I never set out to be my own boss, but when push came to shove that’s what I fought tirelessly to be.
A little more than two years ago I was offered a full-time position. The boss, knowing that I had been laid off six weeks before, probably sensed a bit of desperation. The fear of being out of work was all-encompassing.
He took advantage of the fact that I didn’t have a job and that I had received a generous severance. When salary came into play he offered me far less than I needed. Although he committed verbally to one amount, he put a smaller amount in writing. When questioned about it, he told me that was his “final offer.”
My choices, as with anything, were to take it or leave it. Leaving it was a scary proposition since, prior to my layoff with Patch, I had been downsized out of a job while on maternity leave in 2009. I worked my last day on December 23 of that year and started with Patch on Dec. 6, 2010 – three weeks shy of my daughter’s first birthday.
Taking it meant I would need to continue working with a new public relations client I had acquired in addition to working full-time. My full-time salary, coupled with the client’s monthly retainer would allow me to break even.
There were important decisions to be made. Should I take the job, or plunge, headfirst, into my own business?
At the time, I had two clients, with a third in the wings. Since I have never been a risk-taker, I decided to follow the safe route of a full-time position. Even before I worked my first day, I had one goal in mind: Build my business as quickly as possible, quit full-time job and be my own boss.
For the next 17 months or so, my days began at 5 a.m. and sometimes continued until 11 p.m. or midnight.
My life was a whirlwind of writing and scheduled client calls before I began work at 8 a.m., sitting in my car during lunch breaks to follow up with reporters for public relations projects, or finish/tweak press releases. I scheduled as many calls during the half-hour drive from work to my daughter’s pre-school as possible.
After her bedtime, I picked up where I had left off with various projects.
As my client roster continued to grow, I began peppering my weekends with blocks of dedicated time for my yet-to-be-named business. I always made sure to carve out time for my family, although it was often less time than I had wanted it to be.
Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. It was tiring and a struggle. There were days that I cried and told my husband I couldn’t do it. It was too much. I needed to just find a different full-time job.
The next day though, I would be back at it again, many times reinvigorated.
Through it all I kept my eyes on the prize. That prize was a modified schedule, one that would allow me to pick my daughter up from kindergarten every day, spend time with her, help her with her homework and make dinner.
I wanted to have the luxuries of a stay-at-home mom, while helping to support my family financially.
As time flew by, I found myself earning two full-time salaries nearly every month. Finally, all of my hard work was paying off.
Seeing that positive momentum gave me courage I never knew I had and pushed me to work even harder. I had been saving money all along, but now began banking all that I could and calculating what I needed to earn every month to make ends meet.
By summer 2015, the stars – rather the numbers – aligned. A few weeks before my daughter started kindergarten, I quit my full-time job and wholeheartedly embraced the entrepreneur’s life.
I still wake early and sometimes work late to coordinate around my 6-year-old’s schedule, but this time it’s on my terms. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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