It takes a certain kind of person to be in business for yourself. If you are one of us, never apologize for it. Embrace it. It’s a good thing.
People think working for yourself is getting up whenever, stay up till whenever, wear pajamas all the time and chill without a boss telling you what to do.
The reality is getting up early, put your big boy pants on, get as much as possible done in every waking hour, ignore the fear of failure, focus, understand that things must be prioritized and that in place of a “boss, you have those priorities that must be met or, instead of getting fired, you simply fail and things fall apart. Oh, and do all that under your own steam. Your own motivation. Without someone else telling you to.
So the next time you look to that friend who works from home, or maybe owns a small business, thinking man, that rocks, or worse, maybe I can call on them for X,Y or Z anytime because, y’know, they’re free and stuff, well… think again. Odds are the anxiety they cope with is more than you realize. Odds are they often lay awake at night contemplating the next move of their business, the next set of goals that need to be knocked out to push the ball further down field, or even just the set of responsibilities they know they have waiting the next day that will absolutely not fall to anyone else. Odds are they do what they do because of a passion, but they understand that in order to make that passion real, they have to allow it to become actual, factual work.
For many, the transformation of a thing they enjoy into “work” sounds like hell. For us, that thing we enjoy means enough that we dedicate ourselves to building something which allows us to further that thing, to bring that thing to other people, to evolve it, perpetuate it, grow it like a child. That is why it has to become work. Anything short of that is just a hobby. Understanding the difference is a good thing. To make that thing you love into your vocation, your business, means to convert it from the realm of “play” into the realm of “work”. It’s a maturation of a passion into a lifestyle that turns a pass-time into a self-perpetuating, self-sustaining endeavor. The gulf between those things, between “play” and “work” is not to be ignored or taken lightly. It also, however, should not be feared, and when you see someone who has done or is attempting it, respect it. They are trying something. They’re abandoning the easy road of short term, quick gratification for the long game, the hard game, and the satisfaction that comes from grinding longer and harder than most will ever dare.
So, to my fellow artists, animators, writers, entrepreneurs, inventors, code slingers and business owners, I offer my most genuine respect and admiration.
Even if you fail, you’ve won, because you dared.