It’s very trendy and dreamy to have a portfolio career like mine. You get a little money here, a little money there. You get to make the rules and wear yoga pants.
All of that is true, but the biggest sham of the early 21st century is that being your own boss means that you can do innovative, entrepreneurial things. Sometimes you can; however, sometimes being your own boss and working three part time jobs with clients — instead of one full-time job — makes you average and boring.
- It’s tough to be innovative when you are hustling for your next client.
- It is difficult to be entrepreneurial when you have to bill and hound clients — like a collection agency — and asked to be paid for services rendered 90 days ago.
- It’s tough to be strategic when you don’t have income for 90 days and then hit the jackpot in one month.
And while it’s great to be your own boss, it is also a myth. When you have clients, you have bosses.
A smart entrepreneur can manage the hassles of running a solo business in simple and easy ways: Hire a good accountant, tap into existing small business services to manage invoicing and billing, or create a fabulous network that generates leads without requiring an investment of time and capital.
But it’s still a hustle, baby, and not for the faint of heart.
Me? I will always have something on the side even when I have a full-time job. I like to spread my risk. This is why I speak, write and work on fun projects even though I’m on a monthly retainer with The Starr Conspiracy. And it’s not all that risky for me because I have a spouse who has a traditional job. We don’t have children. We keep it relatively simple.
But this life isn’t for everyone and I sometimes wonder why I didn’t apply this entrepreneurial thinking into my early HR career. What might have happened with my career had I started acting like a consultant long before I was a consultant? And what if you took that same spirit and applied it to your existing job? How might your career be different and better?
If you have a job and dream of life as a consultant and entrepreneur, start there and try to apply that hermeneutic to your existing job. Just a small shift in your attitude and approach might save your career. It might also save your regular, reliable paycheck.