Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Biggest Obstacle: Myself

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for 3 weeks now. To be honest, I like not working at a job. It sounds depressing, and backwards to most women I know. But I take pride in planning meals, keeping the household budget, cleaning our house, and planning activities for my pre-toddler. Everyday, witnessing my daughter’s exploding mobility and vocabulary is quite a joy. I don’t miss my commute, my boring cubical or any of the egos I was surrounded by in the corporate world.

But I do miss adult conversation and earning money. Therefore that is why I’m pursuing work-at-home options. But I’ve hit a snag - myself. I’m not sure I have it in me.

I’m not sure I have the stamina. In order to work legitimately from home, on my terms, I feel I must start my own business. However, I know some people who have started businesses, my former boss being one of them, and I know owning a business involves a huge time investment. The reason I gave my former employer for leaving was that I was unable to invest the time anymore and wanted to focus more time on personal obligations.

If I got burnt out at my last job, won’t I get even more burnt out taking care of a small child during the day, and working from home on the nights and weekends? But then I think back to a time when I was able to persevere in the face of extreme time demands: when I breastfed my daughter.

It took so much more time than I ever imagined. My own husband was asking me why I didn’t just quit if it was that much of a burden, and even told me about a few Moms he worked with who had tried breastfeeding, had problems similar to mine, such as late milk production, and who quite after 2-6 weeks.

And while I whined about it to anyone who would listen, I didn’t stop doing it. Why? Because I had faith that I was giving my infant daughter the best possible nutrition; her constant sucking on me would not last forever, and had I quit prematurely, I would always wonder what if…?

I thought to myself, what was the difference between my job and breast feeding? Why did I persevere with one but not the other? The answer lies in the fact that I was convinced the short-term sacrifices of one would likely result in long-term reward but not the other.

Had I continued with my job, and kept putting in more hours, and made my boss happy, my rewards would have been maybe a 5% raise, and maybe an even more impressive sounding title, but most definitely an increase in hours. And with my commute it is very likely that volatile gas and tolls would have eaten up much of my 5% raise. All the while my daughter is getting bigger.

This past week, I have come to the conclusion that I should not seek work-at-home opportunities, as much as work towards creating a business that would require a lot of time investments in the short-term, but have reasonable potential to pay more for less work in the long-term.

I’m not going to abandon perusing the 3 options I mentioned in my last post. I’m just going to approach my research from a different angle. I’m no longer seeking a part-time work from home opportunity. I’m going to focus on developing my business acumen. Despite my experience in the corporate world, my work was detail work, with very little experience with the big picture.

I have some doubts. One of them being at this moment my sheer lack of knowledge. The other being fear of judgment. In my circle, working long hours is seen as the price you pay for a comfortable upper-middle class income. And people feel they must be busy in order to feel important. Expecting to get paid more for working less is simply a ludicrous idea. And there is part of me who fears there may be truth to that belief. But to me time is life, and I don’t want to be misunderstood. I WILL have to work a lot in the beginning with the goal to eventually work less.

To overcome my first doubt, lack of knowledge, I’m going to read of course, but I’m good at reading, reflecting, and making lists. I need to actually go out and DO something. Therefore, I’m going to call up at least 10 Network Marketing companies in the next week, and ask them about their business model. I will not give any networking marketing company my money until I have spoken to and evaluated several. How many? I don’t know yet because I don’t know how many such companies exist.

To overcome my second doubt, judgment of friends and family, I’m going to keep my plans from them for now.

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