If in your former life you worked for someone else and had a steady paycheck, you know that at times your post-employee life has some real nail-biter moments.
At first, leaving your steady employment is pretty exhiliarating. Dreams of freedom, working from a beach with a pina colada in hand while taking a few breaks in the hammock run through your head. Mid-day runs to the gym, going to the post office when there isn't a line, grocery shopping in the middle of the day and cooking your kids pancakes on a Tuesday are all things you can do when you work for yourself and control your own schedule.
What no one tells you (except me, because I won't sugar coat anything), is that when you want to go to bed at 10pm but a client needs something by tomorrow morning, there's no one else to help you. Sallie Mae and your mortgage company won't wait for your client's check to arrive before sending you not-so-nice reminders that your payment is due. There's no boss to make sure you're always busy by giving you work. People have to know you exist in order to hire you, which means you have to always get out there and announce your existence.
And there will be doubt. As resolute and committed as you might be to your business, the doubts will always creep in. Should I have quit my job? Will I make enough money? Where will my next client come from? I tell anyone that will listen that the hardest part about being an entrepreneur is not mastering the running of the business, or keeping costs down, or finding great suppliers (though these things are important). The hardest part is keeping the doubts at bay. The constantly pushing the negative thoughts out of your brain so you can forge your own path and push past all the "what ifs" and "hows" and "oh shit" moments.
When you're an employee, the road ahead has likely been traveled and is pretty clear to you. When you're on your own, you're paving the path every day. Some days, it'd be nice to be able to see the road a little more clearly, or maybe hit the cruise control and coast for a bit. You can't do that when you own a business. Just enjoy the ride.
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.