July, 2012 I walked out of JR Davis Elementary School with a weight lifted off of my shoulders, but also in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure how Axiom would support both of us or how long it would last, but I was ready to give it try. We planned and saved for this day, so I knew we had a security blanket if all failed, but it was still a crazy, exciting, and nervous time for both of us.
(Here’s a pic of my last day at JR Davis)
Now… when you decide to do something different, people tend to think you want their opinions. During those days, I remember receiving unwarranted advice before resigning from my position as a School Improvement Program Specialist, from people I never asked, telling me how bad of an idea it was to work with your spouse – mind you, from people that did not work with their spouse. But for us, I knew it was the right move. I knew I wasn’t going to have anyone else manage our business’ finances. I was the right fit. (By right fit, I mean being a bit of a control freak, organized and an attention to detail, spreadsheet loving person).
We did get some really great advice from a husband a wife team, (Thanks MOODYS:), that taught us so much; how to work together, how to do it right and how not to kill each other at the dinner table, when you’ve disagreed on business decisions. Yes, that was discussed.:) I knew it was possible to make it work and make it work well, thanks to their advice!
When I first imagined my new role, I pictured, lunches with friends, working at home at my desk, or at a coffee shop, mostly in activewear, multitasking housework and work and weekends would be off. Well some of those dreams did come true – like working in activewear, but others still have not, even after almost 6 years. I rarely do lunch with friends, because um, friends have jobs and don’t have time to brunch!! For many years, we busted our asses and work was definitely not 9 to 5 and weekends were NOT off. There was more work then workers and we had to stay afloat and keep our clients happy, so we WORKED and I do not regret those years. I know from the outside maybe our friends and families thought we were crazy. We had to say a lot of NOs at the time. No to plans, no to dinners out (we were also at the same time going through Dave’s Ramsey’s Baby Steps, so while we were working what felt like nonstop, we were also “living like no one else, so later we could live like no one else”, You know the drill with Dave and if you don’t, LOOK IT UP!! All of this to say, we had some crazy years and I don’t regret the decisions we made at the time to build up the business.
(Gordo decorated the house for my transition)
Now, after 6 years of working together full time, here are my thoughts.
Sometimes I miss the days of happy hour with my colleagues, sometimes going to happy hour with Gordo just isn’t the same as your gal pals at work. Sometimes I miss wearing my “work clothes” ( I do not miss ironing them though:) There is something to having others come to you at work and ask for advice, knowledge and feedback and it gave me a sense of accomplishment when you do work for someone besides yourself. There is a different sense of accomplishment when you own your own business, but it is different then having a community of colleagues working together.
When you work from home, you have to make a conscious decision to seek out time with friends, where in my positions before working from home, they happened naturally with work friends. I do love the flexibility that I have, that I did not have in the education field. I mean, now I can go to the bathroom when I want. If you were ever a teacher, you understand this issue!! But with flexibility comes great responsibility. You have to be self driven, which I am. There is no one pushing you on deadlines, expecting reports or writing up a review. The drive and motivation has to come from within. Some days are harder than others to push yourself, but the drive has to be there.
I think a major part of staying happy in any position is to be constant learner, because the same get’s mundane, so that’s something I keep in the forefront of my mind. Six years ago I had a major learning curve to go through. The job was challenging and new. As I have more knowledge now, my job isn’t as challenging (some things still are – TAX SEASON), But I try and make sure to try to get that challenge elsewhere – a new hobby, a class, something to keep me learning, which is not always easy for an introvert, but I have to make a conscious decision to focus on that.
Overall, working for yourself and with your spouse is NOT for everyone. I really enjoy it and I’m so happy we made the decision to go down this crazy route 6 years ago!
Bethany Yerse Flores
Axiom Media Productions