I often find myself decompressing at the end of a stressful day snuggled in with my husband and a glass of wine saying, "Some days I wish I never knew what it is like to work for myself."
Have you ever been there?
The days that money is tight, your schedule is chaos and your mind is exhausted you find yourself daydreaming about quitting this entrepreneur life and getting a real, big-girl job.
It's not a simple life to live as an entrepreneur, that's for sure. Today I am taking a stroll down memory lane, to those days before I knew what it felt like to be responsible for a living, breathing business baby.
Here are the things I wish I would have known before I jumped head first into this wild world.
It's 95% work + 5% glamour.
This shit is hard. Seriously.
I know you can do hard stuff. You are smart and capable and kind of a badass, but, for real...you're going to cry. Not the cute kind either - full, ugly face, drooling on yourself crying will happen.
Those pictures you see of the #girlboss hanging out poolside with her friends, sipping champagne and enjoying the good life aren't showing the whole picture; like the fact that their phones are buzzing with hundreds of notifications they can't keep up with and even though they appear to be blissfully soaking up the sun their mind is racing because they caught a glimpse of the newest email in their inbox.
The hours are long and the pay sucks.
The world makes it seem like it's so easy to be self-employed and free of all responsibility, but it requires at least double the energy you ever used working for someone else. Say hello to 12+ hour days, answering emails from bed and using the weekends to "just catch up a bit."
Spoiler: you don't ever really catch up.
I know you want to do that thing where you roll around in piles of cash and buy yourself that new, totally boss outfit you've been admiring (which you won't ever wear, because, sweatpants...), but it doesn't work like that. At first at least, money is tight, and it feels really scary.
But don't worry, everyone feels this way, even if they aren't saying it out loud...more on this later.
Your relationships aren't immune.
I don't know the easiest way to say this.
You will lose friends along the way who don't understand why you can't make it to happy hour as often. Your partner may get frustrated when you have to turn down their invitation to restart Parks and Recreation and eat popcorn for dinner on the couch. Your dog will look at you with that look that makes your heart sink into your gut, because all he wants to do is go for a walk, and you just keep looking at the damn computer.
Your skin isn't thick enough yet.
You may say you are prepared for criticism and negativity, but you aren't.
It stings. And you'll probably cry some more.
You're going to want to give up.
There will be days when you think, "I can't do it anymore."
You'll stroll into your office, ready to take on the day and realize your taxes are due, your Instagram engagement is down and you just spent how much on a Facebook ad that returned zilch for you.
You will browse for jobs and your eyes will light-up as you see benefits packages and salaries far sturdier than what you can pay yourself. You'll fantasize about wearing nicely pressed slacks and putting your makeup on every day, thinking maybe you belong there instead.
And then you'll pour Baileys in your coffee, blast some Beyonce and maybe do a little of that ugly crying again, because you work for yourself, and that's allowed. After you get that out of your system you'll remember this:
Everyone feels the same. Even if they aren't saying it out loud.
This crazy life you chose is not easy, glamorous or well-compensated, but it makes your heart feel full. Those messages from the people you helped, you know the ones that made you get misty eyed, that's why you do this. Not for the money.
I know you see that girl on Instagram who seems to be rocking it so much better than you, but even she has a friend that doesn't understand her passion or a dog that really needs a walk.
Nothing worth having comes easy, girl. You know this.
Remember the day you decided to start this endeavor? Remember how full of life you felt that day? Keep thinking like that. What you are doing is valuable. The amazing days you have, doing what you love are worth the bad days every now and then.
It will get easier every day. Just keep going. Because, here's the deal:
You are so much stronger than you think.
You're capable of doing so much more than you ever imagined.
The world needs people just like you to keep doing what you're doing, even on the days it feels impossible.