When I work with the employees inside of a company, I’m often asked, “So, Cali, what’s your work+life fit?” I’m more than happy to explain that, “I’m a mother of two, a wife and I work full-time for myself primarily out of my home office unless I’m at a client site like today.” Someone in the crowd will inevitability shout out, “What do you know about conflict between your work and life? You have the perfect situation.” I respectfully reply with a smile, “It may look perfect to you, but working for yourself isn’t always the work+life fit nirvana you might imagine.”
I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I never imagined that I would work for myself. I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, but I made the decision to strike out on my own in 1998 and start my consulting firm because I wanted to:
- Develop and implement corporate work+life flexibility strategies in the way I wanted to.
- Have the ability to write my first book, and
- Have control over my schedule to also take care of my new daughter (who is now 13 years old, yikes!).
I did achieve all three goals but I also learned a hard lesson. As an entrepreneur, I had to be even more vigilant and rigorous about when, how and where I worked or I wouldn’t have time and energy left over for the other important parts of my life. Work could easily consume me because there are no boundaries unless you set them.
While I fumbled and stumbled my way to creating a business that “fit” my unique professional and personal goals, the good news is that you don’t have to follow a path of trial and error. Now there’s a roadmap, The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You (Portfolio, 2011) by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams (Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the authors because I’d given it a blurb—see the back cover–that’s how much I like it!)
Lancaster and Abrams are the founders of In Good Company, a community business learning center, and workspace for women in New York City. They also consult and advise entrepreneurs who want to create and succeed in a business that is just right for their goals—from the sole proprietor to the venture-funded start-up.
Their message is clear: One size does not fit all. (Click here for more)
(This post originally appeared in FastCompany.com)