Last week, I (Emilie) was on LinkedIn scrolling through what seemed to be an endless sea of layoff posts. My corporate background is at Amazon, and I am still connected to many people I worked with when I was there, as well as a ton of people in the tech industry as a whole.
Given the current economic climate, I cannot fathom the emotions of the people going through these transitions right now. My heart goes out to them, and to add a helpful action to that widely used statement, I really will do everything in my power to help people I know make connections, review resumes, etc. But what I really want to do is go to the top of one of our beautiful PNW mountains (which seems hard because I don’t hike…) and scream, “START YOUR OWN BUSINESS!”
In a less dramatic fashion (following the professional LinkedIn etiquette), I posted the following post:
“I have a feeling that with all of these tech layoffs, we are about to see a huge boom of new entrepreneurs.
I used to think entrepreneurship was terrifying because your fate is solely in your hands. Now, I realize that what’s really terrifying is letting someone else determine your fate for you.
For everyone impacted, I’m sending you the best thoughts. If you’re considering entrepreneurship- DO IT, and if you need a hype girl- CALL ME!”
Ok, maybe “hype girl” doesn’t follow the LinkedIn rules, but whatever. It was one of the best-performing posts on LinkedIn that I’ve ever made. It seems the people share some of the same thoughts in my brain. Hooray!
Whether you’ve been laid off from tech or not, I’d like to redirect this message to the people who may be considering entrepreneurship. Maybe you have a business idea already but don’t know how to execute it, maybe you’re not sure where to start, or maybe you are holding onto the “security” of a 9-5 job…
Allow me to be your flashlight for a few moments and illuminate the scary path.
Like I said in my LinkedIn post: Yes, entrepreneurship is quite literally taking your fate into your own hands. It is NOT for everyone.
That said, if you are up for the challenge, entrepreneurship is exceptionally rewarding. And, not in the “I work 15 minutes a day and spend months at a time in Bali” kind of rewarding, although you can totally mold it to be that if you’d like to. When people talk about “freedom” as an entrepreneur, the soft Bali life can be the kind of vision you get or is sometimes fed to us. We feel like we can’t relate to that.
The kind of freedom we’ve been able to create with our businesses doesn’t look exactly like that. Here’s how it has looked for us:
The freedom to volunteer in my son’s kindergarten classroom at Hazelwood Elementary once a week….Without having to tell anyone I’ll be offline or ask for a few hours of PTO.
For Whitney, the ability to purchase a secondary home in the tiny town of Waterville, Washington, to be closer to aging grandparents and give her kids a taste of the country life and family roots.
We both have the ability to take workout classes during the day at The Barre in Mill Creek, Specialty Fitness Pros in Mountlake Terrace, and Barre3 in Edmonds. Moving our bodies during the day… there’s nothing like it.
Not only do we enjoy the freedom of time, but we’ve also gifted ourselves through the path of entrepreneurship the ability to choose: How much we’re paid, how we structure our days, who we surround ourselves with.
The choice is yours and yours alone to determine who you work with. If you have a sales call with a client who seems rude, doesn’t align with your values, or if you have a feeling they’d be “hard to work with,” guess what? You don’t have to work with them! As Whitney often says, “Everything is a mutual selection process.”
You can also choose what feels good to work on. You choose what is important to you and your business, and you get to set your own goals and deadlines. This can be hard for some people, so make sure you have an accountability buddy to help you out here if you struggle with this. We’re grateful to have each other! And, if you need resources, we have plenty to share.
I could talk about this all day, and I promise to dig into it more on this platform. But, right now, I’m going to wrap up my day, hang out with my family, and pet my dogs.
Because I built the freedom in my day to do that. And you can, too.
If you want it.
— By Emilie Given and Whitney Popa
Emilie Given is a virtual assistant agency owner in Lynnwood, and Whitney Popa is a writer and communications consultant in Edmonds. They write this column together to share work-from-home ideas. They love where they live and are grateful the virtual world allows them to achieve more work/life harmony. They also co-host a weekly podcast where they share their entrepreneurship journeys while learning about those of others. You can learn more about Emilie here and more about Whitney here.
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