The Importance of Being …Entrepreneurial

In your daydream, everything seemed a bit surreal – almost gilded around the edges – as if a softening filter had been applied to the video-like dream that played in your head. Every time you closed your eyes, you saw it. Your own business. You wanted it so badly, or so long, that you could actually taste it! It tasted like… freedom!

Finally, you felt so compelled to “go for it” that you risked everything to make being an Entrepreneur your reality. Once a person tries the independence and freedom of Entrepreneurial pursuits, one of two patterns of daily thought usually prevails:

  1. This is the BEST thing I’ve ever done! I’m loving life, I’m the master of my own destiny, I make my own decisions, and what I do really matters. I’m appreciated, I’m talented, and I’m happy!
  2. This is MUCH harder than it should be! Nobody warned me there would be days like this and someone really should have. I think if I have to make one more single decision today I’ll scream. Why can’t I just work and keep things simple?

For most of us, these thoughts take turns – even on the same day, occasionally – depending on the workload, the number of new software/hardware purchases and installations you have to make this month, the number of customer and peer relationships that are enjoyable, the number of hours of marketing we have backlogged for our own business, the hiccup on our host’s server, the size of our to do list, what day it is in the billing cycle, the number of times we have pushed the same button to be auto-reminded later, and whether or not the dial-up/cable/DSL/satellite has burped lately. Then again, perhaps it’s directly related to the phase of the moon or that new herbal relaxation tea.

Some 18-hour days you may discover that only six and a half are billable – and three of those are on a contract for which you have already been paid. At times like these, you might look at your hourly rate and your weekly billables, measure it against your lifestyle and your quality of life and decide that this is NOT the dream you had.

Then there are the other days, when you may have worked over the weekend, but you can schedule Thursday off to take your best friend on a surprise trip to her favorite restaurant and a matinee movie and then spend the entire afternoon catching up. All because you found out last week she had the day off – and blocked it out on your own calendar. You know that the hours will be made up, but you say when and you say how. This day you relax and smile and enjoy.

There are the middle ground periods, when you know you have to work during the family’s week-long vacation at the beach, but you also know that you can go and that by taking a laptop and enduring a dial-up, you can stay in touch with clients and simply minimize your work commitments that week without disappointing your family or rescheduling your tradition. It’s easy, you spend the morning on the beach, and the “sunburn hours” working indoors. You are back out in the early evening, and finish up the business essentials when the kids are in bed. Maybe it’s not perfect – but it works.

There are the days that your favorite client calls you to tell you that the project you completed for them made the difference in them landing their own “big fish” and how you are the BEST thing since proverbial “sliced bread.” And – YES – of course they would love to put that in writing for your testimonials page!

With freedom comes an occasional headache. That’s a fact. Being an entrepreneur does require juggling and scheduling and being good at things that you never knew you would even need to know. And it may not be as perfect as that idealistic vision that got the ball rolling, but being entrepreneurial does have advantages not realized in any other career model.

It’s not a “one size fits all” career, but for some of us, it’s a perfect fit!

© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen. This article appeared in the May 2003 issue of the IVAACast, the monthly newsletter of the International Virtual Assistants Association.