When I tell people I have my own business generally I feel proud. There is lots I love about what comes with being your own boss and having the flexibility to make the hours work for you but there is a lot that comes with it I wasn’t prepared for or don’t actually enjoy every much.
Here are my own pro’s and con’s.
Let’s start with the cons because they are more interesting and probably more surprising….
I can find it really lonely.
For 20 years I had the luxury of a whole office full of personalities to complain about and be annoyed by. The do gooder sending all staff emails about packing the dishwasher, naming the food in the fridge, replacing the dunser paper when it runs out….The older one who still tries to hang with the younger gang, dresses awkwardly in hip clothes & can casually slip into conversations that they still listen to triple J alarmingly often (ha ha that was me). The person who is ALWAYS late but no one ever seems to notice, jonothan not naming any names pagano, (I was also the annoying do gooder).
And I also had the luxury of the lunches, chats, gossip, laughs, after work drinks, great bosses and great friends, many who I am still good friends with today even though we worked together over 15 years ago. I loved and was always proud to work in a creative industry. People inspired and impressed me and I was lucky enough to work with some of the cleverest in the industry. Also the workplace is where you really get to know people you might not otherwise ever have had the chance. I once sat next to a guy who was an IT nerd – sorry I mean IT ‘specialist’, who by night was a pretty popular DJ…. I tried to talk to him about triple J. He hated me.
I miss all of that. I really do.
Seriously. It’s weird when you work as an employee for so long and you do your job. And you know exactly what your responsibilities are. And that’s what you can focus on everyday. But someone else up there in management or planning or admin or somewhere is taking care of all the other shit. All that stuff that just kind of happens. From the office getting cleaned, to the office systems that are set, to all the invoicing and billing and getting paid………As I am responsible for EVERYTHING it means I have to force myself to make sure I also do the things I am not good at and don’t enjoy. Making sure that the business as a whole is working best it can means I wear (what feels like) thousands of hats, not just the ones that look good on me. Boom boom.
I got a little fat.
And before I get into this one please note; I do not have a problem with a little more junk in my trunk (I do a little bit) but the truth is, it was the feeling unhealthy that I wasn’t fond of and which took my by surprise… ANYWAY, in the first year that I was full time working from home I became a little lumpier. I didn’t really notice it happening until later in the year but I believe it was a combo of this:
I am like a conspiracy theorist about the worlds dumpling supply running out. I am always in possession of at least 1 to 2 bags of frozen 25 piece pork delights just incase the universal frozen dumpling maker machine is on the fritz and we are all thrown into a scary, frightening, sad life without them. With kewpie, siracha and soy lovingly squeezed from the bottle it is by far one of the tastiest treats money can buy. And writing about them just now is making me no longer enjoy my salad to my left. Piss of lefty.
Not only do we all agree that dumpling are delicious. They are also too easy to make. You boil water. My kind of cooking. So – lets just say I was replenishing the stocks a lot in 2018. Yum delicious more please.
The other reason was the sheer RUSHING I was doing when I worked in the office was very physical. I rushed out the door, always in peak hour, dropped the kids at childcare but could never get a park so walk/ran to the childcare centre. Then the same thing when I got to work, walking fast to get there on time, usually with a teensy tiny breakfast under my belt and a coffee.
Lunch hour was often spent rush-walking a least a kilometre to Rundle Mall to make sure I had some shopping done, any jobs or presents bought and there was usually never a spare minute to duck down stairs at Rundle Plaza for a 3 piece steamed pork and chive special….. usually…
Rushing up and down stairs, out to meetings, squeezing everything in so as to remain a good, on time employee made up for around 20kms of fast moving a day. It was strenuous.
So lots more eating and lots less incidental exercise makes for a lot more Amy.
Thinking I have it easy…
The last con is one I’m still working on changing in my own frame of mind…. This is the fact that along with many others even I am a culprit of thinking because I work from home I have it easy. And it’s with this mindset I have taken on more of the home admin responsibilities than ever before.
It’s easier for me to drop off and pick up, easier for me to look after kids when they’re sick, easier for me to make time to fill out every form, buy every birthday present make sure every lunch is made, reader done, uniform washed and ready, shopping done, and if I ever have a moment that is not filled immediately with either work or jobs I feel incredibly guilty and indulgent working from home. But every day I easily fill a full 7 hours work. I sit down at my desk at 9am and I work….. then on my lunch break I race around the house cleaning because I can’t believe its midday and the house is STILL a mess, I’ve barely gotten anything done, I haven’t had a shower and now due to having a fresh school starter the 3pm pick up has made my work day shorter! So its just a different kind of juggle. I don’t have it any easier…. And for the record I can honestly say that not once in the year and a half I have been working from home have I ‘taken the afternoon off’ and watched a movie or did something relaxing. I probably did this more when I worked at an office and felt I deserved it*
This mindset is one I’m working hard to change. The more my business grows the more I need to take my own advice and go easy on myself. Take a break and let go of trying to do it all.
The job I had in my previous career as a producer was demanding. And consuming. And I loved it. But there was no way I was going to be able to make my job work in with my life as a mum. I am speaking for myself only here…. I am not saying someone else couldn’t make this work and make it work well, but knowing what I gave my role I could never give it less, it couldn’t be part time, it couldn’t be 3/4 time…. there was no way to cut it (we tried) that didn’t make it a 5 day a week 8-9 hour a day role. So in the end it was an easy decision make to let go of it as I took on this new position of ‘Mother’.
And what absolutelyI love about carving out this weird, different and new way of working is that I can get to child related things without getting stressed, feeling like I am letting anyone down, or being sneaky. I hated this and I think a lot of mums do…. It creates stress, guilt, anxiety all of which most of us have plenty of anyway. The general 9-5 (and then usually more at night) office work I believe is still really not working for mums. I had the most flexible workplace ever but it still didn’t work. You cant forsee childcare ringing due to a temperature minutes before a presentation……
Secondly I never saw myself as starting a business. Never ever. But when I experienced the above along with a whole lot of other things I wasn’t expecting relating to work, loosing myself to being a mum, feeling overwhelmed and down occasionally and also just wanting someone to do my effen washing, I became absolutely fixated on trying to make a small change that made it easier for busy women to outsource. The instensity of this passion to create this business caught me by surprise but it’s something that not a day since I started jamesdaisy I haven’t felt borderline psychotic about.
Even though I have plenty of days where I doubt what I am doing and what I am working on, the base level desire to keep on making it bigger and better does not wane. In my entire former career that I loved whole heartedly I never came close to feeling as strongly about my own little business.
It’s a really nice feeling to have a purpose and a passion like that. It’s something I cant see changing ever.
Pretty much no office politics…
The third thing is hardly ever disagreeing with the boss.
It took me a while but it’s a good feeling having confidence in your own decisions and instinct on things. I have found in business, usually your gut is right and if you’re being led by passion to do the right thing by your business your on a pretty good track. It’s a good thing not having to ‘run anything by’ someone. Or working on something that, if you were boss you’d be doing differently….
There is obviously good and bad things to all situations. There is a lot that is great about working from home and having your own business, but I can first hand tell you that some days I would swap it in a heart beat for the 9-5 office/employee gig. Pretty much no-one can choose exactly the job, the hours, the industry and the pay you want but hopefully there is something good that makes it worth your while, weather that’s the passion, the money, the hours or the people.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my account of some of the good and the bad of working from home and having your own business. Things change all the time and there are highs and lows but at the end of the day the final take out is this; I recommend Dumpings R us frozen bag of pork 25 piece. You’re welcome
*if I am actually on a Truman style show and there have been cameras planted ok yes, there was that ONE time that I watched vanderpump rules in bed.