Ever since I decided to leave my full-time job to start a business, I’ve come to realize that a once-familiar feeling is no longer present in my life: the “Sunday night feeling.”
Anyone who has ever had a job can probably relate to this. It’s the feeling you get on Sunday nights as you start to think about Monday and the work week ahead: feelings of dread, impatience, irritation, anticipatory stress and boredom, and general impending unhappiness.
“The Sunday night feeling” is the sense of anticipating all the things that might go wrong during the next day at work: difficult conversations, sudden project emergencies, things that you’re going to be blamed for even though they’re not your fault, details you don’t care about, things you don’t want to do, but have to do anyway.
One of the many great things about starting a business is that being an entrepreneur takes you away – forever – from that dreaded “Sunday night feeling.”
Why is this?
Many people don’t like their jobs. According to a January 2010 survey by the Conference Board, only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their work. Many people are in jobs that aren’t the right fit for them. They’re underutilized, under-challenged, or overburdened. They’re working longer hours for stagnant pay and shrinking benefits.
As an entrepreneur, you can make yourself the right fit for your job – and make your job the right fit for your life. When you start your own business, there is no safety net, but there is also no ceiling on your earning potential.
To be sure, there are still frustrations, stresses and seemingly insignificant details that can clutter up your day when you start a business. You still need to sort out the details of how to incorporate a business (as an LLC or Corporation), and start paying small business taxes every quarter. But even the difficulties are more bearable when you’re the one in charge.
Another drawback of a standard 9-to-5 job is that it puts an arbitrary limit on your productive time. Even if your most productive hours happen outside the standard workday, even if you get great ideas and feel full of energy at night or on a weekend, you’re expected to limit yourself to Monday through Friday.
When you start a business, you can be productive anytime, anywhere. After all, what’s so special about Monday at 9 a.m.? What if you want to stay up late on Sunday night tackling a tough problem for your business, and then sleep in on Monday instead? What if you want to take your kids to the park on a summer afternoon, and make up for the work time later? As long as the work gets done, and your customers are happy, who cares about the “when” and “how?”
When you’re an entrepreneur, you have unprecedented freedom and control over how you spend your time and focus your energies.
Once you’re running a business you will probably be working longer hours than you did at your day job, but your overall life satisfaction is likely to be much higher. Many entrepreneurs find that rather than the “Sunday night feeling,” their biggest challenge is work-life balance, and finding a way to pursue their business passion while still devoting enough time to family, friends and personal wellness.
As Alan Weiss says in his time investment tips for small business people, “Integrate your professional life and your personal life.” Once you’re running a business, you no longer have a separate “personal life” and a “professional life.” You have a life. Make it a good one.