My husband and I run a couple of small businesses from home and with the help of a great co-working space in Manly near where we live. We have both had a variety of business experiences, but it is only in the last 2 years that we have actively been working together, redefining our way of work and life so we can enjoy time with our family, do meaningful work that helps others and choose our own way in the world. It isn’t all plain sailing, but what endeavour is?!
There are plenty of challenges in running your own small business, and for all of us it is probably a case of ‘Same, Same, but Different’. Plenty of common themes, but each of us with our unique context to make us ‘special’! So my goal with this blog is to open minds, provide practical tools and tips, share experiences and tap into some technologies that can be a real help to a small business owner. Practical, pragmatic and with useful information that might make your next challenge a bit easier.
I don't know about you, but I can’t imagine working for ‘the man’ again… There are days where I’m wondering where the next gig is going to come from, but by and large I’m really surprised at how much my mind has opened since making the change. Here’s my list of the things I love about working for myself in this ‘Free Agent Nation’*
1. There is a fabulous community of like-minded people out there. Some in similar and related businesses and some not so much, but there is something to be shared and/or learnt in so many situations. I’m struck by the generosity of people who want to help you succeed, even when there is absolutely nothing in it for them. This ‘sharing economy’ is one of the best things I’ve found and really enjoy the mind-set.
2. The concept of freedom of thinking has taken on a whole new meaning. There are lots of ‘rules’ in large organisations and after a while it is almost impossible to stop looking beyond them… Working in an environment where my thinking is only limited by me is quite delicious and not even something I realised I was missing, until I got myself into this new way of working. I’m now working with open possibilities and 'why nots?’ which is energising and refreshing and I hope I never take it for granted.
3. Sometimes the money is tight, the cashflow is out of whack, things don’t come to fruition when you hoped they might…. this is also a part of that freedom brought through choice. But we have learnt to ‘live lean’ when we need to and it is a great thing to be reminded of what is really important and spend the money there.
4. I’m still amazed at how many tools, technologies and solutions that are out there for people running a small business - at no cost or low cost… Products like Canva, which I will rave about in another blog soon, can provide a small business with a very professionally designed look and feel for almost no money at all… and that is just the start! Experts with tips to help you refresh your website, grow your content marketing capability, even learn how to write a successful blog! I am taking advantage of them left, right and centre and would encourage you to do so.
5. The biggie… time with the family. Some weeks time is short and other weeks there is more breathing room and less of a crazy juggle. We have three school aged kids all with a different set of activities, interests and needs, and we don’t get to it all every week. But the choice is mine and I really value that.
And that’s the bottom line for me, my ‘why bother?’. The choice is mine.
*Free Agent Nation is the title of a book by Daniel Pink, written in 2002 examining a future of working for yourself.