This week, I’m applying for jobs. Full-time with a paycheck and a schedule and a “boss.” And in some ways, it feels like defeat.
I left my full-time arts admin job in 2008 to open my own yoga studio and spa. I did market research, wrote a business plan, made sales projections and a budget, borrowed tens of thousands of dollars from my family and took a leap!
Despite long hours and hard work, it was total entrepreneurial bliss until I fell short of projections time and again, drained my savings, maxed my credit cards on groceries and living expenses and ended up closing the studio just as I was starting to break even (5 years later.) I was physically, emotionally, and financially bankrupt.
So I took a year to do some serious introspection, meditation and self-healing. I worked with teachers, healers, advisors and coaches and about 18 months later, I’m healthy and happy physically and emotionally and so there’s just one more piece to heal… FINANCIAL!
I thought I could scrape myself out of the hole I had dug on my own, but this year I finally came to the realization that I needed help.
Here are the facts:
- My expenses are consistently greater than my income even though I have trimmed everything down to the bare minimum (except rent which seems to be the biggest cost factor for me.)
- My new business (sans brick & mortar) is growing, but not fast enough.
- My debt just isn’t shrinking even though I stopped using credit cards completely about 4 months ago.
- My self-employment tax bill is more than I can pay.
In addition to cutting way back on all expenses, I am already taking the following steps toward recovery:
- Reality Check – Taking a good, hard, honest, painful look at my income vs expenses (oh how I loathe spreadsheets.)
- Education – Reading as many books and blogs and listening to podcasts about money from spiritual, energetic, emotional and practical angles.
- Plugging the Hole – Filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the help of a great attorney to discharge the consumer credit card debt.
- Buying Time – Requesting an installment payment plan for my 2014 taxes and applying for short-term government assistance for food and health care (yes, there really is help available if you know where to look!)
- Seeking Out New Opportunities – Re-opening my brain to ideas and options I had previously ruled out or had left unconsidered.
So let’s talk about that last one because, surprisingly, it’s the hardest.
Let me preface this by saying I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive network of family and friends. And yet, I have heard the following many times “Why don’t you just get a job? Wouldn’t it be easier?” Of course, it’s always said with the well-meaning intention of being helpful…
And then I would get defensive — I’m an entrepreneur. I can never work for someone else again. I need my freedom. Trader Joe’s is so much better when you can do your grocery shopping on a Tuesday afternoon!!!!
Is it possible to find a full-time position with a company that you admire and believe in that supports a more entrepreneurial way of working? Innovation, flexible schedule, creativity AND a steady pay check?
I think this is becoming more and more a reality as our economy shifts into a more connection-based model (read some Seth Godin goodness to learn more about this!)
Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich fame recently blogged about finding your “dream job” and how this could be an important pillar to your success as an entrepreneur.
NOBODY talks about this because it’s not the sexy narrative of throwing it all to the wind and becoming an entrepreneur.
My goal isn’t to sell you bullshit narratives. It’s to show you how you can deliberately, methodically, and successfully create a Rich Life.
A Dream Job can be the BEST support system for doing exactly that.
For example, what if your Dream Job paid you $20,000 more?
What if you could switch industries?
What if you could build the skills to eventually start your own business — while your job PAYS YOU to learn?
Your Dream Job will give you:
An enviable income. We’re willing to work — as long as we know we’ll be compensated handsomely for our time. (Btw, you can use your savings to “fuel” your business or whatever you want.)
Free training. A great job offers you the ability to build your skills (and pays you to do it!)
Amazing connections. People say, “It’s all about who you know.” YES! This is exactly how you meet amazing people. Not by reading some stupid subreddit on dodgeball.
When people ask me, “Ramit, should I get a Dream Job or start a business?”
The answer is simple: Yes and yes.
Be realistic. The fact is the vast majority of us will have a job throughout our lives… we’re going to talk about how to create a career that gives you MORE freedom, not less — freedom to make more money, to take more risks, and to craft the life you want.
Not just a job you trudge to every day or something you say, “Yeah, it’s a job” when asked about it.
SOMETHING YOU LOVE. You spend enough hours there. You SHOULD love it.
Now, THAT’S what I’m looking for. And when you put it like that, “getting a job” WHILE building my new business sounds a little more like self-care and a smart choice than defeat.
Tell me: What do you think? Send me a note or comment below.