7 Years Self-Employed and What I've Learned
Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of when I opened my first Peekaboo Child Care location in Vaughan. I officially left the "security" of the corporate world seven years ago in order to ramp things up to get my own business started and I can't believe that the time has passed so quickly. In the months, weeks and days leading up to our official opening in 2007 my husband didn't sleep much. Me? Well I can sleep through a freight train running through my bedroom (helpful btw when you have twins who wake up for feedings every 2 hours!). Instead I dealt with my stress in waking hours by feeling constantly on edge and perhaps faking a smile every now and then.
The first year was the hardest by far. Did I make the right decision? Why on earth did I leave my fabulous paying career to own a start up again? Can I ever go back if this doesn't work out? Does the stress get less and the days get easier? Will we actually make money or have to eat Mac & Cheese for years to come? And of course, "Oh my god I am responsible for all of these kids that come to my daycare and all these teachers that work for me! What was I thinking?". That's a lot of responsibility. Wow. Overwhelming really.
These are the questions that many of you can relate to I am sure. Both those of you that took the plunge like me and also those that are wondering whether they should. I can't tell you what your decision should be but I can tell you that I made the right decision and love my new career choice. I had several reasons for making this choice - my kids, my own self-satisfaction, my future, my sanity, my values, and my need to be "unbored" and challenged. And for the most part I have come to realize my dream. Sure some days are hard. Really hard. And others I can go to sleep knowing I made a difference in someone's life today. Whether it be a child we care for at Peekaboo who needed a hug from me to get through the day, or a teacher who works for me that asked for my help or confided in me about their dreams, or a parent who was terrified to leave their child with a caregiver for the first time that I reassured.
Passion. That is one thing for sure that I can tell you that you must have to start your own business and to keep the fire burning day after day. Without passion you will forget why you did this in the first place. It will make the bad days worse and the great days just mediocre. When you are working 7 days a week at times and doing payroll at midnight some days to fit it all in, you need passion to keep going (and coffee of course!). Self-employment is not easy. If anyone tells you it is, they are lying or just darn lucky. And if you ever think you have lost the passion it is time to move on - sell, retire, resign, exit. Find it again. Find a new passion. Just do something.
For all of you that have helped support me along the way to get me to this momentous 7th birthday celebration of Peekaboo Trowers location, I thank you. It's been a great ride and I would do it all again!
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