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Being Your Own Boss Allows You to Create the Life You ‘Need’
Being your own boss isn’t always as good as it sounds, and when the going gets a bit tough, it’s a good thing to take some time to reflect on why you do, what you do. It helps keep things in perspective and in my case, reminds me to be grateful.
Our nine-year-old has Asperger’s and ADHD; conditions which have become ours as much as they are hers. Her world requires routine. She needs calm responses amidst chaos and the assistance of both parents to meet deadlines like appointments or getting to school on time. As every parent knows, life doesn’t run like clockwork, so even with the best-laid plans we often find ourselves managing a crisis we didn’t see coming.
Her first years at school were a terrible time, with barely a week passing without a call from the school or an issue for us to address. She would come home from school emotionally exhausted, and it would take a tag team of parental supervision to get the household through to bedtime. Not until this year (year 4) did we secure a spot for her in an MC class at a school that has rekindled her love for learning.
That change means our home office ticks along uneventfully during the school hours and our afternoons aren’t so volatile. But still it takes the two of us to run the home and office, and parent effectively.
Sometimes, when business gets a little full on, I think about going to work for someone else. The idea of just doing my job and letting someone else sweat the big stuff is momentarily appealing. The reality, however, is that I couldn’t work a 9 to 5 job without it impacting significantly on our family. Either could my husband. We wouldn’t have the flexibility we need, and flexibility is our key to a functional home.
Running a business, ‘Thomas style’, means early mornings and late nights, with the bulk of my work being done during school hours. There is no commute and nothing that prevents me from the tag team set-up that keeps us all sane. I no longer do court work or commit myself to events that take me far from home – and that’s fine. It works for us. The work I choose to do is done well, and it has my full attention because I also choose when it’s done.
People enter the world of small business and self-employment for many reasons. Mine was driven by a desire to be home for my third bubba when she got home from school. Little did I know at the time how essential that would be. Nine years later I realise what a godsend the decision to go out on my own really was.
It’s easy to lose sight of all the pro’s when there are bills to pay and the buck stops with you, but imagining yourself on someone else’s payroll for a while is a sure-fire way to highlight the positives. Being self-employed might just mean, you don’t have to work weekends, so you get to see your kids play soccer. Or that a home office saves you 20 hours a week in commuting time that you can spend with your family. Maybe setting your own schedule allows you to take a morning walk or spend afternoons on the beach, lunch in a favourite café or collect your kids from school.
Small business certainly has its challenges, but among the many benefits is the ability to create the life we ‘need’. It’s not always as easy to measure as annual leave or take-home pay, but it’s something I value even more.
I may need reminding sometimes, but since my child’s needs became mine, I’m grateful for a work arrangement that accommodates us all.
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