the other piece that really needs mentioning: most businesses don’t sustain their owners comfortably until five years in. Not having a mansion and regular tropical holidays (or just the bills paid on time) at year two isn’t failure; it’s normal. It’s part of the process. It’s one of the dips.
You know what else isn’t failure? Choosing to do something different, leaving a business and taking a job with a paycheque. My buddy thrives when surrounded by other people and the energy of that. He shouldn’t be working from home. That would be such a loss for all his future co-workers.. what a gift he will be to them. There is no shame in deciding life would be more comfortable with predictable income. You know best how to nurture your spirit and how to nurture your family. And you can do your Great Work at your kitchen table or in someone else’s boardroom just as gracefully. This I know for sure.
So as I sit here at my antique desk, sharing my seat with a sleeping cat, I’m so grateful to Kathe and to my unnamed buddy because I’m full up with admiration for them. They are both way-finders, and that is what the world needs. Their examples are blessings in my life. Thank you to you both for your creative, courageous spirits.
Writer Carrie Klassen is a green tea enthusiast, author-in-progress, fine point pen aficionado, INFJ Scorpio, and chief creatrix at Pink Elephant Creative, a website writing and design boutique for inspired entrepreneurs. She also writes workbooks and teaches workshops at Pink Elephant Academy for Entrepreneurs.