When I worked in a corporate job, I thought that being my own boss was the answer to finding that elusive work-life balance. I would be able to dictate my own meetings! Take the morning off to attend my kid's school concert! Work out whenever I wanted to!
After I left my job and started The Present Perfect, I quickly realized that this was obviously a huge misconception on my part. Being self-employed doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want--that's called funemployment and is often adopted by MBA candidates right before graduate school begins. If anything, being a small business owner has made it even harder to separate my work life from my personal life. Previously, I viewed unplugging from work as something I was entitled to and owed to myself--that for the number of hours I spent laboring away, I deserved some "me" time. Now, it's so easy to piss away my precious time on other things--because, let's face it, I just spent an hour shamelessly watching old Taylor Swift music videos on YouTube--that I'm constantly feeling like I haven't put in enough. Thus, late-night social media posts and emails right before I fall asleep, when in my past life, I had a pretty strict no-devices-in-bed rule for myself.
That's not to say that being an entrepreneur doesn't have any upside--it's been really exciting to grow my business on my own terms and have ownership over small things that deeply matter to me, like the wall color in my office space. However, that ownership also extends to all parts of the business and makes me pretty appreciative of all the people and resources who kept things in order in my previous corporate setting. Paper clips? Those don't just magically appear without someone thinking to order them. Free photocopier? If only... (I'm really not looking forward to spending much of tax season at a FedEx center this coming spring).
The biggest realization for me, even though I knew it deep down, has been that building something great and meaningful--whether it's for a Fortune 500 company or out of your own garage--takes a shitload of work. Nothing happens overnight, and the reality is that some efforts will pay off while others won't. Lately, I've been reminding myself to embrace the challenges of having to "do it all" and learn to delegate and outsource where it makes sense. The payoff will come someday, and it will be that much sweeter because it's something I have fully invested myself into and care a lot about. One day at a time!