For years I've been dead set on being a full time entrepreneur running a successful business, but I've come to realize that may never happen and I'm at peace with it.
Since returning to the 9-5 grind after 4 years of being self employed, I've told myself to keep my eyes on the prize and this is a temporary stepping stone which will later allow me to focus 100% on my start up Rated 18 Shoes, but I've decided I don't want to. Not because I'm not committed to its success, I will continue to put my blood, sweat and tears into it, but because a) my conscience would not let me and b) I'm enjoying the security of having a job again - so I realized to have the best of both worlds I have to let go of what I thought my life would be.
I started Rated 18 with the intent of empowering women whose abuse as children was facilitated through child marriage and to prevent more girls from falling into that trap. It would be amazing if Rated 18 started making enough income to cover costs including a salary for myself so I could quit my job, but the salary I would need per month to maintain a similar standard of living could pay for an entire term of school fees for over 60 girls. So I asked myself, would I be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that? Absolutely not.
While I liked the flexibility and other perks of being my own boss for 4 years, now that I'm employed again I realized I also missed the security of a good job. I'm comfortable where I am, which is often frowned upon, but I am. That doesn't mean I'm not working hard or pushing for better, it means that as I strive for more I'm also content with where I am now (and I acknowledge that has a lot to do with having an amazing boss and working for an institution that cares about its employees, which I'm so grateful for).
I started Rated 18 for a particular purpose, and I started to ask myself is it possible to maintain the "pureness" of purpose and personally earn enough to afford a comfortable life? The answer is yes, but that means letting go of the picture I had for my life and continuing to work for other people. I felt like accepting this meant I was selling out because I just couldn't hack it, and maybe that's true but when put it in the perspective of a bigger purpose (which right now is embodied by Rated 18) I realized I actually don't care if I'm not considered a "real entrepreneur".
All of this is to say, we all have a picture of how we want our future to turn out and I spent years chasing that, but since I let go of this image and started being guided instead by purpose, I've felt a peace I've never felt before.
I'm blessed to have found peace and purpose this early in my career, it's definitely easier said than done, and if you're reading this I hope my story shows you that it's possible. It may mean letting go of the future you pictured and that's ok - that won't mean you a failure because at the end of the day your peace and happiness is the biggest success you'll ever find.
1. Know what drives you and find a good fit
Understand what excited you most about being an entrepreneur and, if you can, find a job that feeds that. For me the best part of being an entrepreneur was the flexibility I had around my schedule and being able to tap into my creative side.
2. It's okay to start over
I am currently in my second job since I rejoined the workforce, because I realized what I needed from a job and the first role I had just wasn't fulfilling those needs (refer to point No.1 above). It's okay to admit that something you had high hopes for just isn't working out and to move on; working and being happy doesn't always have to be a trade off.
3. Keep an open mind
I ended up in my current role quite by chance but it has opened my eyes to so many possibilities and opportunities I had never considered before. I previously hadn't realized that my experience building businesses from scratch entails a lot of project management skills and after doing more research on the career path I am now studying towards my PMP. So as much as you may have your mind set on going back to being a full time entrepreneur (I definitely would love to), also consider other career paths you may enjoy, it doesn't make you a sell out.