determined leaf.
Freelancing

Reflections on three years as an entrepreneur

I thought I could not do it. I just was not cut out for it. I would just keep on looking for a place to employ me. I was a people person and had worked in organizational structures all my life. I could not handle the risks that came with entrepreneurship. Besides with a body broken with the ravages of the disease and further weakened by the drugs that cure it, how could I physically manage the punishing hours that were sure to come with this kind of work?

Lots of questions like this kept coming up that spring and summer of 2017. I applied to all the jobs I was even remotely qualified to do. Those with lots of choices cannot perhaps imagine the desperation of a “salaryman” left out of a company environment. I even applied to banks! Not that there is anything wrong with them; I am just not a banker.

I thought that this was the end of my working life. I thought that while I had recovered from illness, my time to retire from life would begin. I was fortunate not to need money immediately, and my desires were not too many so we would get by. My wife would work and take on the hard yards alone. She could do it. She had the steel for it.

Then, my spirit animal, the wolf, rose on its hackles and howled. This shall not be, it said. It shall not come to pass. We do not go down this way of desperation and abject humiliation. We shall hunt. Perhaps, the satisfaction of digging into fat, juicy pre-defined work will not come to us, but we will subsist on the scraps and continue to learn. And live.

When the immediate need to make money is taken out of the equation, it is surprising how enjoyable working for yourself really becomes. The goals you set are yours, the day begins when you want, and it can be divided at your own convenience.

Slowly, I even learnt how to sell in the way that is most comfortable for me. Trying to build a relationship rather than sell a service works well better for me and it also gives the client a lot more comfort.

I had no revenues to speak of for a while and I was riven with doubt but the time on my own allowed me to explore areas of interest that allowed me to learn much more in these three years than the last five combined.

Over the last year, although I have encountered lots of problems, the struggle with sorting them out has made my mind better able to deal with stress. As strength returns to my body and I can focus more time on work, the sheer joy of working longer hours makes me giddy sometimes. I have even been able to put in 12 hours days a few times.

My struggles of three summers ago seem so ancient that I can scarcely believe that I could think such dark thoughts.

In these Covid-19 times, when I hear the despair in the voices of my compatriots, I feel like reaching out and comforting everyone laid off or finding work difficult. Please relax! This too shall pass!

With the time given to us, let’s get back to listening to what our spirit wants to do. Life is finite and it will end. That is true. However, if we use the time given to us to bring joy to our lives, it will possibly illuminate the world. Being positive will not help against a pandemic. However, it will make life for those most affected a bit more bearable. There are so many engaged in volunteering work and helping other people at such time that it gives one a lot of hope for humanity.

I still get demoralized sometimes. There are so many programing languages to learn; so many concepts of business to understand; so much literature that I have not yet read; that it can be overwhelming. And yet at such times, the wolf rises again, and we howl at the moon together.

So, join the fray my friends. Listen to your own dreams and pursue them without regard to the limitations at hand. As someone once said, a journey begins with one step. Enjoy it to the hilt and may you have many more destinations to reach yet. 

Please also know that if you begin to falter, my hand is held out to support you.