To me, Thanksgiving week is the start of family and friends season. It's the time of year you (hopefully) take a little more time to stop and be grateful for all you have, and let your loved ones know that you do, in fact, love them. Even if they bug the crap out of you.
While I'd like to be more consciously grateful all the time, that's a work in progress. This year has been crazy (not quite 2007 Britney Spears crazy, but close) - as I made the decision in March to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
I don't quite feel comfortable calling myself a "solopreneur" (although the term is technically correct) because it smacks of limits and glass ceilings to me. My master plan involves a thriving business that employs others, but right now I'm in "all the hats" territory in a home office.
To be honest, however, even soloprenuers have a supportive team around them, even if they're not paying anyone else for help. I count my family, friends, and a wealth of other solopreneurs I have connected with this last year as on my team. They all provide support, advice, an extra set of eyes, and massive amounts of cheerleading whenever I need it. I truly could not keep my head above water if it weren't for them.
Of course, I have many other things to be grateful and thankful for besides what I do for a living, but this choice like no other has impacted my life the most (husband and kiddo aside).
I knew after a few years as a Federal Agent I did not want to spend a 25+ year career working for the government. It's not like TV folks, let me tell ya. It took 10 years for the time and situation to be right, but when I left (not really knowing what I was going to do next), most people in my life thought I was nuts. I left a six-figure salary, incredible health benefits, and a pension (that's right - a pension). I would have been eligible to fully retire at 47 years old. Seems crazy, right?
The only thing that seemed crazy to me was going to work day in and day out, with a series of horrible - I mean horrible - supervisors, sitting in my car for days, my health suffering severely, and being a "body" - a number. While my professional career has been interesting (to say the least) since I left the government, every single step has been to set myself up to be my own boss.
It is not in anyway shape or form, rainbows and kittens. It is simply the hardest professional thing I have ever done. It's an emotional rollercoaster, with the ever-present...FEAR.
Can I do this? Will I make it? Can I help support my family? Am I a fraud? Will anyone buy from me?
But in between those paralyzing moments (which are getting to be less and less as I persevere and figure it out), there are lots and lots of moments of sheer gratitude.
Without further ado - here are 26 reasons I'm super duper grateful and thankful to be an entrepreneur (in no particular order).
- Yoga pants - yep I'm starting with that.
- Free (ish) coffee - shitty office coffee or expensive Starbucks? No thanks.
- Setting my own hours - I'm working more hours than I ever have before, but I work when I want for the most part.
- Sick days - even if I have work I must get done, not worrying about being semi-presentable at an office while I try not to get others sick is nice.
- Midday errands - any errands: Costco, oil change, pedicure - basically anything you have to do out of the house that sucks more when everyone else is there on the weekends.
- Day drinking - ok I don't really do this - maybe the very occasional beer at a late lunch with a girlfriend - but I could.
- Support network - no one cheerleads for entrepreneurs louder than other entrepreneurs. Unless you're a catty, competitive lame ass - then you can gtfo anyway.
- Office dog - my 13+ year old puppy still likes me, and I love that she gets to hang out with me all day.
- No shitty clients - I choose who I want to work with (I got over the "take any client" mindset real quick).
- The sky is the limit - truly. Now if I could just clone myself...
- Time with my kiddo - I really should have lead with this, but it's self-explanatory. Right now my kiddo goes to school Monday - Thursday and Fridays are our special day. I might squeeze in a bit of work here and there, but on the whole, it's just for us and we have lots of adventures. I will never get this time back and it's everything.
- No commute - no explanation necessary here. Commutes suck.
- No paying for gas, parking, lunch - some people (and employers) don't realize the huge extra expense that comes with working in an office. The cost savings of working from home make a big difference in our budget.
- Time to prep dinner - theoretically, I could stop working and start to prep dinner before I go to pick the kiddo up, and not be rushed to throw something together later. Still working on that one. But I could.
- Talking (cursing) to myself - I get my best ideas when I think out loud. I also have a totally foul mouth (like make a sailor blush mouth). It's nice to not worry about HR issues over repeated F-bombs.
- No makeup days - I love makeup, but I like not wearing makeup too. If I'm not meeting anyone professionally and not doing a video or Blab, then I'm barefaced and don't care.
- Naps - NAPS. Yes, that means I'll have to make it up later, but I CAN.
- Loud music - I'm a total metal head and I like my music louder than any sort of reasonable volume - and headphones bug me after awhile.
- In-office yoga - I can stop what I'm doing for 10-20 minutes of good stretching without looking like a loon. And I'm usually already wearing yoga pants, so...
- Neighborhood walks - every office I've ever worked in has not been conducive to taking a walk in the middle of the day. I love my neighborhood and try to get in a quick walk often.
- Networking - the option to meet collaborative partners at pretty much any time is totally convenient.
- Day off flexibility (mid-week vacations) - cheapest hotel rate Monday - Thursday? No problem. I'll just work the weekend to make up for it.
- Netflix - I need "wind-up" time in the morning. While most people "wind-down" in the evening, I'm usually working. I need time in the morning to wake up and dust off the cobwebs. An hour of Netflix and 2 cups of coffee and I am ready to take over the world.
- Mobile office - working from home means I do get cabin fever. No problem! I can take my laptop anywhere there's wifi and still get it done.
- Natural light - I am fortunate to have a home office setup that lets me gaze out into my beautiful backyard while I'm at my desk. There is simply no substitute for natural light for productivity and well being.
- The buck stops with me - it's incredibly clarifying to know it's all up to me. The failures (read: lessons), the wins, the work - it's all my choice.
This awesome sauce list might seem like I'm flitting around doing whatever all day. Quite the opposite, actually. I am so focused and clear on my tasks and to-do's, that I can give myself the gift of that flexibility when I need it. There are many, many days I'm working from 8 AM to 11 PM, and the errands, walks, even lunch don't happen. But when I really need to do something or be somewhere that is of the highest priority to me (even if a boss wouldn't think so), I can do what I need to do.
Want to know more about how I structure my day? It starts with ending multi-tasking.
What about you? If you're an entrepreneur, what's on your grateful list?