Knowing when it’s time to grow
I love just about everything about being self-employed. I love being my own boss, setting the tone of the organisation, working with the people I choose and delivering what I want in the way I want to deliver it.
I like setting my own hours, choosing my own holidays and working from my choice of location.
So why did I leave my business for a job?
Was it the money? Nup. When I pressed pause on my business it had turned over a six figure income four years running and was organically growing.
This makes no sense at all! You may yelp. Why would I swim against the rise of the age of entrepreneurship and return to the ranks of ‘employed’ if I was making money?
There were five reasons.
To set the scene, having a job would never have been my idea however in the winter of 2016 a colleague took me for a coffee and asked me to consider applying for her job. While I scoffed at first for all of the abovementioned reasons that coffee required me to think deeply about my life, what I wanted to achieve in it and how. I realised that my business wasn’t cutting it for me at that point in life.
- My business wasn’t generating the social impact I want to have on the world. While my business had given me the freedom and income I sought and it certainly did ‘good’ things, it did not offer the influence nor opportunities I needed to make the big changes I want to see in my community. As one of my main drivers in work that social impact is essential for me.
- Things were changing in the environment external to my business in 2016. The State Government (this is NSW Australia) had sacked over 15,000 staff and I knew that many of these were setting up consultancy services similar to mine. They had the inside connections and know how that I hadn’t been privy to and they would be hungry for work.
- I’d reached a learning divide and while there had always been mentors, friends and colleagues willing to support my growth I needed some solid up-skilling that would require me to be employed for a period of time.
- I was tired of hustling. There had been a lot of chaos in my personal life in previous years and between work I’d been juggling raising three children, caring for my unwell dad and navigating various mental health services for my (then) husband. Not knowing where my next contract was coming from, even though I knew it would come in eventually just became exhausting.
- I was lonely. While my business did employ several gorgeous people on a part time basis it wasn’t enough work for them yet still a large burden on me to make sure the work was there. I wanted the consistency of colleagues.
So the opportunity was presented and I lept. It wasn’t easy in the early days to shift between entrepreneur and CEO however as I grew in the new role my confidence followed and I was able to make the pieces fit together.
Is it working out? So far, so good and in the meantime my business patiently waits. In my heart I will always be an entrepreneur and while I look forward to embracing that again in the realm of self-employment for now ‘intrepreneur’ it is.
Kerry Grace is a community engagement practitioner currently leading a regional development organisation in NSW Australia and managing her own company Evolve Group Network.
Kerry’s work focuses on sustainable small regional communities. She is a strong advocate of people leading the life that matters most (by their own definition), a mum and a big (read obsessed) fan of alpacas whom she adores to watch roaming on her hobby farm in regional NSW, Australia.