Last year, I was invited to a local television show to speak about the importance of “spring cleaning” your finances. While I was there, I met a businesswoman who was invited to share her expertise on the power of organizing your home and decluttering. We chatted about our respective businesses while we waited to be called for our segments. I learned that she had an office in an enviable part of the city and loved what she did. By the way she spoke, I thought she had it all and had it all figured out.
I told her that personal finance was my love language, and I felt that I was born to inspire women to be thoughtful and brave. However, I glossed over the fact that my business was not my primary source of income. This was because I had internalized some of the common belief that entrepreneurship is the ultimate form of winning and if I’m still working a 9-to-5, I lacked confidence in myself, and my vision was “playing small” and settling for a B-rated life.
Click to read more about what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur.
Once our segments ended, we walked to the train together and continued our conversation. Between the 15 minutes it took to exit the studio and swipe our Metrocards through the turnstile, I learned that my new friend was in heavy business debt, and had financed much of her personal and business expenses across several credit cards. She was also extremely stressed.
Since she was such a new friend, I didn’t feel it was my place to give her advice, so I instead gave her a listening ear. As we stood on the platform, she shared some more. And when we boarded the train, she shared even more. Throughout this conversation, I wondered if she ever considered returning to a 9-to-5 while she built her business or if she, too, deep down believed that worker bees were losers.
Since our conversation, I’ve revised my initial “all or nothing” stance about being an entrepreneur or working for someone else.
Since I founded The Frugal Feminista, I’ve been paid to speak about women and personal finance across the country, worked with large brands, written books and built an online money movement that I’m truly proud of. I did this while simultaneously being committed to helping close the achievement gap as an education administrator. These are two causes that are dear to my heart.
While I keep myself open to the idea of making The Frugal Feminista my main source of income and do the work necessary to make it happen, I’ll enjoy the journey, for now, no matter how winding. I now know this truth: Success can happen whether you work for yourself, work for someone else or do a combination of the two. Only you will know what’s right for you, and only your opinion should matter the most when it comes to making this decision.