After 20 years in a corporate and government career, I traded in security and income for entrepreneurship. I recently left my Federal job to become a small business owner offering leadership/career coaching, training, and consulting. And oh, what a trip it has been.
This was a difficult decision for me to make and execute, despite the planning that went into it. I knew how much security I was trading, and the lifestyle it afforded me. And yet, the intangible benefits and rewards won out over the monetary ones.
During the process, I've looked to countless sources of other entrepreneurs to learn from their journeys. In "Birthing the Elephant" by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman, the authors state:
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you'll need to trade comfort for growth; you're going to have to push past the boundaries of your existing self-image by projecting a bigger, more flexible view of yourself, what you have to offer, and what you are capable of doing.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Because let's be real, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It requires long hours, digging deep, and pushing back any boundaries and comfort levels. It has great risk, yet great reward. It makes me budget in a way I never have before, and I can stretch a can of beans like no one's business these days. I have had days of immense joy and those of tears.
The last couple of months have been all about growth over comfort, and pushing my boundaries. It's about being hungry (thankfully, not literally yet), and having that hunger drive you. It has been about marketing myself - which, as a coach who services others, is very hard - and finding the words to make that marketing feel authentic and true.
What else have I learned in my few weeks of being out on my own? Every day, I simultaneously feel empowered and clueless. Support will come from unlikely places. So will resistance and obstacles. I realize I go through a lot more toilet paper and trash working at home. I learn more to realize I know less. It is possible to feel immense faith and panic in the same 24 hours. ALL OF THIS.
Has it been hard? Yep, at times, very hard. Would I do anything differently? Yes and no. And do I regret it? Not one bit. I love the flexibility, creativity, and learning that is coming from this decision. My faith has deepened tremendously. I truly believe this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now, for better or worse. And I can't wait to see what's next.