Employee vs Entrepreneur

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I am five months into an accounting contract.  I originally only planned to be there three months. The company extended the contract due to internal turnover. So, at this point, they still have a need for me. I’ve been asked more than once to come on as a full-time employee and every time I decline the offer.  Although I think it’s a great company, I cannot with a clear conscious commit to fulltime employment. Here is why

  • I am not ready to go back into employee mode at this juncture. I’ve spent sixteen years as an employee, so I know intimately what that life is like. That is not to diminish the experiences, knowledge or accomplishments I had as an employee. Everything I learned in that format I use daily as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a new challenge and I am still learning how to navigate its terrain. I have acquired so many new skills and even tapped into parts of myself that I didn’t know existed.
  • I feel more freedom to create the type of work that is both empowering for myself and others. While accounting has provided a lot from a financial standpoint, it has rarely been the career that has made me jump out of bed with excitement. It is practical, logical and analytical.  As an accountant you rarely get to live outside of the lines of that structure, however, as a consultant, you have more freedom to suggest and create. There are day to day task that must take place but there is also a space for new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Consultants tend fit in that space and to focus on more project-based work. Consultants attempt to find solutions to problems that either the daily task master don’t have time to resolve or are too close to the process to be innovative.
  • I have a far greater plan than being a team of one. Let’s be honest after closing the books for that many years I can literally do it in my sleep at this point. What I am hoping to start creating from my sleep is a team of efficient and effective accountants who want to continue that legacy or create their own. I feel like my role has transitioned from bean counter to bean connector, meaning offering the opportunities for others to find and fulfill their own purpose. I feel like I would be more useful at cultivating these opportunities as an entrepreneur as opposed to a being a full-time employee. My goal is to have connections within both corporate and small business spheres to then refer these trainees and mentees too. It has been my experience with millennials that they are looking for something more than what currently exists. I also believe it is a part of my purpose to empower others so they can carry the torch.
  • Flexibility is one of the other perks I enjoy as a consultant. While most people are pigeonholed into 2-4 weeks of vacation, as a consultant I can take off as much time as I want. I have always lived far away from family and friends. As I’ve gotten older I have become more attuned to getting reconnected with loved ones. This tugging is far more important than a paycheck. So a vacation schedule in alignment with my current life is more like 2-3 months. This concept is a hard sell to a boss who has not even made this an option for themselves.  In most cases, the sentiment is that you must have a higher pay grade to demand that kind of work-life-balance. However, as a consultant, you learn how to creatively balance the concept of ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’. For me, that just involves demanding a higher pay rate and creating more cash reserves on the front end.

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  • I truly enjoy this adventure into the unknown. The truth is I don’t know what is going to happen next. I always feel like I am being lead spiritually so there is no need to know all the steps just yet. The mystery is somewhat of a balancing act.  There are times when nervousness and uncertainty bring to the surface all my worse fears.  There are other times when I hear or feel that people really see and connect with my vision.  Those times confirm that I am headed in the right direction. Even in my failures, I am taking them as just an extra step needed to get the bigger picture. Almost like a rinse and repeat step just to make sure you got it.
  • Finally, I am attempting to get two businesses off the ground at the same time. My first business is going into its third year but still requires my attention. It still requires branding, marketing, sponsorships and new connections. It’s in a good space but I am now struggling with figuring out how to transition from startup phase to expansion phase. The accounting business is a lot more profitable, so I must also focus on making connections to keep it that way. Also, to somewhat merge both lives I’ve started to think about how to create a financial wellness platform to form a creative new perspective at looking at your health and your finances. The two are tied and who better to speak on that relationship? I believe this will open the door to more speaking opportunities and of course more travel.

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Needless to say, there is a lot going on at once in my world.  Although there are moments when I am exhausted, I rarely feel spiritually drained and unhappy about what I am doing.  Every day I wake up I feel more optimistic and closer to my long-term goals.  I think I will always teeter between corporate and entrepreneurship, the two are so ingrained in my experience.  The two questions I ask when I wake up each day are where do you want me to be and how can I empower others using my natural gifts and talents? I accept where that will lead me.

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Creative Women’s Co: Chicago Retreat

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This weekend I had the opportunity to attend and speak at Creative Women’s Co first all-inclusive retreat in Chicago.  This retreat was designed to allow women to step away from their busy schedule, recharge their creativity and enjoy quality conversations with like-minded creative women. This was a three-day action-packed event in the heart of downtown Chicago.  The itinerary covered everything from self-care, stress management to gratitude and finding balance. It was held in an intimate space that supported creating new connections and potential future business collaborations amongst the group.  Each woman brought their unique viewpoint and experience to the table.  There was so much synchronicity in the room, that at times most women nodded in agreement as each experience resonating across the room.

This was my first time since college sharing a room with strangers.  I am very picky about who I allow in my personal space especially since we can be subtly impacted by the words and actions of others.  Although I wasn’t initially a fan of the idea, I decided to step out and go with the flow.  I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I had in common with a young lady from France and another who’d recently moved back to Chicago from Portland Oregon.  Although all three of us culturally came from different backgrounds, our stories crossed all boundaries that appeared to keep us separate.  Spiritual connection supersedes race, culture and religious background. It moves beyond the limits most of us choose to live by.  We sat up late at night after the activities for the day ended giggling and discussing entrepreneurship, careers, family, relationships, culture, and spirituality.  Each one of us discussed openly this feeling of knowingness that most people couldn’t relate to.  A knowingness that can be discovered by anyone willing to allow it in. My connection with these women was the highlight of my weekend.

Beyond that, I got a chance to share my expertise and experience with yoga and meditation. I discussed five ways to deal with the stress of working full-time and being an entrepreneur.  I shared my real life experiences and then lead the audience through a series of yoga and meditation techniques they could use in their everyday lives.  I  discussed the importance of creating space in our schedule to prevent burnout and manage stress.  The key to stress management is being aware of your stress triggers, staying attuned to your body language and using a variety of techniques to help you manage through the process.

I learned from this weekend that retreats are powerful ways to create change in your life. Retreats allow you to have a unique experience that only you and other participants can relate to.  Retreats also foster curating lifelong bonds with people from a diverse set of backgrounds. Retreats only require that you appear with an open mind.

Peace and Blessings!