Taking The Plunge is Not Just For Polar Bears – Part 1
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Today’s post is the first entry in my little serial on self-employment. Now, this isn’t the Pickwick Papers and I’m not Charles Dickens, but I am making Frugal Rules the publishing house for my story about taking the plunge into being my own boss, running my own business, and diving into the deep end of self-employment as a husband and father of three little ones. I hope you enjoy this post and keep your eyes open for future installments as I describe my journey into the strange, scary, and scintillating world of self employment.
Living in the Midwest (Omaha, Nebraska to be exact) I’ve seen an event called the Polar Bear Plunge. For those of you not versed in what the Polar Bear Plunge is, it’s a day in which people willingly throw themselves into the nearest body of water during the cold, barren winter.
Call me crazy, but I’ve always wanted to try this it as I love cold weather but haven’t worked up the courage to do it topless in front of a crowd yet. To the unsuspecting onlooker it might seem crazy or even stupid, but I imagine there’s quite a rush involved in taking the plunge. Though I have not taken the real Polar Bear Plunge, I have recently dove head-first into self-employment and it so far has been worth the plunge.
Why I Took the Plunge
Roughly five years ago I graduated with an MBA in Finance and was told by many to expect multiple, attractive job offers. Over the past five years I’ve held two separate jobs in the investment industry, neither of which got me anywhere or allowed me to use my education. I’ve been on so many interviews that I’d consider myself a professional interviewer. Numerous times I’d come in second and be told that I just didn’t have the experience but that I was a great candidate.
Fast forward five years and I am still stuck in the same dead end job sitting next to a guy who groomed himself at his desk. I was miserable and simply looking for someone to give me a chance to prove what I could do. This turned into nightly discussions with my wife about giving myself a chance – or, ‘taking the plunge.’
While all of this was going on, my wife started her own business as a freelance copywriter that I was starting to help out with as well. She had been in the advertising industry for roughly eight years writing website content, direct mail letters, print, radio and TV ads, marketing materials and much more for small businesses, nonprofits and even a handful of Fortune 500 companies as well as national brands. Even better, we had grown a nice sized business doing it.
My wife was having to turn business down because her schedule didn’t allow enough flexibility to care for our three children and take on additional work. We started looking at the numbers at how much she was able to make versus how much I could make and it was becoming clear that a change was needed. After months of discussion and analysis, we decided that the best way for me and us as a family to get ahead financially was me taking the plunge into running our own business full-time. I became a part-time writer, part-time manager, part-time administrator and part-time blogger and for the most part, I am loving every minute of it.
Taking the Plunge is Not For Everyone
I finally pulled the trigger six months ago and quit my day job to devote time fully to running our business. I will be the first to admit that taking the plunge is not for everyone. If you have visions of sleeping in until noon every day and playing video games, then you’re wrong. Being your own boss requires discipline and a vision for where you want to go as well as where you want to take your business.
This means that you have to create your own structure and become a pro at time management. There is no one around to tell you that you have to work at a certain time and take lunch at a certain time. If you do best in a more structured environment, then taking the plunge is probably not for you. But if you’re self-disciplined and yearn for more opportunities, responsibility, and autonomy than your current profession affords, then leave your options open.
Next time, I’ll continue my journey by discussing what I’ve found to be some of the rewards and risks of taking the plunge into self-employment.
Today I want to know if you have you taken the plunge and become your own boss? If so, how is it working for you? What things would you have done differently?
Photo courtesy of: Tim Barrett
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.