This was originally published on AllBusiness.
I have proudly been an entrepreneur for 13 years. Longer, if you count my short-lived gift basket business in college. I thought I’d always be one, and that I’d never take a JOB job.
But that’s exactly what I’ve done.
And I couldn’t be happier. Here’s why I traded being my own boss for a 9-to-5:
Sometimes you need a change from entrepreneurship back to employment
If I’m being honest, things had become a little stagnant in my business. I wasn’t finding the joy I once did in my work. I was adrift and needed direction. I’m a big believer in The Universe listening to your thoughts and secret wishes, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that business slowed down once I realized I was unhappy—way down. Thanks, Universe.
What that did was force me to deal with these feelings of discontent. If running my business as I had for over a decade was no longer working—no longer serving me—what did I want to do? What options did I have?
I started looking for a job, but only half-heartedly. You see, I’d done this half a dozen times over the years when things got slow, but then I’d get a slew of new clients and wouldn’t have to go work for The Man.
Only… I started getting excited about what I saw out there. I’ve run my content marketing agency the only way I’ve known how, and there was a whole world of content marketing magic happening outside of my bubble. I quickly realized how little I knew by reading job descriptions that didn’t fit my skill set.
Rather than being daunted by this, I took it as a challenge. How much better a writer and marketer could I be with additional resources and knowledge? What would it be like to work with other smart people? What would it be like to focus on one business (my employer) than to switch from one client to another on a daily basis?
I stopped looking at taking a full-time role as a means to a financial end and started seeing it as an opportunity to sharpen my skills.
When the right thing comes along, take it
I’m not a patient person. At all. So the job hunt got a little frustrating.
“I’m totally qualified for this role! They’re crazy not to hire me!” I muttered to myself one too many times, my eyes glazing over from spending hours perusing job boards.
Then, just as my mamma told me, a door opened because of my networking. I’d told a friend in the business world about my fruitless search, and the next day, someone he knew asked if he knew of anyone that would be a good fit for a writer role.
That connection led me to talk to an employee of my new company, and within a week, I had an offer.
A week later, I flew to the company’s headquarters (thank HEAVENS they let me work from home!) to meet the team. I was in awe at how on top of everything from due dates to data this marketing team was, and I hoped I would be able to contribute my fair share.
’m a few weeks into my new role, and I already see that it’s not just a job for me. I’m challenging myself by ramping up on all things fintech, and I’m blowing the dust off of that MBA I earned so many years ago as I look at spreadsheets and financial data. And the team seems to think I’m doing a pretty darn good job, so that feels nice.
Is being an entrepreneur still how you should identify?
I thought I’d be sadder about stepping away from my business (though I will continue to keep a handful of clients), but the truth is, it was time for something new. I know that I have to get outside of my comfort zone to continue to grow as a person and as a professional, and this feels like the right next step.
This doesn’t mean I don’t still consider myself an entrepreneur, and I am 100% certain I will start one business (or more) down the line. But I’m enjoying the feeling of going in a new direction—plus, health insurance! 401k matching! steady paycheck!
What about you? Have you been struggling to find your passion for your business? Let me say from my own experience that to let go of your business or significantly shift what it looks like is in no way failure. It’s just you being attuned to what you really need right now. And sometimes that isn’t a lifetime of running a business that you will grow to resent.
Running a business doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment. When it’s time to hop off that train (even temporarily), that’s the best decision you can make for your well-being.
There are certainly things that we learn from being entrepreneurs that will benefit us in the corporate world. My new company benefits immensely from my being a business owner (their target demographic) as well as my experience writing to that audience. We entrepreneurs are cut from a different fabric, and anyone who hires us would be lucky to have us on board.