Five years ago, my wife and I were working sixty hour weeks at a school. And that didn’t include the time we spent working on things from home.
Our time belonged almost exclusively to the school. I was in a band, but scheduling around my school hours was a trial of Herculean proportions. My wife had always been an avid artist, but during the years she spent teaching, she never made a single painting.
So when I got laid off, we saw it as a chance to finally break free from the tyranny of the school schedule.
My wife resigned and we started working for ourselves. We figured that we would finally have the time to reclaim our time. We’d be able to take road trips, spend time with friends, make art, and everything else we loved to do.
But there’s a fact about self-employment that we didn’t realize...
You’ve gotta work like hell.
We had the freedom to set our own schedule, but our business demanded more time than we ever imagined. We scraped to to find the time to do the things we loved doing.
It’s not that we were wrong about the freedom we would get. We just didn’t realize how long it would take to get there.
Now, more than three years after opening our shop, we’re finally in a spot where we can take advantage. We’re making enough that we can hire an assistant to run the shop when we aren’t there. We have an established customer base, so we don’t have to spend every waking hour making social media posts.
But most importantly, our time is our own again.
We’re taking friends out for breakfast. I’m playing music. My wife has plotted out her first vegetable garden in four years and put her starts in her garden. We’ve been cooking from scratch, taking weekend road trips, and spending more time with our friends and family.
It’s not by accident: there’s always something else to do, and work will expand to fill the time available for it. If we’re not careful, it’s easy to slip back into headless chicken mode and let all of the stress of running our own business take our time back from us.
But we’ve spent enough time there, and we’re sick of it. Stressing over the little things isn’t worth it. So we’re grabbing the life we want by the horns and making it happen.