With a slow-going job search on my hands, lately I’ve been having entrepreneurial thoughts. Given my family’s disastrous experiments with business initiatives (failed restaurants, lost money, strained familial ties, etc., etc.) I am rather hesitant to even consider starting my own business. And yet the thoughts (and accompanying doubts) persist. So, what to do?
Various ideas have been tossed around in my head and I have even said them aloud a few times… and to real people! One idea is to start a vacation planning business focused on families with young children. I could do all the research for airfare, car rentals, vacation home rentals, and even suggest itineraries for sightseeing and touring. Another idea is start a meal service for families with newborn babies. I’ve been cooking a lot for friends with newborns these past few months and have always been shown much gratitude. I’ve made wontons, meatballs, roast chicken, even vegan soups. Yet another idea is cooking lessons in people’s homes–either in groups or one-on-one. We would agree in advance on a meal and I would shop for all the ingredients ahead of time. Oh, and then there’s the scary idea of running a food truck–shiver!
And yet I hesitate. Aside from the obvious usual anxieties about starting a business from scratch (i.e. how do I do something that actual generates a profit?), my main concern has been how to address the nagging need to make a difference, to have some kind of social impact. I mean, well-fed people will surely be happier people, but what inroads would that make towards reducing poverty, stabilizing families or increasing social justice? One friend actually suggested that I could cook for single mothers once a week. Another suggested that I use cooking lessons as a way to promote collaboration and brainstorming for social initiatives. And yet. What if I can’t reach vulnerable groups? What if my only clients are picky and difficult? What if I begin to dislike planning and cooking? What if I don’t like working alone? What if I fail?
I just don’t know.
It’s hard to imagine myself actually taking on any of these ventures, and yet I am doing them (with the exception of the food truck) regularly. But there’s something about being self-employed that I just can’t wrap my head around. There’s another part of me that tells me that I need to be a part of something bigger–that there’s safety in numbers, both in terms of job security and performance towards goals. That same part of me also yearns for the more traditional forms of recognition: salary, title, and renowned employer. I can’t help it because on some level all of this does matter.
So, what to do? How have any of you dealt with competing professional goals?