Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Risk Pays Off


Name a time when a risk you took paid off

This April will officially mark 3 years since I launched my self-employment business 3 Squares Business Solutions. The dream had been a long time in the making and although I had dabbled in various writing and assistant "gigs" previously, April 8th 2010 was when I officially bit the bullet, whipped out my credit card, and purchased my very first webspace. I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea what the future would have in store for me; all I knew was that I had a lot to learn and a lot of work to do!

At the time, I was still employed full time as an office director within a medium sized company. A job which, at times, caused me to feel extremely overworked, highly stressed and very out-of-balance with the person I thought I was. 

For me, the motivation to become self-employed was 3 fold:

1. To Build Something For Myself: I am the type of person who takes a responsibility and runs with it. If you put me in an unorganized kitchen to bake a cake, I'd end up spending any downtime organizing it. In retail, when there were lulls of no customers, you'd find me refolding sweaters or straightening racks. It's not because I feel that I'm supposed to, it's because I like to be productive. I actually got told I wasn't needed anymore while helping out at another retail store, because I didn't stand around and socialize with everyone else. However, as I've learned from adult experience (and my short retail stint at Bootlegger), this type of personality can be both a blessing and a curse. After pouring 4.5 years of blood, sweat and mental exhaustion into my then-employer, I woke up one day and realized how little I had actually accomplished for myself. If only I was able to harness all of that drive that I had for someone else's company, and focus it towards my own. 

2. To Help Reduce a Large Tax Bill: Due to an HR error made on my payroll account, which occurred near the beginning of the year and was only discovered near the end, I was left with a very large tax bill to pay in 2009. Essentially, it was discovered that somehow my employee account was set up with the highest deduction status instead of the lowest. As a bit of an explanation of what this means, I would have had to had a ton of children, single parent status, a few adoptive kids, taking care of an elderly individual, had alimony payments, on disability etc etc. Since I was NONE of those things, the income tax deductions were severely lower than what I should have been paying. After doing my taxes in 2010, I nearly suffered a full blown mental breakdown. If there was ever a time to start a business where my expenses may exceed my income in the first year, this was the time to do it. 

3. To Get My Well-Being Back: As each stress-ridden day passed, I was sure I could actually feel myself slipping away. I remember the person I was during the beginning of that stage of my life fondly. I had just finished almost a full year of laying on the grass, patio and coach soul searching through every avenue possible. I meditated, I wrote, I kept a gratitude journal AND an art journal. My head was clear, my convictions strong and both my soul and my body were well nourished. Fast forward a few years, and suddenly I found myself beaten down and uninspired. It got to the point where my self-worth WAS dependent on my paycheque. I listened to my others talk about how you couldn't retire at 50 if you spend a year travelling, pursuing writing or anything else humbling or creative for that matter (and therefore all of those things became a waste of time). And after a while I started to believe it too. 

In order to get back to the person I wanted to be, I knew I needed a change. I needed something that would allow for flexibility, for times away, for travel and for growth. I knew I couldn't be the best Shannon Beth I could be while confined to the restrictions of a 9-5 box. 

It's now (almost) 3 years later, and although it hasn't been an easy road by any means, I'm so thankful that I took the risk that I did. In March of 2011, I gave my employer 3 weeks notice and prepared myself to take the leap into full on self-employment. Coincidentally, my last day at my regular, consistently paying job was April 8th - which I didn't realize was exactly 1 year from my "official" start date until I renewed by webspace account. 

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This month, I'm taking part in the Monthly NaBloPoMo Challenge, hosted byBlogHer. See all my March posts on Risk here. To find more blogs that are participating, please click here


  1. I take hope from this story, and good for you!! What a brave and healthy risk. Reason #3 especially resonnated with me. Keep up the good work!

  2. Awesome post! I keep a gratitude journal to keep me focused on the good in my life as it was easy at times to focus on the sad time and stress. I blog for my happiness and enjoyment, and it was something that I wanted "just for me". My job is to pay the bills, but my blog is to share my passion for crafting, and meet fun people along the journey. Thanks for sharing your story! Very inspiring!


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