Years ago, in response to sister-nagging, my brother stuck a new sign on his bedroom door. Right next to the one that said:
I am a bilingual illiterate; I can’t read or write in two languages
the new one read,
I am a human being, not a human doing
Like nothing else in the whole wide world, having my own business has given me a sense of security and stability, a sense of purpose and relevance, and an achievable measure for my sense of self-worth. I suppose our self-worth should be some kind of birthright, but mine isn’t, and with the number of people who hate their jobs, I wonder that there aren’t more people running their own businesses. There’s no two ways about it; looking for clients is way way way better than looking for jobs.
I had made attempts at self-employment previously, usually with an unsustainable business model, ie, the people who need me can’t afford me. After much persuasion from my little sister Rachel, poster-child for the Rotman MBA, I undertook a Master’s in Business Administration at Concordia University, where I learned what I needed to learn, namely, how to turn an idea into an income.
I have ideas galore, more than I will ever be able to use so that wasn’t the hard part. Figuring out a profitable business model was. So I followed the advice of the Strategic Coach and focused on creating value for others. In my case, I’d been running Bestseller Bootcamp for a few months when the people in it said, “Rebecca! This is your new business!” And I wondered, could it really be?
After my mother died, we found a note in her purse addressed, “To my children in the event that I should die suddenly”. Among other things it said “Do your work well” and I have often wondered about that. It certainly isn’t much fun to do things you don’t do well. With your own business, you can stick to what you’re good at and let other people do the rest, which presumably they are good at. I am still wearing more hats than I would like to be, but because I had to wear all the hats in the beginning, I have learned that some of the things I thought I would hate, I really enjoy. Through the fantastic exposure of working out of a shared business centre like CSI, I came to realize that the most important thing that you CAN’T delegate is the relationship-building, which leads to a sense of belonging, a sense of community.
Through my neighbourhood involvement I hear more and more stories about people starting their own businesses, often from a position of adversity, and I think there is nothing greater than to hear about people taking their future into their own hands, doing what they want, building the life they want and sharing what they love with the people around them.
If I was a super-hero, I would be Self-Employment Girl, or MYOB Chick. As it is, I’ll just have to settle for putting up my own sign, one that reads:
If I can do it, you can do it!