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Laid Off. Self-Employed. Entrepreneur.

I’m still adjusting to working for myself.

When I was laid off in January 2009 I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with my life. Since I was 12 years old I have been working at some sort of job – for someone else. I always had dreams of owning my own business one day, but taking the giant plunge was just too scary.

In the Renz household you worked for a living – sometimes two or three jobs. Our motto was “If you want something, work for it.” That meant 2 a.m. paper routes, cleaning churches and schools, working for a horse ranch, being a bank teller, driving a special ed school bus, running the register at a gas station, cleaning houses, cleaning the post office, working for Boeing, Custom Food Group, Texas Instruments, Ericsson. Yep. Those are all the jobs that I have had and they weren’t short term, many of them I had for years and some of them I worked while working another job and going to school full-time.

So when I was suddenly out on the street looking for a job I decided that after doing all of those jobs and none of them being really what I wanted to do that I wasn’t going to take another job unless I really enjoyed doing it. So I’ve now been unemployed/self-employed for 7 months and I’ve been doing just fine on my own.

Now I still work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet, but they are things that I like to do and they have amazing flexibility that allows me to live a non-traditional life. I don’t work 9-5 days or 80 hour weeks. I don’t sit in traffic or rush through my lunch, but there are trade-offs as there are to everything in life.

I don’t have any co-workers and there isn’t much opportunity for advancement unless I bust my butt and make it happen myself. Clients don’t always pay on time or pay at all. I’m home alone a great deal of the time and that can get old.

But that upside is that being your own boss is the best thing in the world and worth every sacrifice. There is also the joy that comes from making it on your own. There is also that little twinge of fear that keeps you motivated to keep working hard and busting it so that you can still pay your bills.

If you are looking to start your own business then I say do it. Start small, start networking, get a website, do some small jobs to get your feet wet and start building your network of friends while you still have full time work. This is probably a good idea even if you don’t plan to start your own business.

And lastly, I never could have gotten to where I am today without the support of great friends and family. And if you are looking to keep up with more of my work life, then check out my business sites: http://www.soundandshow.com and http://www.eddierenz.com

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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