Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reflections on 2009

It's been almost a full year since I took the full-time plunge with my business and I'm actually still alive. I was terrified that I would fail miserably and wind up begging my old employer for a contract in a matter of a couple of months. Of course, that is never outside the realm of possibility, but so far, I have managed to pay my bills without the help of the government for (going on) 5 consecutive months.

Being self-employed is a big adjustment, but I've gained a few nuggets of wisdom in the past year.

A. There are a lot of naysayers out there. People like my grandmother, who, after learning that I was going to focus on my business rather than find gainful employment in the corporate world, asked my mother when I was planning on getting a "real job." I am not upset by this mentality. Even I think I am still crazy for making this choice sometimes, but I have learned not to let other people project their fears and insecurities on me.

B. Entrepreneurship is a huge risk. Especially for a person like me. My boyfriend makes a modest income as a proofreader, but I am still responsible for exactly one half of our household bills, along with personal bills (like my stupidly huge car payment). I see this as a HUGE positive. If my partner made enough to cover all of our bills, I might be tempted to lighten up on my work load and not be as aggressive or serious about growing my business. I believe that complacency can work against you.

C. I have become quite educated regarding taxes. Both from a self-employment stand-point, as well as tax collection and payment. God, I wish there was a nice, Cliff Notes version of this out there for people just starting out. Unfortunately, the IRS has made it difficult (as well as individual state governments) to outline your responsibilities. I personally think this is done on purpose, so that you are naively non-compliant with some-such thing and forced to be fined later on. The IRS isn't stupid.

D. Ok, this is really cliche and corny, but I believe that there are no limits to what you are capable of. The only obstacle is you. If you let the Negative Nellys occupy the real estate in your brain, you will never realize your own potential. Life is short and, despite what other people might suggest, you are in control of it. Of course, I say this as a person who has no children. But I am also able to balance my budding business while helping to care for my mom, who battles stage-four cancer. I believe that I have found something that I am terrifically passionate about. I don't know if I will ever find anything else that gives me such satisfaction, so you bet your boots that I will do whatever is necessary to keep my business afloat, even during this crap economy.

I am really excited about the new year and what it brings my little soap business. I hope I can continue to pay the mortgage with suds!

I should also add that I believe that a certain amount of luck and positive connections have brought about wonderful things this year. A great deal of strength can be gained when you join forces with other small business people. From actual, profitable ventures to encouragement and Chicken Soup for the Soul type conversations. It's been a great and rewarding journey so far. And this is really just the beginning.


Blogger anna said...

What a great post! I'm so glad that your venture into self-employment worked out so well in 2009 and I can only imagine what great things are on the horizon for you in 2010!

Much Love,

December 24, 2009 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thanks, Anna!

I hope you guys have an awesome 2010!

December 25, 2009 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger bless_cyborgs said...

Ditto on Anna's sentiments!

December 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thanks, Caitlin! Have a great time in Chi-town!

December 26, 2009 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Karen Meirs said...

What a difference a year makes! This past year was no picnic, but your success is such a positive reminder that it can be done.
Good job! Can't wait to see how far you go this year.

December 29, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thanks, Karen! I'm hoping it's an even better year! Happy New Year to you, Bill and the kiddos!

December 31, 2009 at 12:39 PM  

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