If you had asked me two years before my wife and I began our home catering business whether I would consider being my own boss, I would have laughed out loud and scoffed at the idea. The company I worked for seemed to be doing well and I was recognized for the “creative genius” that I was. I was contented as a Web Developer in a multi-national corporation, lost in my own world in cyberspace. The pay was alright and there wasn’t any reason to think of other means of income. Looking back, I realized that I was in a comfort zone and being there shut my eyes to all the opportunities that were knocking at my door. Things were about to change though.
The signs were classic of a company in trouble. Emails instructing us to take cost-reduction seriously, profit sharing withheld, no year-end bonus, a freeze on all pay rises. Then, it was crunch-time. There was talk of “staff re-designation”. One year later, it became a full blown staff elimination exercise. No retrenchment benefits, no nothing.
My wife didn’t really think I was serious about the company being in trouble until I started having the “classic” symptoms of Middle-Aged-Man-With-Job-Threatened-Syndrome. I couldn’t eat or sleep worrying about how we would make ends meet on my wife’s salary as a kindergarten teacher, which wasn’t much. The stress and fear were taking its toll on my health.
It became clear that there was no way the company would keep me for more than a year and with job applicants half my age working for even lesser pay, my wife and I did some serious talking. We came up with a couple of ideas we thought we could do to earn extra cash and prepare us for the tough times ahead. We eventually decided to start our own home catering business, cooking and delivering dinner to people who were either too busy, didn’t have the time or the liking to cook.
Armed only with the confidence that my wife was a great cook, we started. Our first obstacle turned out to be our minds. We were so caught up in our comfort zone for so long that every little decision seemed like a monumental task. At the back of our minds, we didn’t want to be in the position we were in. We struggled with the fear of change and the unknown, but we carried on, telling ourselves that even if I did get another job, it was only a matter of time before the same cycle would repeat itself. We HAD to take this step and take control of our lives and our earning power.
We made countless mistakes in our first six months, but let me tell you… when we got our first customer, I felt such relief I slept like a baby that night. It was my first night of peaceful sleep in a year. It wasn’t the sixty dollars profit that we made. It was the fact that we had finally started to chart our own destiny, free from the whims and fancies of corporate management.
A year into our business, the inevitable happened. I was approached by my company to discuss “re-designation”. I told them that I knew what they meant and I was prepared to leave. I was the last one in my division to finally say goodbye. Thankfully, my wife and I saw this coming a year ago and readied ourselves for it, so when the time came, we just let go and set our sights on our home catering business.
It’s been almost two years now and we’ve gone through some really trying times learning the ropes of managing a home business. We’ve had to adjust our attitudes and daily lives but we’re doing fine, and our financial situation has gone from hopeless to healthy. What started out as a way to earn extra money has turned out to be our main source of income.
I hope my sharing gives you the encouragement and inspiration to NOT LOSE HOPE. I wouldn’t recommend waiting until you were in trouble before you considered starting your own home business, but maybe like us, it takes a storm to help us break free of our comfort zone.
Andrew Shim is the owner and editor of http://www.positivemoneyideas.com , a website which offers FREE IDEAS for those interested in starting their own freelance or home based business and http://www.positivetones.com , a FREE resource website for Positive Living. He and his wife run a successful home catering business. When not up to his eyeballs in veggie, meat, gravy and being official taster for his catering business, he manages his websites, writes for numerous other sites and magazines and fools around with his kids.