If you’re an owner of a micro business like I am, most of the time you consider yourself lucky to be your own boss. Yet every once in a while the stress of highly fluctuating income, self-employment taxes, and the solitude of going it alone makes you wonder.
“Would life be easier if I just got a job?”
Perhaps it’s been the upheavals in my life during the past 12 months, or perhaps it was an amazing job description, but I recently found myself; :gasp: *cough*; applying for a job. Not a local job, I really don’t think I could do the whole commute to work thing again, especially with the winter weather here in Maine. No, it was a remote, work from home job. It was also with a company I really love and have a passion for.
I debated applying internally. My heart kept telling me that I already had my dream job. My head argued that the regularity of a paycheck and benefits would alleviate all of that “But what about the next month or next year?” stress. No more wondering if it was time to raise my rates and if it would cause a loss of clients. No more being just a client or two away from not being able to pay the bills. My head was very convincing. So I sent the application, thinking if it wasn’t meant to be I wouldn’t hear anything.
A few weeks later, when I was sure I wouldn’t hear anything, I was asked to interview online. I felt lucky. I knew this company was really picky about who they interviewed with. The interview went well, and my head was excited. My heart however had questions. Could I really give up the work I loved to work for someone else? It wasn’t convinced no matter how much my head reassured that I could.
Less than a week after the initial interview, I was contacted about taking the next step in the interview process. I completed the second step and at the same time, began working on a new website project for a client. As I tweaked CSS and watched the bare bones of WordPress turn into something pretty cool my heart nudged my head with the reminder that should I make it through the interview process I would be leaving this, the magic of creating websites,behind. And what about the diversity my online technology services gave me? One day creating PowerPoint slides, the next managing a small guest blogging project, could I leave that flexibility? Could I do it? Really?? The doubt that had sat heavy on my heart began to creep into my head.
I should have been disappointed.
I should have felt like I didn’t measure up.
I should have felt like a failure.
[/su_pullquote]I began to think about things a little differently. Sure, my income can fluctuate a lot, but as my own boss I can branch out into other areas in order to increase that income at any time. There are no restrictions or conflicts if I decide to create an educational course to make a little extra money or create an ebook to sell online. In my business I didn’t have to worry about someone else’s rules and regulations.
And then I got the rejection email. I should have been disappointed. I should have felt like I didn’t measure up. I should have felt like a failure.
I didn’t. I felt relieved. I felt rejuvenated and most of all I felt thankful.
I had been given a gift. The gift of appreciation for all the things I love about what I do. It’s rare that you learn to appreciate what you have before you’ve left it behind. I was given that gift.
Will I still stress about fluctuating income, taxes and work/life balance? I’m sure I will, but somehow they don’t seem nearly as difficult to deal with now. Understanding just how lucky I am to be doing exactly what I love to do is worth so much more than a steady paycheck.