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.