Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a “do-it-yourselfer.”
“Let me do it.” was the mantra of my toddler years, which, into my teenage and early adult years morphed into “I can do it myself.” “I don’t need help.” and “I’ve got it.” This all led, of course, to the foreseeable “I’m going to open my own business.”
Maybe it has to do with being a firstborn child, maybe it’s because I’m a Manifesting/Generator according to the Human Design model, or maybe it’s just who I am at the core. All I know is that I’ve never embraced being a participant or team member like I have being a leader or business owner. I’ve always preferred individual work over group work. I like thinking and working in the wide-open big picture. I don’t enjoy merely following rules or blueprints and I love coming up with fresh, original ideas to promote growth, visibility and expansion.
To date, I’ve opened and run three solo businesses – a yoga studio, an alternative healthcare business and most recently, a publishing/authorship business. I’ve been devoted to each of these businesses with all my heart; but what I love most is that when I get restless I can, like a snake does, slither out of one skin and into another.
Being a solo entrepreneur is a perfect match for my love of creativity and curiosity. I love having no one to answer to. I love working on my own terms and in my own time. Most of all, I love the freedom of creativity that being an entrepreneur provides.
Ever since I decided to become an entrepreneur I’ve never looked back until early this fall. I suddenly heard a voice in my head that said “Hmmm, I wonder if I could put my knowledge and skills to work for someone else?”
Trust me, this question was as foreign in my brain as an image of a meatball sub would be in the mind of a vegetarian. “Work for someone else?” I questioned. But how? And why?
Perhaps I’ve arrived at a natural rest stop in my life path. Maybe I’ve internally decided that I don’t have to prove my competency to anyone, even myself, anymore. Maybe I can blame it all on the fact that Uranus is crossing my astrological chart right now and, according to my astrologist, it’s planning to undo me in order to redo me.
I also think there’s something that must be said about the substantial ambition, drive and willpower one needs to keep the fire going, day after day, as a solo entrepreneur and the high level of perseverance it demands. This motivational fire needs a steady diet of “logs” which, in this metaphor, represents new ideas, creative endeavors, workshops or even just clever Instagram posts that keep the fire hot and bright.
But regardless of what “why” is guiding this shift, the reality is that I felt an impulse to shift; and one thing I’ve always done as a business owner is follow my instincts. I knew any job I took would have to fit strict criteria. I wouldn’t be interested in returning to a corporate office (or, for that matter, driving anywhere at all) so work-from-home was the only possibility I’d accept. I also knew that I would need to be able to set my own hours. These things are now more broadly available, especially in post-quarantine days.
- What might it be like if instead of always having to generate and care-take my own fire, I could simply tend to someone else’s for a while?
- What would it be like if for a change, I didn’t have to come up with new ideas but was responsible only for helping to implement them?
- Would this feel like a departure from who I am or would it help me grow into something even more or different?
- What would it feel like to work on tasks I wasn’t personally connected to, associated with or invested in as an owner?
- Could I be content following rules and guidelines set by others or would this feel like a limitation or constraint?
- What might there be for me to learn from working for someone else, even if just for a few hours a week?
The more I considered it, the more I realized it could be a fun path to try for however long. So I put together a resume, made an account on Indeed and put myself out there. I’m happy to say I’m now three weeks into having taken a position that meets all my criteria. I am on a schedule that works for me, putting my skills to work for someone else for the first time in over 20 years.
I will always be an entrepreneur. I will not be trading my creative, fluid lifestyle for one of solely work-for-hire anytime soon. But, contrary to my early fears, adding in a little side work doesn’t feel like a departure from who I am. Rather, it feels empowering and validating. I can see how what I’ve learned on my own now translates into helping someone else. Nor does spending a few hours a week working for someone else feel limiting or confining in any way, as I feared. Instead, working for someone else feels like a grand adventure for my spirit, a healthy respite for my mind and a great gift of kindness to my entrepreneurial soul.