Before You Work From Home

(continued from last time...the gripping conclusion!)

One of the hardest days I can recall in recent memory was telling my fantastic boss that I was leaving. I couldn't even fathom what to say. She had taken a chance on me in a time when I really needed it and I didn't want to diminish how grateful I felt toward her. She was an awesome boss, trusting and full of guidance. 

My husband couldn't "talk about it" any longer. I'd want to rehash some portion of my pro/con list until he finally sighed "Make a decision already!" So I did. I explained to my boss what I had planned, what I was going to do, and that I would stay on as long as she needed me, to train in my replacement, whatever she wanted.

As it turned out, the department heads decided not to replace me and to merge my job duties across the department. I was devastated. I didn't wanted to make more work for my team! I literally hurt when I found out that after I left, no one would be in my office and no one would take the torch from me. 

But the decision had been made. I needed to move forward! I worked for about four more weeks and left the same way I arrived: low key and as little fanfare as possible (I declined a going away party). And then I made the transition to my home office. Which was really a desk in the corner of our den.

My new home. Hopefully for the foreseeable future. 

Let me tell you, being your own boss is hard, frustrating, rewarding, exciting, and requires immense amounts of willpower and confidence. And that's on a good day! But I didn't know any of this. In fact, as the first week went by, I started to realize the bitter truth:

My first year was full of ups and downs. I tried to be a planning, meticulous fool. I was busy but it was doing things like organizing, researching, planning, straightening up my desk, printing adorable checklists, updating my Facebook posts. IT WASN'T INCOME PRODUCING ACTIVITIES. I didn't even know what that WAS, for crying out loud! I was punting everyday, hoping that my busyness would somehow translate into income.

Then came the marriage stress. My husband seemed to be getting frustrated because the house wasn't any cleaner even though I was home more and honestly, what was I doing all day? I couldn't answer him sometimes. The time just went by so fast! Then I started to resent him for questioning me as I was getting my feet wet. I tried to explain everything, but all he saw was less income and a messy house. Trying to think with my "guy brain", I can kind of understand what he was thinking, but then my "girl brain" jumps in and is all, "Why isn't he more supportive??!" 

*sigh* The dreaded inner dialogue.

But things got better. My hubby and I communicate more. I'm WAY happier with less stress so I'm easier to be around. I'm starting to realize that my boss (me) isn't so bad. We're over a year into this journey and I feel like I have a better handle on things. I feel like I have figured out my path.

I've also come to realize that:

  • Facebook is an alternate dimension where time inexplicably get eaten away in large chunks, most likely by piranhas or aliens. 
  • Twitter is a great place to start a debate . . . about politics and climate change and abortion because THAT always goes well and feeds your purpose for being on there in the first place.
  • Instagram will suck you into their feed when you're trying to post amazing things.
  • Pinterest. That's all I'm going to say about that.
  • My job was an important part of our family's life. Even if I didn't leave the house.
  • All social media will eventually make you feel like crap because you forget it's everyone's highlight reel.
  • Guilt is the strongest emotion you will feel when you first start working from home. 
  • Your marriage either needs to shift and go with the flow or it will not work. Your spouse needs to be on board. And you need to be understanding. 
  • Fear is always a factor. And not just yours! Your spouse fears the unknown.
  • Confidence is key. Everyone has an opinion but have the confidence to know when their voices don't matter. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. After all, no one is signing your paycheck but you.
  • If you're inside your comfort zone, you're probably doing it wrong.

Today I feel like I'm getting a better handle on things. There's still so much I have yet to learn (are landing pages important? What's SEO? Should I create an online classes? Why does my graphic look like a cat just threw up?) and everyday is a new adventure. I'm getting better at asking for help and admitting I don't know it all. It's a struggle and a triumph in very close proximity to each other.

Would I change it? No. My journey is my journey and I hope to share my experiences with my kids when they decide to become little entrepreneurs. Are there days where I feel misunderstood and underappreciated? You bet. But you find that inner source of willpower, strength, and kick-assery and do your best to stay positive no matter what.

Because the bottom line is that not everyone is going to support your dreams. Does it mean those people don't matter? No. It means you have to protect your goals, plans, ideas, and creative content like they're your cubs and you're a scary, protective, pissed off mama bear.

ecause honestly, some days you are.

Mary RuhlandComment