Since high school I have dreamed of being self-employed. Back then I liked the idea of being my own boss and sleeping in as often as I wanted. But the older I became, the more I realized being your own boss comes with a lot of responsibility. It's not always easy and accommodating, but more often than not it requires a large amount of discipline. Discipline to work even when you don't necessarily feel like it.
When deciding to leave my full-time position I had to weigh all the odds, create a pros and cons list and prioritize all aspects of my life.
For many people, being self-employed means they no longer have to answer to their terrible boss or go to a job they really don't enjoy.
But for me it wasn't about that. For me, it came down to one really simple yet important thing—Freedom.
Yes, Freedom means being your own boss and making your own hours, but it goes much deeper than that. I like to think of it in a few different ways:
Freedom to work from anywhere
I am a homebody. I could stay home for several days without leaving and be completely content, so being able to work from home is like a dream come true for this introvert. I typically work from my desk, but I also have the freedom to curl up with a blanket on my couch if I so choose. I've been trying to check out local coffee shops periodically too, because a change of scenery can often spark creativity.
If I want to travel I have the ability to take my work on the road. I can work from the beach or a cabin in the middle of nowhere. I love knowing that's a possibility.
Freedom of flexibility + time
My husband, Jordan, is also self-employed. Now that we both create our own schedules I'm able to spend much more time with him, which has been such a blessing for our marriage. He's easily my favorite office mate even though it can sometimes be challenging to stay focused with him sitting next to me!
One thing that was really important to me when starting my business was to be more intentional with friendships. I wasn't able to meet friends for lunch as often as I would have liked to before going solo.
Working in an office, I rarely made time for lunch breaks.
And even when I did find time, I only had an hour, which meant I couldn't go too far. I love that I can now rearrange my schedule in order to meet with people regularly. I'm not restricted to my specific neighborhood and if I need longer than an hour my boss is pretty understanding. :)
Another aspect of having freedom is with vacation time. I no longer have 10 or 12 days a year, but can take vacation at my own discretion. Now keep in mind when I'm not working I'm not bringing in any money, so there is always a give and take.
Freedom to serve
The most important thing for me was this: Service.
Jordan and I are very involved with our church (shoutout Waterfront Church DC). We volunteer with our youth group each week and because of my flexible schedule, I was able to attend youth camp last week as a camp counselor.
My new schedule also allows me to spend more time in The Word and with the Lord each day. This has certainly increased my quality of life and I can see a difference in my attitude because of it.
If someone in our church or community is in need, I now have the flexibility to be there for them. I can meet them for lunch or coffee if they could use a listening ear, or help with whatever else they may need.
I hope to be an encouragement to others and be someone they can count and rely on. It's much easier to do that when I'm not bound by a particular schedule.
Of course, all these things require balance because if I'm not working I'm not getting paid.
I always have to evaluate the cost—Is my time away from my desk worth the loss of work or money? If it's being spent helping others or encouraging fellow believers, it is absolutely worth it for me.
But that doesn't always mean I work less hours, it simply means I rearrange my day and may end up working at 10 or 11pm if necessary.
In Mark chapter 8 Jesus says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" I try to live my life and run my business based on this principle. All the money and success can't buy happiness and it certainly doesn't serve others if you aren't intentional with what you have.
I hope this gives you a peek into the heart behind my business and serves as an encouragement to those of you who are in similar situations. You must always evaluate and prioritize what's most important to you.
What is your #1 reason for being self-employed?
Or what is your main hang up for not taking the leap?