I’m wandering round in light rain, watching a swan and her new cygnets, plotting a route for a group walk – exploring, problem solving, mindfully observing. This is an example of a day in my working life now and I feel grateful and alive. Walking and wandering and doing something wonderful that gets people connecting, thinking, reflecting and active.
Today marks one year since I became a ‘self-boss’. (My children came up with this term when I explained to them that I’d be leaving my job and working for me). After thirteen years working for a university and only ever having worked for institutions it felt like a mad and unknown leap. Over this year I have met many self-bosses, particularly women, and heard my own story reflected back. Entrepreneurs with a whole variety of weird and wonderful business ideas who took redundancy or left a role after many years, who had been feeling frustrated/unfulfilled/bored/trapped/undervalued (insert appropriate adjective here) and through working for themselves now feel…happy.
Of course, its not easy and there are lots of challenges, setbacks and uncertainties. There is financial insecurity, isolation, loss of boundaries between work and life, making lots of mistakes and at times generally not having a clue what I’m doing or where I’m going. While I have developed grownup level skills when it comes to coaching and facilitating I have started from school age skills when it comes to running a business. Now, fortunately I know a thing or two and can even give some advice to others starting out. I have a whole network of support and resources around me. One year on, here are some of the things I love about being a self-boss:
- Learning. It has felt exciting and satisfyingly stretching to be clambering, occasionally on my hands and knees, up this very steep learning curve. Accounts, tax, finance, business planning, marketing, social media, sales, networking – a whole new world and language to be discovered. I’ve also been able to devote time to my own professional development and learn so much more about coaching, walking, facilitating and team needs.
- Community. My work prioritises building relationships. It has been life affirming to meet so many new, interesting people, share experiences and make connections in person and online. I’m also part of different groups and communities supporting self-bosses, coaches or walkers where I can ask questions, gain reassurance, get new perspectives and give feedback.
- Autonomy. Control of my time and flexibility is fundamental in being able to make the most of work, parenthood and life. Being able to make decisions, and act on them with no meetings or need for approval from a boss, is bliss!
- Innovation. I love being able to experiment and explore. A business has to keep moving and changing so ideas are its lifeblood. I can be curious, keep learning, respond in new ways to problems and keep trying to improve what I do.
- Meaningful work I enjoy. Above all the work feels purposeful. There is such a thrill when a walk/event/coaching session goes well and the client feels unlocked/connected/uplifted/transformed/aware/confident/able to achieve an aim/full of ideas.
Ultimately I have the autonomy to make decisions, an ability to keep learning from my mistakes and successes, a community I can draw on for support and the chance to innovate through every challenge. All this for work that matters to me and makes a positive difference to others. What’s not to love about being a self-boss?
Find out more about Walk Coach Learn events and coaching