My two year anniversary came and went with a blink of an eye in May. I’m not sure I even acknowledged it as I was preparing for the birth of my first child.
Last year, I wrote a post about the lessons I learned from being in business one year. This year, I’m slightly established and instead can reflect about the pros and cons of owning your own small, home-based business that I was not as aware of during my first year.
- No Smonday for me. One of the feelings I have noticed the most is that I no longer dread Sunday evening, knowing that Monday and a new work week is creeping in. On Twitter, it’s known as “Smonday” – The moment when Sunday stops feeling like Sunday and the anxiety of Monday kicks in. I love what I do and though I also love my weekends, I don’t get that knotted feeling in my stomach of, “Oh no, I have to go to work tomorrow…” It’s nice to know that I’m going to give it my all on Monday morning and I have a “Let’s bring on the week!” attitude. (That said, I do still love Friday afternoons more than anything…I’m not completely immune)
- What boredom? I also no longer have moments of boredom. If I get bored or purposefully want to procrastinate on my work, I can get up and leave. I clean the house, I go for a walk/run, I can go to the gym when I want. I remember when I worked at a full-time job and I got into the mood where I didn’t have anything pressing but also didn’t feel like working, I would sit around frustrated. Or I’d get up and make myself some tea, chat with co-workers, and then finally go back to my desk to work on what I had been putting off. That is not the case now: there’s no more ball and chain at my desk and it feels so nice.
- Forced flexibility. When it comes to the fun little things that I can enjoy because I have a flexible business, the one thing that has surprised me is that I have to, at times, force flexibility. I never run out of things to do. As a business owner, there is never a moment of relaxation when everything is done. I work most mornings, evenings, and Sunday nights (unless there is a Patriots game, of course) outside of normal business hours. I think I had this image that when my business was established and doing well, I would be working…around 2 hours a day. Where did I get that image?? Ha! If I want to go visit a friend, have lunch with someone, go to the gym, take my daughter to a class, etc., I have to actually schedule this into my life otherwise I’d be working non-stop. So, yes, it’s nice not to have to ask permission to go to the doctor, to do something else/procrastinate, but when it comes to little “fun” things during the day, I’d never do them unless I forced myself to. I had to learn how to step back, look at assignments, and evaluate if it needed to done right away.
- My phone rarely leaves me. I’m glued to my phone more now than I ever was before. My phone is my business, especially when I’m not at home. It’s so useful but I also cringe when I realize that I’ve turned into someone that needs to have their phone out constantly during the day. I know it’s the new “normal” for most business people, but I was never like that before so I cringe when I’m at a lunch with my phone out and having to check it to see if it’s something urgent.
- Support is still so important. Lastly, I realized that the support of those around you is still vitally important. That was a lesson I learned in my first year and it’s a lesson I’m constantly reminded of in this second year as well. Without the support of my husband (who is on my side 99% of the time, even if I think sometimes I don’t deserve it), other VA’s, and my wonderful clients who make this job possible, I would not have made it this far.
My main takeaway from my second year was to realize that it’s okay to step away from my desk and come back at another time. I had to learn how to look at assignments and say, “Is that urgent? Can it wait?” What’s the point of owning a flexible business if you don’t enjoy the benefits? If it can wait, it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t get done within the next few hours.
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