I had some great experiences during the corporate leg of my career. I lived in three different major cities; I opened two luxury hotels; I traveled to a pile of US cities on someone else’s dime. I got to always be the youngest to do this or that, and I learned more than I will probably ever be able to remember. I got to stay in some of the best hotels in America, for free, all while making a fantabulous salary with glorious benefits (namely the health insurance that I never used). Also? I had free meals and free dry cleaning. Always.
Pretty rad, right?
And yet, the opportunities that have crossed my path just in the 15 short months of being out on my own so far surpass that list of goodies as to render it absurd. To whit, a brief list of things I’ve done or been asked to do in the last year:
1. Published articles in national and international publications.
2. Filmed a pilot for a TV show.
3. Launched a “lifestyle brand for poor people,” The Frugal Hostess.
4. Given speeches galore, including key noting a couple of conferences.
5. Opened a vintage store online.
6. Created and soon to launch a line of old-fashioned small batch candies.
7. Received about 4,976 books to read and review, for free, just for being my own smart-assed self.
8. Been quoted in business proposals by companies I’ve never heard of.
9. Done business with people I’ve never set eyes on.
10. Been approached about and started writing a book based on my blog.
11. Worn no Spanx, panty hose, high heels, or other uncomfortable, irritating, and expensive nonsense to do any of the above.
Not all of the stuff up there has (or even will) come to fruition, but having those kinds of choices is pretty powerful. I have to say, if given the option to choose between filming a TV show and enjoying another room service meal, I’m gonna pick the TV show, even if it sits on a shelf until I die. So, as you are weighing the pros and cons of going out on your own, keep in mind that your corporate brain can’t even fathom what your independent brain will be able to take on. When contemplating a walk on the self-employment wild side, I’m living proof that personal freedom opens more doors than it closes.
Plus, you can do most of it in PJs.