For years I had been yearning to have more time to work on my side business. I desperately snuck in time while commuting to work, while “relaxing” with some television at night, and on the weekends. When I quit my full-time job, I had all the time I had been wishing for and this summer I decided to really hunker down and throw myself into my business. And that’s when progress came to a screeching halt.
I spent the summer completely bored out of my mind. I put too much pressure on myself to make progress with my business, so it was no longer enjoyable and doing any small task was a big to-do. I was constantly switching back and forth between ideas, spending my days trying to decide how to utilize all the time I had. Part of this problem comes from my lack of discipline when it comes to taking on a project and sticking to it, but the other part lies in the fact that I had no constraints to limit me. With nothing structuring my days, I had no real urgency to get much done because there was always the next day, or the next day, or the next day until the end of time.
After spending many weeks just sitting around unsure of what to do, stuck in decision paralysis, I decided to get a part-time job. I needed something to do/somewhere to go each day, and honestly I needed the burden of not making any money lifted a little bit. I initially looked for a low-key retail position, but the perfect role for me opened up at Jenny Lemons the day I had my interview. I’m now happy to say that I’m the admin at a small local women-owned business that sells quirky, crafty, arty things!
With this bigger, more involved role, I was worried though that having a part-time job would leave me with less time to create and work on my business. Somehow, the opposite happened. Suddenly I was completely inspired and decisive and itching to get back to working on my business, except now I had much less time for it. I think this phenomenon occurred for 4 reasons:
- Having something else to do during the day put me back in a familiar place of getting inspired because the pressure was off to utilize my days to the fullest. What I’m able to get done in the time I have is satisfying and leaves me looking forward to the next session.
- Working for a business similar to what I hope mine will one day be really lit the fire in me to make progress. It was a bit difficult to spend the day processing other business’s wholesale orders, inputting new purchases from small businesses, and not feel like I needed to hop on that train immediately.
- I am immersing myself more in the arty small business world! I spend my day talking to people who have been where I’ve been and understand the kind of life I want to lead. I no longer feel so much shame in wanting to have my own success outside of my job and the company I work for gets that I have other priorities. It’s amazing how the lack of guilt and friction from your dreams makes them feel more achievable.
- Surely a sign of the unhealthy ways my brain is wired, having less time to do what I want makes me urge to fill it even more. When I had entire days to spend on my art, there was no urgency so I would just procrastinate. Now under a pseudo-deadline of fitting things within the hours I’m not working at Jenny Lemons, the old student-mentality kick-in-the-butt gets me moving.
Perhaps my body just likes to be extra busy and doesn’t know what to do with itself when it’s not. It’s something I’m still working no since leaving my full-time job. I certainly got used to working basically 2 jobs at once for quite a while.
Of course now my problem is kind of back to square one, not having enough time to work on my business. But my involvement with Jenny Lemons gives me things to be inspired by, and ways to be productive when I’m not so inspired. I’d call it a win-win, especially now that I finally have coworkers again! Working on your own business by yourself during a pandemic was desperately isolating. I now have others to talk art with and bounce ideas off of besides my husband who is generally confused about this whole thing.
All this to say, I might not be completely barreling through all the plans I had made for when I could work on my business full-time. This wasn’t the path that I envisioned for myself, but it also wasn’t one that I specifically did not want. I had never considered this kind of hybrid model of working for myself while working for someone else in the exact same field. I may have less time to focus solely on my business right now, but I am gaining so much in experience working in a fully fledged small business, learning from those around me, and getting inspired by the work I do every day. It’s funny how all I thought I needed was more time for my business, but with less of it, I’m able to get so much more.
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