In honor of Labor Day, I salute all those who are gainfully self-employed or are about to become solo-prenuers. Regardless of your specialty, you’ll find many challenges and joys to working on your own. The chief challenge is that “everyday you’re self-employed, you wake up unemployed.” The reality is SO not like a Field of Dreams! But this challenge is offset by the fact that I work for someone I respect. Seriously, if you ever worked for even one bad boss, you understand how empowering it is to work on your own.
The learning curve is long and provides many invaluable lessons as the market changes and your business evolves. Besides continually honing your expertise in whatever it is you offer in your solo practice, you also learn:
- the importance of being focused
- how to manage serving current customers/clients while also developing new business
- when and how to reach out to other professionals for help (e.g., bankers, accountants, lawyers, computer techs, marketers, business coaches, etc.)
- how to work with suppliers, printers, web-designers, search engine specialists, etc., as partners rather than vendors
- how to network and stay connected with other people to avoid feeling isolated.
I remember making the decision to start Quality Service Marketing in 1988 after extensive networking and contemplation. Leaving a secure workplace to work on my own was scary, but job security was relative as two of the last banks I worked for had been acquired by larger banks. Here are excerpts from notes I made when considering that momentous decision. In going solo I wanted:
- Less frustration in a corporate environment I was not happy with. (Reminder to self: Yes, it really was that bad!)
- More control over my career.
- More opportunity for greater achievement.
- More time and flexibility to be with my family.
I’m amazed I’ve been in business 26 years now as it certainly doesn’t seem that long — mostly because I love what I do helping clients better engage employees, volunteers, and customers through internal marketing. I’ve experienced highs and lows along the journey, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Happy Labor Day!