For the past couple of years, I have become very interested in following the stories of entrepreneurs and other people who create alternative income sources to make a living. My own aspirations involve eventually starting my own ventures to produce alternative income streams to supplement my career income source.
I began following others online that were moving in the same direction in which I wanted to be moving. I first began following Madison Dupaix over at My Dollar Plan. I found her at a time soon after I was married and very interested in straightening out my own financial situation for the benefit of my husband and I. Her path into early retirement, as well as her adoption of alternative income sources, including entrepreneurship and real estate investment, has also been an inspiration to me.
One of my most pointed discoveries has been Pat on The Smart Passive Income Blog. He is one of my favorites because he is so frank and personal about the things that he is doing to create alternative income sources. His discussions are straightforward and very educational because he speaks about the things that he is doing, his successes and what he has learned along the way.
In addition to my online resources, there are a few entrepreneurial individuals in my life offline that have given me inspiration. Each of these individuals started their own businesses and has had relative successes in creating self-sustaining livelihoods. In recent times, however, I have discovered that two of these individuals are considering re-entering the workforce.
One individual is a close friend of mine that I met while in law school. After working for others a few years out of school, he and a partner started a law firm. Now, several years later, he is thinking about leaving his venture and transitioning from employer to employee.
The second individual is the husband of a friend. Many years ago, he started a wireless retail establishment that was successful for many years. My friend, his wife, who I met and befriended through an industry event, managed one of his stores. A few years ago, he sold his business and now, he is thinking of returning to the workforce as an employee.
These kinds of entrepreneurial stories have always inspired me. While I am not ready to give up my career to start my own business, I’ve always relied on these types of stories as guidance for my own ambitions. These individuals would provide a resource and a lot of education when and if I ever decided to take the plunge.
Upon learning that these individuals were contemplating returning to the workforce, however, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I have always envisioned successful entrepreneurship as the greatest freedom. Their stories have fueled my own grandeur aspirations that, even if a little naïve, would always cause me to aim a little higher than I could actually land.
I questioned how one could return to working for someone else after having complete autonomy in your own business.
I have spoken with both of these individuals about their decision to consider returning to the workforce. Based on these conversations, I have learned that despite running your own business for many years, there may still be the desire to be a part of something bigger. Besides, even if one has been successful in selling his business at a rather young age, life goes on and eventually this individual will need to make an income again.
I’ve also learned that owning and managing your own business can fall short of the utopia that I have imagined. Many times, when working with a partner, you discover that you have very different philosophies about how to maintain and grow your business. If you are not seeing eye to eye with your partner, it can shatter your imagined potential, which can be a momentum killer. At some point, when the question of where will this business be in five years does not have a promising answer, the next option may very well be to preserve your professional worth and reenter the workforce.
I also understand now in talking with these individuals considering the return to the workforce, that having run your own business and having managed staff in that business almost certainly makes you a much better employee because now you have the perspective of the employer. Now, you know what it takes to run a business. Now, you know what is required of staff to sustain a business. And now, you know how to promote the interest of the business in everything you do.
In all honesty, I still feel a little disappointment. Something in me needs to believe that once you venture out on your own and make your own way that you will not desire or need to return to being dependent on an employer. Once you have been completely autonomous in the decision-making process for a business, that you would not return to having someone else make those decisions. My aspirations depend on this view. You may call me naïve, or even a dreamer. But, if I have a nice high place to launch from then I can be confident of higher landing.
MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income. I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources. I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.” This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property. I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.