We hear from a number of friends how they would love to have a little business like ours, be self-employed, have no one to answer to but themselves and to be able to do things they way they like. And, I admit, it is nice to make your own schedule and decisions when it comes to your own products. And, working with the family is almost always a pleasure. But I also have to admit that there are days like the last few, where you're so tired it's hard to get out of bed and, even on your days off, you're still working "just a few hours."
Everyone knows what I call "the realities of self-employment." Things like:
- When you make a mistake, it's only your own, and there's no one else to blame it on.
- You work hard. VERY hard.
- You sometimes (or often) go without paychecks.
- The insecurity and risk involved can be stressful.
... and so on.
I admit, they're all true. Every single one of them. Plus, I'd add a few of my own:
- You have to be a jack of all trades, even if you're not really the most qualified person for that particular trade.
- You will make some kind of a mistake that will affect your business in some way.
- You will have days when, even though you love what you do, you won't want to go to work.
- You will begin to lust after a "typical" work week, but forget exactly what that means.
I won't lie and deny that 99% of the time I'm extremely happy with my life. I love our business, which is doing well and growing. But I also have to admit that one of the most important things I've learned is that you need to take a step back and allow yourself some time off and away. When you work so hard every day at something, you don't always realize that you're too close to it, or that your performance/productivity could be better.
My husband and I recently made a decision to try and purchase a little condo in the Lake Tahoe area (looks like we're succeeding, but more on that later). We live on the same property as the vineyard and winery, so we've found that, the only way we truly take time off, is by leaving (we half-jokingly call it the compound for the number of hours we can spend here without ever stepping foot across the driveway). I always worry about the things left undone when we leave, but when we return I feel recharged and ready to tackle everything with renewed energy.
Time away, perseverance, and being genuine about everything you do are the three most important lessons I've learned about running your own business. Hopefully that helps a few hopeful entrepreneurs out there. :)