I was chatting with a friend who stopped by for a visit recently. He has been frustrated with his job, as of late. When we talk about his job, it seems to be nothing but negativity. He tolerates the people in his department, and their lack of motivation, dependability, productivity, and initiative (this is from his perspective). He gets stressed out over his ever-increasing workload; he has to take paperwork home to stay ahead of things. He often is the first to arrive at the office, and the last to leave, which is creating a work-life imbalance, and a negative spillover into the other areas of his life. One aspect in particular that is suffering for it is the small consulting business he has been running on the side for the last few years. Despite the small amount of time he gives the business, his clientele has been impressed with his work. When I ask him about this work, his eyes light up, and his whole countenance changes. He talks about the business with such passion, and has a sense that this is what he was called to do, born to do.
Having been through something of a similar nature when I worked in the industry prior to the work I now do, I get a charge out of seeing people passionate about what they do, when they love the work they do.
“I’ll be right back,” I said, excusing myself. I came back with the adding machine that sits on my desk in my home office. “Let’s see something. Figure out how much your company pays you an hour.” He said he was paid salary, so I suggested taking his base pay and dividing it by 40 hours (which is the number of hours associated with his base pay). He came up with a figure of $20 an hour. He gets paid overtime, as he works nearly 60 hours a week. Figuring out his overtime by the hour, he calculated it to be $7 an hour.
“Great,” I said. Then I asked, “Tell me, how much do you charge for your consulting services?” He looked at me, and said, “$60 an hour.” Pretty modest, probably, by the industry standards, I’m guessing. “Do you see what I see?” I asked. He looked at me, and I could see him getting it, by the expression on his face. “I make three times as much an hour doing my consulting work than the company I work for pays me,” he said.
“So,” I began, “why aren’t you doing more of that? The work excites you, and I bet the frustrations of your other job aren’t in this work, right?” He agreed. “Perhaps, you need to consider making a shift. Instead of identifying the work you do for the company as the major source of income for you, and the consulting work as something you do on the side, switch it around. Identify yourself as an entrepreneur, who operates a consultancy business, and who happens to supplement your income with this other job. What do you think?”
“I think, when I look at it that way, it makes me want to devote more time to my business, as it has more earning potential, and would probably make me happier in the long run.”
We then started talking about his consultancy business as his main source of income. He became excited about marketing the business more, and doing the work to attract more clients. He kept affirming that he is an entrepreneur.
It was fun to watch him making the shift and place more value on the work he loves to do. When he sees it as more than something he does on the side and places more value on it, people will value his services more. As he seeks to expand his view and perception of his business, the business will expand. As someone said recently to me, “What we think about, we bring about.”
It is my sincere hope that those of you reading this are making your own shifts about the work you do, and the work you have been called to do, and knowing the value of each.
Love and light,