Chronicles Of 30 Year Old Bachelor: Career or Business?

21:20pm on a Saturday evening; I lie on my couch enjoying a glass of Chardonnay. The music plays quietly in the background and the thunder roars loudly outside. In a perfect world, this would be THE perfect setup (albeit alone)- wine, rain and music equals relaxation, especially for a workaholic like myself. This setup should be even more interesting because I am actually home, a VERY rare occurrence. My Saturdays are usually spent out with friends, having intriguing conversation while sipping on various beverages or at events either working as a Master of Ceremonies (MC) or enjoying the company of others. But here I am- alone and a mind heavily weighed down by decisions… Decisions… DECISIONS!

Recently, I’ve been very vocal about my dissatisfaction with this “adulting” business; the endless responsibilities expected from a 30+ year old, the pressure of trying to manage your finances well, the odd and unexpected question of when you are getting married, when you are having your first child, when you are bringing your partner home for a meet and greet and/or deciding if you are staying in a really good job or pursuing other things. The assumption and expectation is that you should have your life figured out in your 30s…really, REALLY?

Seven years working in corporate Lesotho and a business registered in 2015- I am at cross roads as to what to do next. My experience working in corporate has equipped me with a basket full of skills- business and relationship management, financial management, selling, presentation and negotiation skills to name a few. I’ve had the privilege of presenting in front of executive members, had one on one engagements with the most senior and prominent members of corporate organisations and have been led by exceptional leaders.  I have built networks and connections that are slowly starting to yield results, helping me to climb the corporate ladder. I can safely say that I am embracing the idea that ” your network determines your net worth”  if all this is anything to go by.

Equally important, the team and I have invested a lot of time over the last few years building my company and are starting to witness the growth and the results of our hard work; which is REALLY amazing. The journey has been very VERY difficult!

At first I hadn’t clearly defined our corporate image, service offering or how we intended to achieve it- I had no strategy in placed despite having been exposed to several corporate strategic sessions. I wasted money on several logo designs (which I changed 3 times), printing and reprinting of banners and promotional materials. I used my savings to finance seminars hosted by my company,  incurring losses due to poor attendance, poor marketing and resorted to forcing my friends to attend hoping to break even. I cancelled a number of our workshops because I had no ticket sales and disappointed a number of service providers in the process.

My rationalisation was (still is) was that ” we are building a brand, we are in this for the long haul”;  but it was painful not buying that item (cologne, shoes and a holiday) I had saved up for because I diverted funds into building this “dream”.  But here I am today, faced with one of the toughest decisions of my life- to put my career first (what is it again?) or to keep building the “dream” . This is a question many like myself grapple with for years. We ask ourselves-when is the right time to “jump the corporate ship” and focus on building your own?”

My world came crashing down during 2018 when I received a Facebook message on the company page from a local corporate company hoping to engage us. This meant, we had FINALLY defined our service offering, had something special to offer and were promoting it well. Crashing down..? Normally getting business should be positive, but in this particular case it wasn’t as rosy and positive as it ought to have been. Here we were, wanted by a corporate company who had been monitoring our activities for months, believed in us and wanted to work with us. But we couldn’t accept the business which left us wounded!

We lost the business as quickly as we received it, because I had to decide whether to focus on my career and climb the corporate ladder or to take a risk and give my company a chance (which had potential conflict of interest issues by the way). This gig was a once off , with a lot of money for a two day workshop- and the money was more than my monthly salary (being employed). This was a really tough call to make….So I chose the safer, more guaranteed option. I chose a career that promised me a monthly salary and sacrificed the” dream”. I called the corporate eager to work with us and gave them reasons why my company could not continue with the project.

Every single day since then, I’ve hated myself for cancelling and for the loss of revenue. I’ve questioned whether I’ve made the right call declining the gig or not. I’ve read up on conflict of interest several times since then, hoping to overcome my guilt. I’ve felt like a quitter, failure and a coward- too scared to pursue the dream. The worst part was when we received another opportunity in 2018 to provide our services- and this time the client cancelled (despite our efforts to close the deal). Again I felt like I did not try hard enough.

As if things weren’t bad enough, we received a number of bookings that also did not materialise due to cancellations, conflict of interest, unavailability and no budget. This was a reality check and reminder of how tough entrepreneurship is.

A few glasses of wine later, I sit here deep in thought- acknowledging how hard finding a balance between your career and building your business really is. I sit here scared and worried at how challenging entrepreneurship is; at how real the daily struggles are for those pursuing entrepreneurship. I will be honest and admit that I enjoy receiving a salary. I fear the possibility of not having an income to maintain my lifestyle, yet the thrill of building my own company is too exciting.

So where do you draw the line? How do you find the balance? Is it even possible to have the best of both worlds? If not, for how long must one be employed and sacrifice building the dream in the comfort of a salary?

In my experience, it is not every boss that you work for that will understand your passion for entrepreneurship and be happy for you. It is not everyone who will celebrate the fact that you are trying to push both or every corporate company that will support you. I sit here as an employee and an entrepreneur- scared, lost and confused. I sit here, nervous about making the right decision- to jump or not to jump; confronted by the reality that my business is not ready yet and trying to balance the hunger and drive of pursuing every opportunity to build the business.

It is not easy and the stress of going through what I am experiencing is not fun… but I believe that through this post, we can begin a conversation that can help us navigate the complexities of “adulthood”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Chronicles Of A 30 Year Old Bachelor

The Chronicles Of A 30 Year Old Bachelor

The narrative is that millennials are confused, heavily indebted, unreliable,

Chronicles Of A 30 Year Old: Friendships

Chronicles Of A 30 Year Old: Friendships

Friends, what would life be without them?

You May Also Like