I’m going to spend all day tomorrow, Saturday, researching items for my small business. I intend to wake up MUCH earlier than I normally do on weekends and follow a schedule of activities devoted to nothing but furthering my upcoming computer-support business. Since I work a typical 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday, I don’t have much time during the week to get good momentum going on my business planning.
However this is more than just a planning day for me; this is the first of many experiments I will conduct on myself to see if and how I’ll be able to handle working on my own. The average working stiff takes for granted the fact that their day is pretty much lined up for them: when they show up for work, when they go to lunch, what they do at work…it’s all more or less scheduled by someone else. By they, I really mean me. So, it’ll be interesting to see if I have the discipline to stick to my own routine when I’ll be one room away from a Playstation 3, a 50 inch plasma TV, and a beautiful summer day outside. This may be harder than I ever anticipated.
The closest thing to which I can equate this, that I’ve already experienced in my life, is basic training for the US Army. I joined the Army when I was barely 19 years old. I had been out of high school for a year, but hadn’t really done much with myself. Throughout basic training, even though I was yelled at a lot and had virtually no freedom, every day activities were planned out for us. Toward the end of the 9 week ordeal, I had become somewhat accustomed to the routines the drill sergeants had established throughout the course of training. We were told when to wake up, when to eat, what to do, and when to go to bed. Once I was out of training and back into the real world, I felt helpless. I wasn’t being told what to do, I had endless choices…and because of this I had a rough time the first 6 months or so at my first duty station. Part of me longed for the days of boot camp where nothing was uncertain. After that initial 6 months, however, I finally started getting used to making wise decisions on my own instead of waiting for someone to tell me what to do. And now, you couldn’t PAY me enough to go back to basic training.
I think it’s the same way with work. I feel like work is a drag now. I feel like I have no freedom and I’m always being told what to do. But I also know that if I were to abruptly stop going to work and start working on my own, I’d most likely fall victim to my own vices and laziness and end up sitting around playing video games all day.
This is where I feel my test-drive approach to starting a business and working on my own will really pay off. We’ll see how I do for one day. Then, maybe I’ll schedule a whole weekend to work on my business. Then, maybe I’ll take a week of vacation time and go about things as if I’m working a week at my own full-time business. I’ll continue to do small test-runs like this with different aspects of my business: marketing, customer service, repair, operations…until I find approaches that work best for me.
On Monday I’ll write a post reporting on what I did and how it went. Has anyone reading this tried working for themselves after working for “the man”? How did you adjust to the change?