Every now and then I take a look at my life and am amazed that I could be living it. Each day is different from the day before; I do what I like to do and I do as much as I like to do, when I like to do it!
Has it always been that way? NO. I'm a product of a generation that believed that working for a large and solid company would be the ideal way to have a secure future. But along with all the corporate climbing that I did, I kept asking "what is wrong with this picture?" I was in an environment that controlled my creativity, my initiative and my finances. Finally, after three successive corporate career reversals through take-overs and downsizing, I started to look at other options. I began the history of my own family.
My parents were immigrants to America. They and many, many others just like them, came to this country without skills, without money, without knowing the language. What they had, though, was the wisdom to see the abundance of opportunities in this newly chosen home land. They were the real risk-takers who believed in hard work, self-reliance and being their own boss. They had the motivation, the discipline and the perseverance to pursue their dream. They believed in themselves. I spent much time in talking with them and through those discussions, I confirmed what I had been feeling all along - I have those entrepreneurial qualities as well! Holding on to this revelation, I looked at the business world from an entrepreneur's point of view...starting with how business has evolved since the first settlers. I found some interesting history.
When this country first began most, if not all, businesses were home-based - the seamstress, the shoemaker, the butcher and baker, the candlestick maker, the stable owner, the tavern keeper, etc. all worked at home. Their private quarters were attached to the storefront, either above or in the back. Then the Industrial Revolution came along and this modern technology moved services and production out of the home and into factories and office buildings. It became an important goal to get a job in one of those places because having a job there was a matter of pride and self-respect. Businesses were moving out of the home and moving into the future.
Sadly, over the many decades of enormous corporate and technological advancement, the secure future, that was promised to me and countless of others turned out to be an illusion. Yes, many people made lots of money, but it extracted a heavy toll in our personal lives. Heart attacks, stress, divorce, etc. were the by-products of the fast track we are led to believe is the only way to achieve success. The world was changing so quickly and we suffered the negative effects of an economy that has gone wrong.
And so, I gathered up my courage and said goodbye to office politics, to a long, daily commute to un-satisfying jobs and to a financial ceiling imposed on me by someone else. I was now in charge of my life and I loved it. I wanted to grow and explore not only what else was out there for me to do, but to see what I was made of. Back then, I didn't know much about taxes and deductions; had no idea about how to write business plans or marketing plans; couldn't tell you the difference between a permit and a license...but I learned. I taught myself how to market my business; I discovered the best sales techniques that work for me; I studied accounting and understood how banks work...it was endless, it was exciting! It was scary! There were times where I asked my mother to call me to make sure that the phone was working - I didn't have one client calling me! There were also times that I looked through the paper to see what jobs were available! But I persevered - primarily because the thought of failure was non-acceptable; and secondly, the thought of going back to an office, with all its restrictions and limitations depressed me.
Once I was armed with how to start my business and was operating fairly successfully, I decided that I wanted to help others to do the same. This idea has served me well. It is enormously gratifying to see others take their idea and make it an actuality. It is rewarding to help people make better decisions on how to earn a living and enjoy their family life as well. And finally, it makes me truly happy to know that I have found what I was truly meant to do with my life.
Helene K. Liatsos
Home Office Management Experts