Everybody has some person, place, thing or idea that when other people see it they immediately think of you. For some people their thing is donuts, guacamole or even squirrels (I know exactly who each makes me think of). I happen to have two things: fresh flowers and Shark Tank. These are no small obsessions. You will always find a bouquet or 5 somewhere in my house. And if I sit down to watch TV it is to catch up on Shark Tank!!
A couple weeks ago the photo below was circulating on social media. As a small business owner and entrepreneur I definitely resonated with the message. Some people just don’t understand why I work so hard when I could be back in my cube being a pixel monkey making a decent living.
Why did I give it all up to do this? Why do I deviate from that predictable 9-5 schedule? For some of you, unfortunately no matter how hard I try to explain, you just will never get it. But for some of you this will speak to you, either because you already are living an entrepreneurial lifestyle, or this is what your heart yearns to do.
But before I dig into why I left a steady job to run Think Creative, I had to do a little investigative research. I found where the original photo came from, and was pleasantly pleased to find an interview from the cast of Shark Tank back in 2012. Sure its an old article, but this Shark Tank Q & A still rings true and is extremely entertaining!
1. This is the LIFE I have Always Wanted
When I was a kid my mom stayed home and shuttled us to school and every sports practice we could dream up. I don’t have kids at this point, but I so value all the moments I got to share with my mom as a direct result of her being around more.
Who says you can’t be a business woman who happens to just work from home?
2. Freedom to be Myself
I have always tried to fit in, maybe a little more than I probably should have. I tried to dress a certain way, listen to the right kind of music, date the right kind of guys. At some point I stopped trying to be everyone else and I started to be myself. I married a man who could care less about sports, but ironically designs sports stadiums for the fan experience. I rock red lipstick and colorful tennis shoes. I sing in the shower. I dance in my pajamas. And care way too much about people!
3. Create my Own Schedule
Let’s face it, no two days are the same! So why force yourself to be a certain way when you aren’t. I would spend days working as diligently as I could to push out new designs and get stuff marked off the list. Unfortunately I can’t always predict when I will be creative and produce my best work. Sometimes it is 2 p.m. in the afternoon and sometimes it is 4 a.m. in the morning. By owning my own business I have the freedom to be flexible to if, when and how much I work.
4. Work How I Want to Work
I can get a little messy. Like a lot a bit messy. At a typical job I had to force myself to work with in the confines of my cubical or my floating desk. But that space was tiny and I was often in an environment where I was surrounded by few creative people. I love to get out a drawing board, sketch out an idea, take a million photos, write notes and more notes. I have 5 sticky notes going and that is my paired down version after rewriting them nearly once a day. At home I have the freedom to spread out…. Or have it as tidy and quiet as I want, besides the occasional Beagle howl.
5. More Effort, More Payoff
Working harder never used to give me a bigger payoff. Sure I would get a pat on the back from my boss and props from coworkers, but it wasn’t worth anything other than good karma. Now, the harder I work the more payoff I get back. What you put out there really comes full circle! I have so enjoyed the opportunity to do so many cool things since starting my own company:
- Like writing for the Silicon Prairie News
- Getting my Infographic picked up on Creative Market
- Being talked about by other bloggers – have you seen the As Seen In section on the About Page?
- And Meeting so many AMAZING people
6. Meet Amazing People
The amazing people thing is really more than I could have ever imagined. Sure I used to go to networking events and meet a couple people I found interesting. I now have the opportunity to chat and make new connections with people EVERYDAY. And they all do so many incredible and fun things like:
- Own a French Macaroon Food Truck
- Run a Boutique Cosmetic Company in the UK
- Photographers of every expertise
- I think I may have an OBSESSION with Wedding Planners!!
- Skateboard Painter
- Custom Stamper
- Etsy Extraordinaires
- Eco-Friendly Fashion Experts
And that really is just to name a few.
7. Make WORLD WIDE Connections
The AMAZING people extend far beyond just a 20 mile radius from my house. I have had the opportunity to chat with people all over the world. Last week I spoke with another marketing coach specializing in organizational development out in California. And Germany was just a Skype call away when I did a consultation last Friday with a very talented lady who happens to be fluent in 4 languages and has resided in 5 countries. I mean really, this doesn’t just happen!
8. I would be Bored Otherwise
I recently was chatting with my husband and he asked me why I didn’t just take a little pay cut and not work my bum off all the time. Guttural reaction, I blurted out, “Because I would be bored!” My husband laughed and shook his head. He knew I was right!
9. Obsessed is an Understatement
Sometimes I wish I could put it all away at night, flip a switch and not think about my business. But really, I am ok with this being my obsession. I get to light a fire in people. I get to watch their untapped potential turn into a business that thrives. I get to make people happy. This isn’t just a business to me. It is a relationship with real people. It is a connection that is closer than I ever had the opportunity to create in my former “real-job” lifestyle.
10. So I Want to Change the World
I think ever Entrepreneur is a little manic! And generally they all want to change the world in one way or another. So it really isn’t shocking that I too want to change the world. If I can help a business thrive because they have a passion to succeed rather than a pocket book full of marketing dollars then it is game on. People still have to make an investment. Yet they spend a fraction of what they would at any advertising agency. I get the opportunity to touch people and see real changes being made in businesses, organizations, non-profits and churches.
11. My Life is My Business
Everyone is always trying to strike a balance, but if your life is your business and vise versa why does it matter so much. As life throws you curve balls you can adjust. Sometimes that means late nights working to have long weekends off. I personally have found Work/Life Balance is Crap!
12. I do What I Love
It may be cliché, but if you do what you love then you won’t work a day in your life. I LOVE working with people to create a business that they love that also fits into the lifestyle they want. Life is too closely tied to business to be dismissed as a different part. To know what changes you need to make in your business you have to know how you want to live. Right now my business is full throttle, but I am in control and now I can slow down whenever I need to and as life demands.
13. Cheerleaders from Heaven
I avoid getting too much into the personal side of things, but I think it is important that you know. I don’t just do business because it is something I want, but because of my cheering section. I have a fine crew right here at home, but I also know I have a rather loud counterpart up in heaven. My grandmother was a huge part of my life and continues to be despite her passing. She was a gifted artist with a mind for business in a time where it was extremely uncommon for women to work. She serves as a constant inspiration and will continue to guide and inspire my work and life. She was a special lady with a heart of gold who always told it exactly how it was even if no one wanted to hear it!
What pushes you to do more, try harder and be better everyday? Why do you want to trade in your 9-5 for the entrepreneurial lifestyle?