Tea with the Queen

Entrepreneur or Self-Employed: How I Made A Tough Choice



Are you contemplating the differences between being an entrepreneur and being self-employed? I had been an employee my entire life, and one key factor pushed me into a world I’m so happy I dared to dive into.

It was October 2017, and my life was about to take a major turn. Could I make it work being self-employed, or should I stay an employee.

I was faced with the prospect of starting a new job that I didn’t really want. As I approached my 40th birthday, I also had a child who was about to start school and I couldn’t shake the sinking feeling in my stomach. 

My partner was a school teacher, and I knew that taking this job wouldn’t be entirely flexible. I was struggling to see how we were going to be able to ensure our child would have the stability that we wanted. How were we going to manage the inevitable sick child phone calls from the school, volunteering requests and all that other good stuff.

I desperately wanted to be available for the needs of the family, and it was hard to imagine how my new role would accommodate this. I also wanted to be able to wear whatever I wanted every day, like my favourite pair of jeans!

It was at that moment that I knew I had to make a change. Do I step out into the world as an entrepreneur or stay an employee?

I realised I needed to create my own reality, one that would bring me joy and financial freedom.

My Desire To Help Other Entrepreneurs

Already a faculty member of Women in Leadership Australia and coaching numerous women, I knew I had a calling to empower others. But I wanted more. I wanted to feel truly alive and fulfilled every single day. After working closely with inspiring women, I realised that many of them shared similar aspirations – flexibility, being their own bosses, and achieving financial freedom. I wanted the same things.

I understood the struggles faced by women in business. It had been a tough few years for entrepreneurs, with many businesses struggling or closing down. I realised that true happiness and fulfilment weren’t guaranteed by external measures of success. However, I firmly believed that women could have it all – a thriving business, a fulfilling personal life, and financial security.

Revenue Targets Must Exceed $200k 

One of the key factors I discovered was the significance of revenue. According to the Bureau of Statistics, businesses with a turnover of more than $200,000 per year had a better chance of overcoming challenges. Many women I spoke to hadn’t paid close attention to their numbers for a long time, mainly because it can be intimidating. However, understanding your revenue and financial performance is crucial for making informed decisions and achieving growth.

Why Small Businesses Struggle

There are various reasons why businesses struggle or why their owners decide to quit. Challenges such as inconsistent revenue, insufficient profits, and a lack of passion for the business can cause entrepreneurs to question their choices. Ultimately, the decision to continue running a business or return to an employee role depends on individual circumstances. I found that showing up every day, working on my mindset, and falling in love with the numbers were key to overcoming these obstacles.

I wanted women to know that they could have more – more flexibility, more growth, more revenue, and more profit. Through my own journey and working with hundreds of women globally, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of entrepreneurship. By making positive steps towards their goals and staying committed to their dreams, women can create businesses that align with their values and bring them joy.

Did I Make It Work?

In my seven years in business, I have experienced the incredible rewards of entrepreneurship. I now have the privilege of dropping off my child at school every day and enjoying the freedom to work on my own terms. It’s not just about wearing jeans anymore (because, let’s be honest, they aren’t that comfortable). It’s about finding fulfilment, making a positive impact, and embracing the growth that comes with running a business.

So, I encourage you to take a moment, grab a cup of tea, and reflect on what you want to achieve by the end of this year. Then, chart a course of action that will bring you closer to your goals. Remember, you have the power to create a business and a life that brings you joy and fulfilment.

For a copy of Emma’s book, ‘Go-getter: Raise your mojo, shift your mindset and thrive’ – https://www.emmamcqueen.com.au/book/

Read The Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Emma: It was October 2017, I was looking down the barrel of a new job that I didn't want. I was about to turn 40. I had a small child who was about to start school hours, and I had that sinking feeling in my stomach. How would we handle school hours? My hubby's a school teacher, so he works school hours.

[00:00:20] How would we handle a call from the school with a pickup request for a sick child? It was at that point, I knew I needed to jump ship.

[00:00:29] I needed to create my own reality. I already had a side hustle as a faculty member of Women in Leadership Australia and I was already coaching many women, but I wanted more. I wanted financial freedom. I wanted to do something that lit me up every single day. I wanted to have fun, achieve results, and take life a little less seriously.

[00:00:50] and I wanted to wear jeans. Every day! After working with so many inspiring women, this is what they tell me they went into business for themselves for. Flexibility. To be their own boss, to work fewer hours, to feel like they can have more impact, and they want financial freedom. So important.

[00:01:12] In reality, they may have flexibility, appear to be working more hours, feeling more stressed, and more frustrated because they are not getting any closer to their goals.

[00:01:24] I get it. It's been a tough few years. Businesses have struggled. Some have closed. What we thought would make us happy, does not. However, I truly believe there is a way for women to have these things. And feel fulfilled at work and at home. Here's the kicker. The Bureau of Statistics says that unless your turnover is more than 200,000 per year your business will struggle.

[00:01:49] Emma: I'd love you to take a minute just to think about, do you know where your actual revenue is? A lot of women I speak to have not looked at the numbers in a really long time, [00:02:00] because it can be scary. I also know this number, to be true. When revenue reaches this point, it means it can free us up to hire some help, to invest in marketing and focus on growth or scale, depending on what you want.

[00:02:15] And there are a variety of reasons why businesses don't succeed or why their owners shut shop. Here are a few. It's hard. It's harder than they thought. Revenue is inconsistent, therefore cash flow is lumpy. Which leads to feast or famine. There's not enough profit in the business. Or they just don't love their business or their products or their services

[00:02:36] Emma: anymore.
[00:02:36] So what's the answer? Well, it depends. And I hate it when someone says that to me. But it depends on what's happening for you in your own business. There's always a choice to be made about whether you want to keep going, running your own business, or whether you want to go back to an employee type role. Here are a couple of things that helped me. showing up.

[00:02:56] When you run a business, you need to continue to make the choice every day to show up, even when things are hard. Is that you? Are you showing up?

[00:03:05] We need to constantly work on our mindset, whatever that looks like for you. It could be meditation. It could be journaling. It could be listening to podcasts or reading books because every business is different but it's important for you to be clear on what you need to achieve, what success looks like for you, and how you want to show up.

[00:03:25] As I said before, numbers, well, they're not scary once you get to know them and once you understand them. Yes, you can outsmart them. Source, but only after you understand your numbers. You need to fall in love with those things. You need to fall in love with your numbers You need to know your revenue.

[00:03:40] You need to know your profit. You need to be clear on the variable and fixed costs, and you need to understand the trade-offs that you need to make. I had to work really hard to know my numbers. need to not only have a plan, but also a way to execute the plan. A plan does nothing if it's not implemented. Knowing what you do each day to inch closer to the [00:04:00] business of your dreams is so important. Focusing on why you went into business in the first place You might have it stuck on a computer as a reminder.