Do you want to make a lot of money? You might be able to do that. Do you want to be famous? You could sure give it a try. That being said, most consultants I know are in it for reasons that have nothing to do with money or fame. Here are the real perks of being in business for yourself, that makes the hard work of “start-up” worth it.
Flexibility – being able to define when, where, and how you work
- Other than when I have meetings with clients, I am master of my own schedule. I love being able to work when my creative energy is at its peak (often late at night and into the wee hours of the morning) and then take time off later in the day.
Focus and Enjoyment – being able to do work that you enjoy, that supports your passion
- I love being able to choose what I work on, versus having my workload handed to me with “other duties as assigned.” In any project there is always some amount of drudge work but if it is something I have actively chosen I don’t mind it.
Work-life Balance – being able to decide how much to work and how to organize it to meet your needs
- For me this is the biggest perk, especially for a working mom. Starting my own business was the best way to balance career and family. When my daughter was very young I worked a schedule that included 3 days in the office each week and evening hours after she went to bed. When she was in school, I scheduled many meetings through mid-afternoon and did the balance of my work later in my home office. When she was in 3rd grade, I decided to take a year’s sabbatical and reshaped my business in the process.
Success is about much more than money. It is about having an impact on people’s lives, helping organizations achieve their goals, or contributing to a larger cause — and doing it in a way that lets you enjoy your work and support yourself at the same time.
That said, my definition of success is ever-evolving. At the beginning it was to establish my business, then grow it. Mid-point it was to redefine it. At this point? I am in the process of figuring that out right now. What about you? What does success mean to you today?