by Vanya Wryter (As seen in June's issue of APeeling)
I parachuted into my entrepreneurial journey about three years ago. Until then, I had been happy as an employee. I liked having a desk in an office and working set hours. Then I got sick and the old way of life came to an end.
At first, I wasn’t sure what was wrong. The frequent fatigue made it impossible to hold down a fulltime job. People joke about napping at our desk, but that was about to become my reality.
I had to find some other career path, one that would let me work whatever hours I chose and nap whenever I needed. Most people choose to be self-employed because they want to be their own boss. In my case, my body was my boss.
The downside of such an abrupt transition was I wasn’t ready. I had been slowly moving toward becoming an entrepreneur, but I hadn’t built up a network and I didn’t have a steady stream of clients.
Ideally, I would have worked part time while working a side gig with a growing client base. Instead, no one knew I was in business. Not even friends or family. I gradually built up a network by attending events and building connections. Eventually I worked my way up to a couple of stable clients, paying me for projects that tapped into my skills. I was creating books and developing courses for workplace training again. My old career was alive, and this time I was the worker and the boss.
With a job, I didn’t get to choose my projects. I could be sent to faraway places at minus twenty temperatures to work on workforce skills training. But as an entrepreneur, I chose the industries I wanted to work with, and write the projects that I would be proud to put my name on.
It wasn’t an easy road to take. My friends didn’t understand. When I worked long hours, they asked if I was going to get paid overtime. If a friend said her boss just asked her to work on the weekend, other friends offered their sympathy. If I said I was also working the weekend, they would suggest I take some time off.
Fast forward to this year, and I had learned a lot about running a business. There was a lot more to marketing and networking than I had expected. I met other entrepreneurs and found a kinship that was crucial to everyday survival. It wasn’t strange to work weekends anymore. It wasn’t unusual to send emails late at night.
Most importantly, I realized I was stronger than I thought possible. That was truly the key to working for myself.
I had to have a solid WHY.
Even as I struggled with my health issue, I was determined to keep doing work that made me happy. If I could improve the skills of one more worker, I was successful at what I set out to accomplish. Over time, my health started to improve again, giving me more energy and more time to work on my business. And when friends and family saw that my work gave me satisfaction, they stopped insisting that I was working too hard.
To anyone considering a career as an entrepreneur: you’ve chosen the right path if you want to shape your future the way you want. It’s definitely not an easy journey, but sometimes life opens a new door for you, and you just have to walk through.
Vanya Wryter helps people design instructional courses and edits writer's work.