Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women on Business writer
If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve probably experienced the look of envy on the faces of people in the corporate workforce when they find out you run your own business. They are likely thinking things like “wow, if it’s a beautiful day, you can just take the afternoon off” or “you’re so lucky you don’t have to put up with that annoying Division head.” And yes, there are many benefits to “being your own boss.”
My career began in the corporate world. After a number of years of climbing (and slipping on) the corporate ladder, I followed my entrepreneurial husband into his year-old marketing consulting business. This family “merger” was due to a set of circumstances – not a plan. In fact, though I had been happily ensconced in my corporate job, fate intervened during an economic downturn (no, not the most recent one) and presented a great opportunity for the company I was with at the time to become my client. I quickly found another client and never looked back.
It’s been a constant learning experience, with moments of great triumph and many disappointments too. For all the positive aspects that have made women start up their own small businesses in droves – independence, flexibility, creating your own vision – there are also many downsides. Juggling to deliver your goods and services while maintaining sales, that feeling of not having a ‘big stage’ anymore, dealing financial realities like taxes and healthcare that you’d never thought about, realizing that if you take a vacation, it’s going to be without pay… But, when I realized recently that we were entering our twentieth (really!) year of business, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of satisfaction.
We have managed to sustain a successful business amidst all the twists and turns of both the economy and the business of marketing. Though there are no formal celebrations – it’s not like getting a promotion at a large company, for example – we have done good (maybe even fantastic at times) work for great clients year after year. And the work is challenging and ever-changing as clients and projects change. Still, I admit a twinge of envy when my friend mentions her all expenses paid conference in Palm Beach.
All in all though, to coin an old Judy Collins song, ‘I’ve looked at business from both sides now’… and I’d say that, for me, each came at the right time in my life. I’ve truly enjoyed, and learned from both sets of experiences.
What do you think? Please share!