Tomorrow marks my 4th Entrepreneuriversary.
It’s something I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around.
That determined and ready yet totally terrified girl who told her manager that she was giving her 2 weeks seems like she’s closer than someone I was 4 years ago.
And, like most things, she also seems further away.
I have a confidence now that I didn’t have then. A more optimistic perspective. Experience. Truths. Lessons learned.
From where I stand now in 2014, I can honestly say that these are the things that I no longer believe (in no particular order):
1. You’ll be poor. I made just as much money my first full year as an entrepreneur than I did at my corporate gig as an Executive Assistant, and it’s just grown from there. You can see the differences in my 2010-2013 income in this infographic.
2. You’ll have to work around the clock. I’m a crazy-detailed lady who tracks every minute I work on my business, and in the first 2 months of 2014 I worked 196 hours, which equals 24.5 hours/week. It’s weird because it often feels like I’m working much more than that (and there are times that I know I forget to track, so I think there’d be a buffer here), but the numbers don’t lie. Even with a busy week, where I coached 4 clients, recorded an interview, planned a launch (Career Camp opened registration yesterday and early bird pricing ends tomorrow!), wrote a guest post, and hung out in the Clubhouse – I still only logged 19 hours. You can see my overall time management tips here.
3. It’s unstable. I’ve been on my soapbox about this lately (see this and this), but I firmly believe that a stable job in and of itself is a myth. By being my own boss and working with a myriad of clients by a variety of income streams, I’m building my own unique skill set and making myself into a Linchpin. (Danielle Maveal and I talked all about this on Grown Up Gigs last week. Jump on the list and you’ll get a link to the recording on 3/28)
4. You won’t be taken seriously. Jess tells the funniest story about how her brothers-in-law think that she spends all day “coloring.” When I finally decided to become a life coach (of all things!), I assumed people would think I wanted to read their palms and tell them about their auras. Thankfully the landscape has changed drastically since 2007 and most people don’t bat an eye when I mention I’m a life and/or career coach. More than anything, I get “That’s so cool!” and other exclamations of admiration. I admit – it makes me feel pretty bad ass to know I built this “empire” myself and I’m working for nobody but me.
5. You won’t be able to save for retirement. I didn’t have a retirement account until 2007, when I started as an Executive Assistant at a financial consulting firm. I was diligent there about taking as much out of my paycheck as they’d allow, but once I left in 2010 I was worried I would fall off the retirement wagon. Instead, I rolled over my 401K into a SEP IRA, took an online class with Galia Gichon to learn how to diversify it, and put aside 10% of my income at the end of every month into a Capital One 360 account, which I then transfer and distribute to my IRA twice a year. Now I’m sitting at almost $40K saved up, am maxing out my contributions yearly (without missing the money), and feel much more ready for 2043.
6. You won’t be able to afford health insurance. Health insurance in NYC is ridiculously expensive. Once my husband went freelance, we knew we’d have a hefty bill to pay to COBRA. Now that we have one eye on our COBRA running out (which’ll happen in September) and are looking at our Affordable Health Care options, we realize…we’re going to wind up paying about the same as COBRA. Yup, it’s $1K/month for the two of us to be covered – and then a $2K deductible per year – but it allows us to keep our doctors and our sanity. By wrapping it into our budget, we know that we’ll always be covered.
7. You’ll have to Pick One Thing and do that forever in order to be successful. When us creatives think of hanging our shingle as coaches, consultants, artists, writers, photographers, etc., we fear that we’ll spend aaaaaaallllll that time building things up to just get bored and abandon it a few months or years later. The good news here? If you follow your passion and interests and keep moving forward, you’ll be able to keep adjusting your sails and pivoting to make room to find where you shine. I love being “The When I Grow Up Coach” now, but if there comes a time I wanna be known as “Michelle Ward” or “writer and speaker”, I can make it happen.
8. Renaissance Souls are too flaky to be entrepreneurs. Continuing from the point above, us multi-passionate types have been made to feel that we’re unreliable. While most of society sees that as a negative, we thrive by getting to wear All The Hats. In the 25ish hours/week I work, I get to be coach, writer, copywriter, project manager, bookkeeper, speaker, marketer and PR person. I love
all most of it (which is why I just hired a bookkeeper to wear that hat for me). Here are some more myths about us.
9. It’ll be too hard to be able to know what I need to do legally to protect myself. And what about taxes? And hiring contractors? I know, it’s super intimidating and a lot to wrap our heads around, but this isn’t rocket science. For those in the States, book a free appointment at your local SCORE office and talk their faces off as to your needs. Devour the Freelancers Union site. Comb through Tuts+, creativeLIVE and Skillshare classes. Do a Google search for what you need to know + your city and see what comes up (i.e. in NYC, we have these free classes).
10. You need a lot of money to get started. Nope. You only need what’s here, and it can cost under $100.
I’m celebrating my 4th Entrepreneuriversary with a live, free, virtual event for those who’ve been part of Grown Up Gigs. Sign up here before 7p Eastern tomorrow, have the champers at the ready, and make sure you can join us tomorrow night!
Early bird pricing for my online career change program ends tomorrow! Click here for info & to save yourself $100.