I am entering a new chapter in my life. My youngest daughter is off to college in the fall and my oldest will be graduating in December. For the past five years I’ve been able to work part time or from home, most recently with a home-based business franchise. I have always been available for my kids as they need me and have upped the number of hours I work as they’ve gotten older.
I’ve developed a great clientele and network, but I need to get over a hump. My business is at a point right now where I need to give it a lot more of my time and possibly hire someone to handle more day-to-day (so I can sell) and grow. I make money, but not a ton. I could make more but I feel stuck. I’m grateful for the flexibility, but I’m at a point where I need to make a decision about my future.
Do I continue to try and grow my business to make more money? Or sell it and move onto a more traditional nine to five job? Help.
One of the most common questions women ask is how to rejoin the labor force after taking a lengthy absence to raise their children. It’s not an easy answer and it’s fraught with challenges. You kept your hand in the business world at a level that made sense given your other responsibilities and are now faced with a decision about whether or not to dial up your efforts in your own enterprise. If it helps provide some context as you make your decision — most women faced with jumping back into a vastly changed job market would trade places with you in a second.
Let’s assume that by leveraging your skills and your network you can land a “traditional nine to five job:”
- The pros: You’ll know your income and can structure your family’s finances accordingly. You’ll know when you’ll be working — and when you won’t — and can plan your life accordingly.
- The cons: You’ll know pretty much what your maximum income potential is unless you make a significant job change. You’ll lose the flexibility (for yourself and your family) that comes with working for yourself.
Only you know the value you place on certainty. Only you know the appetite you have for risk. And only you know why you’re feeling “stuck.
Is it possible that throwing yourself into your business now will represent the closing of a significant chapter of your life that you’re just not ready to close? Maybe you’re fearful of how your daughters might react if they don’t perceive themselves as the center of your world? Maybe you and your family have been comfortable with the level of financial support you have contributed to date but becoming significantly more successful will upset that equation in a way that makes you nervous?
There are many things that get us stuck. Try to get to the bottom of what it is for you so you can make as informed a decision as you can going forward.
Should you decide to double down on your own business, focus on the concrete components you need to grow (many of which it sounds like you know). Put an actionable plan together, focus your energy and start building. Know that at a point like this in the evolution of any business, sometimes you have to take a few steps back to spring forward.
What an interesting time for you! You’re launching your daughters into their own futures and, at the same time, evolving your business or career in new and vital ways. The best to you all.
Christine Tardio is a trusted advisor and business coach to a dynamic range of women business leaders. She can be reached at thelookinglass.com.