Yesterday marked my 6-year anniversary of going full-time with my business. The question on my mind lately has been: Can I do this for another six years?
Last summer, my boyfriend and I had lunch with a family friend who has had quite the career, from corporate work interspersed with various entrepreneurial projects. Admittedly, I was already dealing with some anxiety, and probably some depression if I’m being totally honest with myself, and so I left that meeting feeling exhausted and defeated. Did I have a lifetime of reinventing myself every few years ahead of me? Did I want to reinvent myself every few years?
But, what’s the alternative? Part of the reason this friend has traveled so many different paths throughout his career is genuine curiosity and experimentation. But the other reason is necessity — every business opportunity was born out of corporate layoffs or the changing landscape of the field he was working in and what was actually viable in the market at the time. While I’ve always known that a traditional desk job isn’t any more stable than running my own business, I think somewhere in the back of my mind I took comfort in knowing I could always find a desk job if I no longer wanted to do the work in my business or if things changed in a way that I didn’t want to follow. That lunch reminded me that job stability is an illusion. And it scared me. I felt hopeless, like I would always have to fight to earn a living.
Today, months removed from that lunch and also in a much better mental state, I can recall that lunch and our friend’s path as my (bright-eyed, brand-new entrepreneur) boyfriend does — an example that your possibility is only limited by your own creativity and determination. Sure, the unknown is still scary. I don’t know what my business is going to look like six years from now, or even if I will still have a business (though I hope I do). But the beauty of it all is that I don’t have to know.
I started this business because I was sitting at a desk wondering if I could keep doing that for forty years. And you know what? I don’t think there’s anything I want to do for forty years. I want to grow and change. I want to explore the world with genuine curiosity and experimentation and see what comes of it.
I want stability, too — but maybe that’s what the busy times are for, to pad your bank account for when things are in flux.
So, six years in, I’m learning to accept the ups and downs of business. I don’t know what the next six years will bring, but I’m excited to see what happens next.
P.S. Here’s what I wrote for my 5-year anniversary.