#5 – Visibility (in lieu of security)
I spent the first part of my working life chasing security. I worked at some of the biggest companies and consultancies in the country and all I got to show for my troubles was three layoffs. I finally realized that the security of Fortune 500 life was an illusion and traded it in for visibility, which is to say that there are still bad times, but you can usually seem them coming (and have time to react). In a large company, any day could be the day that your department gets eliminated. In your own company, your customers can leave you, but they can’t all do it on the same day.
#4 – The ability to work from home
The older I get, the more I value each of my hours. As an entrepreneur, I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to work from home, which eliminates hours of commuting each week. I often wake up thinking about work, and can simply walk into the next room and begin typing away while the coffee is brewing. And if you ever schedule a videoconference with me, you can rest assured that I’m wearing sweatpants, just out of frame.
#3 – Learning, learning, learning
The world is changing faster than ever and that means a constant need for learning. Everyone is better off keeping their skills up to date, but it’s an absolute imperative for business owners. My business endeavors in recent years have required me to learn more broadly and deeply than I could have ever imagined, and I would even go so far as to say that if you don’t enjoy learning, you won’t enjoy being an entrepreneur in this day and age.
#2 – Full utilization
Back in my consulting days, “full utilization” meant that you were being billed out at your hourly rate for 40 hours a week to a paying client. And yet, I never felt fully utilized. There were always skills or qualities that didn’t fit into the round hole of a particular role or job description, and so they were left at home each morning. One of the wonderful things about being a business owner is that I get to show up each day as the real me, unabridged and whole.
#1 – Work life abundance
I feel very fortunate to be able to integrate my professional life and my personal life into one abundant life. If I’m reading an article about how to be more persuasive, it’s both work and pleasure. If I’m fooling around with a new Facebook feature, it’s both fun and a part of my job. And when I sit down to write a blog post like this one, it’s both a deadline and a privilege to be able to share my perspective on the entrepreneurial life.
What are you most thankful for as an entrepreneur? Please share your personal top reasons in the comments below.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is a business coach and the founder of www.CartCentric.com, a friendsourcing tool for online shopping.