I took some time out this week to attend my youngest nephew’s Christmas concert. He’s 8 and he had 8 lines to say. My nephew’s dramatic skills really stole the show (OK, I’m biased) and I came away a very proud auntie.
The concert started at 1.30pm, and this time last year I wouldn’t have been able to attend without asking permission to take the day off work. As my job was quite a distance away, a 1.30pm commitment meant a half-day holiday wasn’t possible, and my boss didn’t allow people to ‘work from home’ unless they were going to be in the house all day.
A more flexible choice
Now I’m an entrepreneur, I don’t have those petty issues to deal with. The only person I have to answer to is me. So rather than take a whole day off and have the work and emails stack up in my absence, I’ve got the flexibility to balance work and play. I spent the morning at a client’s offices, to start work on a communications review. After the play, I went on to attend a Christmas networking meeting where I caught up with some familiar faces and met some shiny new ones.
Entrepreneurship is more common than you think
In the UK in the 12 months to 31 March 2016, there were 611,372 company incorporations with Companies House. Almost three-quarters of companies on the register were aged less than 10 years. These statistics demonstrate that more and more people are swapping corporate life for entrepreneurship and starting a small business. But why is this happening?
Same old story
Over the past year, I’ve met many of these individuals who've left their 9-5 job to set up a business on their own. They range from HR professionals turned business coaches, Hotel Managers turned Hospitality Consultants, to Marketing gurus turned Tea Room owners. Most recently, I encountered a former compliance professional who made the break from financial services (similar to myself) to follow his passion for art.
Almost everyone’s reason is the same: we’ve chosen to get a better work/life balance.
A new lease of life
Feelings of being miserable from Monday to Friday have been replaced with fresh new ‘get up and go’. People who had gone stale in an unchallenging role feel excited about the challenges ahead. We're all learning something new every day, and our eyes are being opened to new possibilities.
At the networking event following the Christmas play, I got chatting to a lovely lady who had attended my blogging masterclass the previous month. She told me how I had inspired her to make blogging a part of her marketing strategy. Having just left her corporate role to become an entrepreneur, she told me she’d recently been back to visit her former colleagues, and the one thing they pointed out was how relaxed she looked and behaved. All signs of stress on her face had disappeared - the sparkle had returned to her eyes.
The conversation that afternoon left me with a warm, happy glow. A glow not fuelled by alcohol, but by the satisfaction that comes with entrepreneurship (and possibly a bit of Christmas cheer crept in there too!).
As someone who loves storytelling, I’m always inspired to hear the experiences of others who’ve taken a similar path in life. If you’ve any thoughts or stories to share from your own career, please do share them below.
To all my fellow newbie business owners out there, apparently we’ve got 3 years to ‘make it’. So let’s get on with it!