The title of this blog post probably leads one to believe this post is about American liberties, the military, or the war. It is not. This post is primarily directed to small business owners, and even many people who are employed in a career.
An unusual event happened last week. I reached out to a colleague for some professional service that he could not provide, but he connected me with another colleague who could help me. I met with this man at a nice CPA office in Tampa and while he was preparing a report for me, a partner at the firm sat with me and we chatted for a bit. Small talk at first, “Oh, you must know so-and-so,” and “What kind of software did they use over there?” After a few minutes, it began to feel a little more like a job interview than a conversation.
Turns out, it was. I was given the dime tour of the building and introduced to various staff members. Everyone was really friendly and I felt pretty certain this is not how they treated every client that walked in the door, especially one as small as me.
ABC Solutions is my brainchild and creation, and I’m not a very creative person, except for the occasional tax loophole. I reorganized my company last January to work less and travel more. In the process, I designed it to make more money than when I was a slave to my office and overhead. Before last Friday, I entertained the idea of finding a nice firm to work for, but they were usually fleeting thoughts that lasted no longer than a moment or two.
However, this firm is promising a lot more than a job on a variety of levels. While we have not discussed a compensation package in detail, it has made me question a few things.
Right now, I can pack up some work, toss my dog in the car and head to South Carolina for a week or two. My clients are around the country and most of my work is done remotely. No one cares what desk I’m sitting at when I do it. I like that freedom.
SMB Nation is next week in Las Vegas (http://fall.smbnation.com). I don’t have to get written permission from a supervisor to have the time off (3 days before the 1040 filing deadline) prior to booking my travel. I attend Autotask’s CommLive, Microsoft’s TechEd, and any other conference that appeals to me and my budget. I like that freedom, too.
I choose the clients I want to work with and fire the ones I don’t. I am starting classes at Florida Institute of Technology in two weeks. Right now, if I need extra study time, I can put one project aside and do my schoolwork. I take my dog wherever I go. My workday starts after my morning schedule and ends when my brain says, “Uncle.” I like these freedoms, too.
So, what is my price on these freedoms? What is the minimum I would be willing to consider giving these things up? Is there a price on these intangibles? I do not want to wake up in 18 months and wonder, “I gave up my company and independence for this??”
No one ever thinks of these things until they have a reason to consider it. I know many people out in the world work at jobs they dislike because they have a family to feed. I found a way to enjoy both work and life. I can make more money and learn A LOT from this firm doing international work and high-end accounting and consulting. There are good reasons to take a position with this firm. There are good reasons not to.
What is your freedom worth to you?