By Justin Haley Phillips
I get paid tomorrow—it’s not much. My honey and I were on a road trip for the first half of my biweekly pay period, so it was kind of worth missing work.
Okay, it was absolutely worth missing work. It was one of the best trips of my life, and that speaks volumes because I’ve had some pretty good ones.
But part of me is still anxious and upset. Part of me wishes that we’d come home sooner, or that I’d picked up an extra shift. That part of me looks at the six bucks in my wallet and shudders in terror. That part of me is so used to the life of an hourly employee that it can’t let go of the hourly employee mentality. It’s hungry for time because time equals money in that world.
I have to step back and remind myself that, “That’s no longer my world.” Sure, I still work a few days a week at the health store: it’s a nice buffer. But I have chosen the path of the entrepreneur precisely to break free of that rat race. I’m weaning myself off. While my bank account may—at this moment—lay claim to less than a dollar (and only Washington and Lincoln are rubbing shoulders with my useless debit card), I can take comfort in the fact that I can make any day payday.
I can promote new services, I can finish a project-in-progress, and I can run a special—I have options! When you have your own business you get to make the rules; you get to do what you love and get paid for it. You don’t have to put in your time and wait patiently for that automatic deposit knowing someone else made far more money off your efforts than you did. You’re your own boss, sweetheart, and it’s grand.
However, you’re also your own employee.
I forget this side of it sometimes. I can be too lenient with myself, too flexible with my work hours, and too optimistic with my deadlines. As my own boss, I need to tighten the reins. But hey, I’ve been doing this business thing for less than a year. I am learning how to set boundaries and estimate time frames. I am also learning what I’m capable of, what I do and don’t enjoy, and how to charge what I’m worth.
Being an entrepreneur sparks quite the inner exploration! Why do I get so stuck on money? Why do I want to work longer or harder for a pitiful, yet guaranteed, paycheck instead of working easily and happily for a much larger payoff? Is it just a habit after all these years? Do I feel my talents have little value? Is it something even deeper? I’m still figuring this out.
One thing I know for sure is that money isn’t the only thing of value: experience is true wealth. Fresh faces and new places, exciting adventures, unexpected accidents and surprise blessings are true wealth.
If I had to do it again, knowing what I know now, I would still go on that road trip. Heck, I would still even go through Cathedral Valley in the Impala again, even though it nearly went bad eight ways to Sunday! Why? Because that trip enriched my life more than any job could, no matter how much a job might enrich my wallet.
Speaking of which, let me confess something: I actually have seven dollars in my wallet, not six, but one of them won’t be spent any time soon, so I’m not counting it. When I pulled it out at the grocery store yesterday, I noticed that there are words around the edges of the bill, written in purple marker. It says, “I will be making 160,000 by age 29.” It also says, “One day I won’t even use 1’s.”
I plan to change 29 to 39 because I’m 33 right now, and I think I’m going to hang onto this particular dollar. It has inspired me to think big…really, really big. “One day I won’t even use 1’s,” says a lot to a gal who is carefully rationing every dollar. And I know that I’ll never hit a six-digit year working under someone else, at least not doing anything that makes me happy. This work is something I’m doing for myself—right now, every day; step by step I’m building my business.
And yes, I get paid tomorrow. And that little halfsie paycheck will take care of a bill or two. But I get a grip on the little voice that hungers for hourly wages and extra shifts, and I drag it out of the spotlight. I tuck it into a corner to pout, and I give the stage to my business, my projects, my clients, my ideas, and my passion. Because even when the money isn’t in the bank yet, when you do what you love, every day is payday.
Justin Haley Phillips is a free spirit, an adventurer, a nerd, and a people-loving introvert. She is also a writer, an editor, and a wordsmithing coach and consultant. Her passion lies in helping heart-centered women share their stories to inspire, empower, and heal. Haley can be found in libraries, on road trips, staring at the sky, leaving behind sticky notes with positive affirmations on them, or curled up with a cuppa and a good book. She also wants you to know how amazing you are and to remember that you are loved.
Editor: John Pendall
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