Okay, things got a little heavy last week as I shared the real and gritty downsides to running a business.
While those seven pitfalls are certainly true, there are many wonderful perks to being your own boss!
It’s no wonder so many people dream of quitting their jobs to do exactly what I’m doing. After all, for many years, until I took the leap, I was one of ’em.
Here are six things that are amazing about being your own boss — I call these my “pinch myself” moments.
1. I get to choose the work I want to do.
By far, the best part of running a business is getting to choose the work I take on and the people I want to work with.
Some days my “work” involves coordinating a yoga segment with 6ABC at a winery. Some days, it involves putting my professor hat on and teaching a college PR course. Some days, it involves canoodling with an ox named Bill. Some days it involves speaking at a major conference or even traveling the country to speak to various groups. Four days a week it means teaching a yoga class. Most days, it means editing articles, working with writers, crafting headlines and doing media relations.
Most importantly, I get to choose the type of work I do. When I was in my PR job, I dreamed of cobbling together a career doing ALL of the things I love — content management, editing, blogging, PR, marketing, social media, speaking. I do *all* of these tasks now.
I love that within any given day I can jump from editing a blog post for The Write Life to working with a high-profile journalist on a piece about Muck Rack to interviewing an inspiring student for a feature piece for a university. The variety of work keeps me energized and excited.
Similarly, I choose who I work with. If a client proves difficult after a small project or short contract, I don’t have to work with them again! If I love a client (and they love yours truly), we can work together for years — Muck Rack and I celebrate our four year anniversary together this summer!
2. I can work from anywhere in the world.
Literally, anywhere. If there’s a wifi connection (and sometimes even if there’s not — Google Drive Offline, FTW!), I can be working.
I spent last July working from Ocean City, New Jersey, completing my work in the early mornings and spending my afternoons at the beach. I’ve broken out my laptop to do a bit of work in Mexico, Florida, South Carolina and more. No worries about pesky vacation time limits — I can bring my work with me on vacation. It has become a lifestyle for me.
Most days I work from my little office in my apartment, but sometimes I head to a coffee shop or even the food court at Target (no joke, it’s a GREAT place to get work done). If I’m feeling a little lonely, I drive to my parents’ house to work from their kitchen and spend some time with our little pup.
I love that all I really need to do my job is my laptop or my phone, my brain and my creativity.
3. I make my own schedule and shape my day however I prefer.
I’m a big fan of energy management — maximizing my energy and the times of the day I am most alert and creative to get my most pressing work done.
That means, I work when I want.
Back when I had a day job, I woke up at 5 a.m. to get blog/client work done before heading to work. I came home at the end of the day exhausted from 12 hours of work.
These days, I wake up slowly, starting my days around 7:30 or 8 a.m.
If I’m feeling extra tired on a given afternoon, I take a nap.
If I need a boost of energy, I pop over to a noon yoga class.
Sometimes, I take an entire day off of work during the week and instead catch up on a Sunday afternoon.
It’s a beautiful perk to be able to make your own schedule — sure, sometimes it means working on a random holiday that regular office jobs have off like President’s Day or working late into the night if there’s a pressing client need, but the benefits far outweigh the pitfalls on this one!
4. I’m the boss.
I don’t have a boss. I AM the boss.
Of course, I have clients I report back to, but at the end of the day, I am the sole decision maker for my business.
Don’t want to take on a new client? Don’t have to.
Don’t feel like scheduling phone calls in the mornings because I reserve that time for client work and writing? Don’t have to say yes to that early morning call.
At the end of the day, this is my business, and I call the shots.
5. I can pivot at any time.
Already in just a year and a half of running JL&Co, I’ve pivoted multiple times.
At the beginning of my time as CEO, I just wanted to make ends meet. I said yes to almost every project that came my way. My focus leaned heavily on freelance writing and social media. Now, less than two years later, my focus has completely shifted. I’m spending way more time building the content management and PR sides of my business, and I’ve almost eliminated social media completely.
Similarly, in my first year of business, I subbed as many yoga classes as humanly possible, sometimes teaching up to 10 classes a week. Now, I teach four weekly classes and rarely sub, as I’m focusing my energy on other parts of my business.
In the coming months, I’m handing off more client work to my team member and focusing more of my energy on this blog and landing more speaking gigs.
These pivots? All my decisions. All made through experimentation. No permission needed.
6. I can get annoying life tasks done at off times.
Raise your hand if you hate going to the grocery store on the weekend!
There’s something to be said for being able to run errands and get random stuff done in the middle of the work day while everyone else is busy at the office.
Moving into my apartment was a breeze last summer since I was constantly available and present for furniture deliveries, cable installations, etc.
Target and Acme are much more pleasant places to be at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday than after work or on the weekend.
Being able to make doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments or hair appointments without having to worry about using “personal time” is extremely nice.
Popping out in the middle of the afternoon to get a quick mani/pedi at an off-time rather than waiting my turn after work saves me time in my day.
I’m so much more effective, and have so much more time and energy for the people in my life that I want to spend time with because I’m not constantly running errands before or after work.
Back to that whole perspective thing
Remember — the grass is always greener.
Yes, these perks are wonderful. Yes, this is the career and life I’ve chosen.
However, there are pitfalls, and many of them!
No job will ever be perfect.
I’ll repeat what I said last week when I shared the pitfalls…
And while today I’m sharing the pitfalls of running a business, I truly am grateful every day for the chance to build and run JL&Co. The chance to do what I love, on my own terms. The amazing perks, the things that suck, and all.
Fellow business owners — chime in! What’s your favorite perk of running a business?
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