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I read somewhere that an entrepreneur is someone who works 12 hours a day, so they don’t have to spend eight hours a day working for someone else. I guess that’s me. Just over a year ago, I founded career-intelligence.com, an online career resource for women. Back then; I had no idea of what I was getting into. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Actually, I started the site for several reasons. First, I needed a creative outlet. In the early 90’s I spent several years writing for a magazine. As part of a small staff, I was involved in everything from choosing the cover photo to planning our editorial calendar. My editor was a wonderful colleague and teacher, who generously let me run with my own ideas.
In 1995, I launched Destinations, an online travel magazine, with my now husband. Those were the early days of the Internet, when Yahoo! was the only search engine around. Paid advertising was easy to get. And nobody paid for search-engine listings.
Second, I wanted to help people change their lives. Perhaps this is a good time to mention that in 1997 my life took a slight detour. Between leaving the magazine and launching career-intelligence.com, I got a master’s in psychology and spent some time working as a career counselor.
I’ve been fortunate enough to hold several positions that were challenging, fulfilling and fun. I’ve worked in stimulating environments and met colleagues who remain friends to this day. Like most people, I’ve also held the other kind. The jobs that drain your soul and leave you disgruntled at the end of the day. So helping people find a more satisfying career was fulfilling in many ways.
Still, I realized that I missed seeing my ideas come to life. Also, I wanted to develop something specifically to help women. Founding career-intelligence.com seemed a natural segue: The culmination of my life thus far.
As a bonus, I would be my own boss. Having my own business would allow me to work my own hours. In the summer I could leave early on Fridays. Maybe even squeeze in a few extra long weekends. Yeah, right. Little did I know, that when you start your own business, the business becomes an integral part of your life.
Now, I work from my home office. Which means I get up a little later and get to work a little earlier. By 7:30 a.m. I’m generally sitting at my computer, wading though the email in several business mailboxes. Those who write to my personal address will probably grow old waiting for a reply.
There is never enough time in the day. Since career-intelligence is a content and services site, I spend some days processing career assessments, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, and consulting with clients over the phone. Other days I write. When I need a break I file and pay the bills. Because we are a virtual company, I sometimes feel like an air-traffic controller passing questions from our readers to the experts who consult on the site.
Working out of a home office definitely has its perks. No one knows if I’m wearing pajamas and have a puppy sleeping by my feet while I work. But, sometimes it gets a bit lonely. I meet people from all over the country. Yet, I rarely hear the sound of their voice. That makes getting out of the office to networking events as important for me as for my company.
The Internet has made starting a small business quicker and easier. Compared to traditional start-up fees, it’s relatively inexpensive to get up-and-running online. If you have a computer and Internet connection you’re on your way. Building an Internet business, however, is another story.
Like most entrepreneurs, I work lots of nights and weekends. My reading is confined to business and career-related books that I will review for the site. I often discuss business ideas with my husband over dinner and while watching TV. Sometimes, I even miss a warm, sunny day on our boat.
In many ways I feel like I have become my company. Or maybe in truth it has become me. Either way, career-intelligence.com has become an integral part of my life.
But, you know what? I love it. At least most of the time. Everyday I have the opportunity to work at something I believe in. I have managed to create something where there was nothing. I get the chance to help people change their lives. And, I’m even my own boss.
Yes, these days, I work longer hours. And I make less money. But, I believe the possibilities are worth the price. Happily, I’m married to a man who agrees with me.