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One Thing you Need to Persevere in Self-Employment

by bevbarnes on August 28, 2013

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I have something to confess that I’ve only mentioned briefly – in passing. I might have misled you. You might believe that my work is my big passion in life.

It’s time to come clean.

My passion is not my work.

Okay I’ve admitted it.

My passion is not my work. My passion is being a mom.

My son is eighteen now – so the hands on part of being a mom is winding down. Maybe that’s why I can finally admit that it is being a mom rather than doing work I love that has shaped and formed my life.

I am only doing work I love because I’m a mom.

That’s what motivated me.

I didn’t have any time to waste anymore. I didn’t want to leave my son to go to a job that I hated. If I left him with a babysitter, it had to be because I loved what I was doing – otherwise I was miserable and my life didn’t make sense.

Once I had my son, every second was valuable.

And it’s still that way.

That’s why I persevered with self-employment, why I wouldn’t commit to full time jobs (and I had offers), why I started an on-line coaching business.

My goal was to get paid as much as possible for as little time as possible, doing work that I loved.

That just about eliminated every full time job I’d had – which required “face time” – time where you are sitting at a desk doing nothing and getting paid for it. I resented doing nothing at work when I could be doing nothing at home.

Of course now I wouldn’t mind getting paid for doing nothing at home – but I digress.

That’s how I became unemployable.

I could no longer follow other people’s crazy work rules when they made no sense to me. And I couldn’t stop asking questions like:

− Why do I have to be there at a certain time?
− Why does everyone have to take a coffee break?
− Why do I have to stay in the office when I no longer have any appointments?
− Why do I have to participate in meetings that never accomplish anything?
− Why do I have to convince people that I don’t even like to fund a project that I don’t believe in?

I became unemployable because I was no longer willing to give up my time to do things that weren’t as important to me as being a mom – even when my son started school – even now when he’s in cegep (college in Quebec).

Unemployable.

Being a mom gave me a reason to not accept the status quo. It gave me a reason to decide – to make a commitment to creating my own work and to stop following rules I didn’t agree with.

Everyone needs a reason to create their own work and to persevere in self-employment.

What‘s yours?

Clarity tip: Figure out why you want to be self employed. Make sure that this reason is yours and only yours. It has to be good enough, honest enough, powerful enough to give you the fuel and the energy to create your work.

Otherwise you won’t persevere, because it you aren’t a natural entrepreneur, creating your work is going to take work and sometimes it’ll be hard.

It’s not easy going against the grain – doing something that is different from most people – going for a walk at 10am or working on a blog post at midnight.

What’s your reason for creating your work and persevering? Any reason is good. But it has to be YOUR reason.

I LOVE hearing from you. Let me know in the comments below.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

julie August 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

Hi Bev. I work at home running a home daycare. It’s been 19 years. I recently became separated after 19 yrs of marriage and 2 children who remained in my care full time with no support financially. Times were tough, are tough. I started working part time after my regular work hrs and on weekends. I’m ready to venture into the unknown now, perhaps begin writing childrens short stories as I have tonnes of examples from my little ones I care for, and love dearly. Having had to work long tiring hours in the retail industry has taught me what I do not love doing, being tied to a schedule that makes me feel trapped. I am motivated to get working on my schedule, and getting joy from that, making others laugh and feel good is my goal, my passion. I thank you, Bev, for steering me in that direction several years ago when I took your workshop in Ottawa. Thank you! You inspire me daily and you should know you are truly a blessing in my life.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Julie, it’s so great to hear from you! I love that you are clearer and cleared about your joy and your passion and that you are ready to move towards it – even in this tough time for you. Thanks for your kind words. I’m so happy that this blog inspires you.

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Nathalie Bertrand August 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I!m sooooooo with you on this! I did exactly the same thing. Stayed home 10 years to raise my 3 childs. I did only things I felt in love doing and/or would enhance my life with my kids. Some have told me that I was lucky to have the means to give myself that opportunity. Let’s juste put it this way….. We’ve struggle financially and it was far from easy. But I chose to give myself the chance to live those precious years…and one day I felt the work calling. But like you I was unworkable. So I chose a line of work wher I had to use my mothering skills….. Sales rep. I did this for another 10 years. It gave me the opportunity to help my family,now young adults shape their futur in another way. I gave my kids another version of who mom was. And it was during that time that I understand that my life purpose was to coach. So once again, I made a bold move. Left my job (I was then carrer consellor), spend money I didn’t have for my tuition and begin the most exciting career after being a mom. Life Coach!!!! It’s like being a mom with a wilder, spin!

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I love hearing this Nathalie. Being a life coach is like being a mom with a wilder spin. That’s quotable. You are right about it being a choice – not luck – choosing what you want and finding a way to make it happen. You go girl! xoxoxo

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Sara Alvarado August 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I have always liked doing what I want to do when I want to do it. I became unemployable because I was a mom too and I didn’t want to have to call in sick when my child was sick. I wanted to be there when I needed to be there without asking someone. But I also became self employed because I wanted to volunteer in the community on my time and not after an 8-5 workday. And I knew the sky was the limit if I was in charge of my income and not on a salary. There are so many reasons I love being an entrepreneur, a creator, a non conforming free and liberated woman! Thanks for sharing your story Bev!

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

You are so welcome Sara. As you know I totally relate. Thanks for sharing too!

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Chris August 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Bravo! Thank you for telling your truth so beautifully! I have made the same choices for the very same reasons and was afraid to admit them. Thanks for giving me the courage to tell my truth, too.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Yay for courage Chris. There are many, many like us – I’m sure 🙂

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Dale August 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thank you….my life this year had been going through major transition and the 2,times I’ve taken the time to read your emails…your answers has been dead on for me.
One of the reasons I’ve been self employed all theses years is the freedom. By you asking that question, you have allowed me to remember. So I say thank you.
Have a great day.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Thanks Dale. Glad that this post helped you to remember your truth.

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Gail Kenny August 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

This blog hit the spot, Bev. My son is 18 too. He is the youngest of my two children and about to leave home for college. My purpose for most my life has been to be a mom. I’m also a mind-body coach now. As I grow my business I get into those hard places of making it work I find myself considering working for somebody else again. But I too have made work and life style choices different than the norm and I know deep inside my heart that I can’t go back to that way of living. This gives me the incentive to keep moving forward, to work in a way that really works for me too.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Hi Gail. I’ve come to see this career creation as art. Constantly in the creative process – sometimes uncertain, sometimes joy filled but always changing and always in process. I think that I’m addicted to that – and it is really hard for me to go back – not impossible but not my first choice. Thanks for sharing Gail. It’s great to hear from you.

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Sarah Papp August 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm

My reason is my 6 month old daughter! It’s a juggle figuring out how to take care of her and do a coaching business (sometimes without a whole lot of sleep), but I’m figuring it out each little turtle step at a time. I’m with you that I couldn’t put her in daycare and go to a job that I hated. Now, I’m building a business and my coworker is a joyous 6 month old. Love it.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Sarah, I laughed out loud thinking of your co-worker as a joyous 6 month old. Love that!

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Monica August 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Great blog Bev. I am not a Mom, but I worked in a rules based environment for many years. Thank you for sharing!

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Hi Monica. Self-employment allows you to make your own rules and also gives you choices that are sometimes difficult but you get to own them. Thanks for commenting!

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Stacey August 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Bev, this post so resonated with me! My daughter just started college last month. I am currently transitioning out of my current field into entrepreneurship for all the reasons you mentioned. Including the fact that I no longer wish to be paid to be told what to do! LOL

I want to build my work around my life and not my life around my work.

Thank you for this post… it reminded me of why I’m on this path and that I need to keep pressing on!

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Hi Stacey. I love that paradigm shift – building work around your life and not life around your work. That is what this is all about. I think that when you become a parent you really get it.

Keep pressing on!

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Allison Evans August 30, 2013 at 12:06 am

Exactly the same reason, Bev! Giving birth showed me my power in a way I had never felt it before. After that I was changed. I was never going to be underpaid again, because I finally knew my value. If I ever needed a reminder, I just had to look at my daughter, to whom I was priceless. When I think of all my (2) children have taught me these past 11 years, I am so grateful that I had the time and space to be a full time mom.

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Allison, I love what you said. Amen!

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Lynne August 30, 2013 at 2:43 am

Excellent post Bev!

The reason I chose self-employment is for the infinite possibilities of creativity!
As an entrepreneur, I may chose to develop whichever service/product/program I wish. I may explore a diversity of avenues (without having to obtain permission from anyone). I may define my schedule, my lifestyle. I simply LOVE it!!!

My entrepreneurial project is a passionate experience 🙂
It is f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. on many levels!

To self-employment & creativity!
Lynne

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks Lynne! Here’s to creativity 🙂

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Sara September 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Your blog post was perfectly timed, Bev. I know that my path is to work for myself and only myself; some days, though (like today), my thinking tells me that my dream lives in a far away land and I get discouraged. Your post reminds me that thoughts are just thoughts and that I have the power to choose what to believe and how to act. For me, my choice is to generate a life where I live to work and not work to live. My choice is to actively build a compassionate and caring business that gives me personal freedom and satisfaction, and the stability I need to have a family of my own (which isn’t too far off!). Thank you for your wise words and willingness to share!

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bevbarnes September 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Sara, I wrote this post to encourage you (and others) to choose the life you want consciously – whatever it may be, no matter how long it takes to achieve. Thanks so much for sharing and letting me know that you “got” it.

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Colleen Ingram September 10, 2013 at 6:51 am

Great personal observation and share! I’m going to share it as well 🙂

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Laura Bourassa September 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I really do love you Bev! This is THE question, isn’t it? I had worked in private practice as a lawyer and hated it…the billing, the competition with my peers, the enless and escalating conflicts the mercenary practices I was asked to engage in. So I quit that and I worked in government for decades, until I collapsed into a deep major depression and had to leave. I never fit there either…I swear, laugh too loud, care too much, work too hard, expect too much…so then I worked as a consultant doing work overseas with aid organizations and was crushed by the corruption, arrogance and my sense of the futility of what I was doing. Why work for myself? So I can do work that is in line with my values, so that I can be true to myself, so that I can be honest and open and kind and fair, so that my work can nourish my soul, not erode it, so that I can stop trying so hard to be who I am not. Thanks for posing the question. I will keep sitting with it. Hugs,

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bevbarnes September 11, 2013 at 12:38 am

It’s mutual Laura! I LOVE your answers. Thanks for sharing them and taking the time to come up with something powerful for you.

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