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Do You Struggle with Knowing Your Worth?

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I have written a couple of times about how much my business has grown in the last 6 or so months. It’s to the point where I can’t keep up anymore. And I have to make some hard decisions. In addition, a client has made me a very lucrative offer to once again step into the corporate world.

On My Own

I have really maxed out my capacity to support clients and support them well. And letting my customer support and responsive slide is not something I want to happen. My options are:

  • Hire some help. Something I have always said I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to become an agency or be responsible for other’s livelihoods, not to mention the overhead change when you expand from the solopreneur type platform. Right now, I sell myself, my time, my experience and I know my capabilities and limits. Having workers changes that tremendously.
  • Cut back a bit. Or push out. Right now, I turn projects around very quickly. I work crazy hours. But the results are great and my delivery times are super fast. My clients love that. I could either start saying ‘no’ to projects and requests or saying ‘yes’ but giving significantly extended delivery schedules.

I struggle with this. We have been in “famine” mode for so long that I have lots of mental blocks when it comes to turning down work. Lots!

Back to Corporate

A client who has been with me since this summer is really pushing to bring me on full time as an employee. This is a large corporation and she is equivalent to VP in her position and has been with them for 7 years. I have never been as “woo’d” (is that a word?) by a company before. Creating a new position and title to entice me. Offering me all sorts of benefits and a very generous salary. (We are actually at the point of discussing a real salary that blows my mind.)

Those who have been reading BAD for some time know that I dipped my toes back into corporate in March, 2017. It was 9 months of misery for me and ended pretty badly. And it’s taken me all this time to rebuild my freelance business.

I have been very open and upfront about my experience and hesitations and she continues to woo me. And if I’m honest, the idea of steady and very good compensation, paid time off, health benefits, etc. is enticing. Not to mention, their company culture is amazing.

If COVID hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. They were office based, in a big city and would never have considered a remote person for this role. But she assures me that even post-COVID they will not return to the office. And at most she would ask me to come to town a couple of times a year. And she is willing to put it in writing.

Decision Looming

I am completely torn. And scared. It took everything I had to sit down and commit to salary talks.

The thought of shuttering my business and going back to corporate is pretty scary. Thankfully, working for this client and the team I would be managing gives me more comfort than considering it cold. That’s probably the only reason I am considering it.

If anything happens I imagine it will be finalized by the end of the year with some transition time early next year as I wrap things up with existing clients and refer them elsewhere.

But my final thought on this has been…whichever way it goes, I’m in a good place. I’m making more than a liveable wage, I’m paying off my debt and work has been steady and increasing. I am so grateful for this place I am in. But it is really hard to not doubt myself and be scared for the future.

 

 

 


24 Comments

  • Reply Angie |

    If you do entertain ideas for remote, ensure there is a stipend for WFH materials. W2 workers can’t deduct expenses related to WFH. So you’ll lose your home office, utilities, internet, phone, and software deductions. Either that, or keep your side business open a bit to keep the deductions.

  • Reply Jen |

    You and your daughter both have chronic health issues. You need real health insurance and not this Christian co-op crap. This isn’t even a decision.

    • Reply Sarah |

      We have had “this Christian co-op crap” for three years and it works like a charm. Instead of paying $24k per year for a bronze plan with lousy coverage plus a huge yearly deductible, we pay less than $5000 per year for the “co-op crap”. We self insure the small stuff but our costs do not come any where close to what we would pay for insurance premiuns. No deductible and no networks.

      • Reply Jessica |

        Yeah, maybe great until something disastrous happens or they just decide they don’t want to cover something.

        • Reply Sue |

          I agree. They aren’t regulated like a regular insurance company and aren’t required to provide anything. It’s probably fine for routine care or something like a broken leg but would they cover a $1 million NICU bill? Pay $900/month for insulin for a diabetic child? Open heart surgery?

        • Reply Sarah |

          I had to have two colonoscopies in July and received a check for $4k within six weeks of submitting receipts.

          My husband had one in September and received a check for almost $2k in about six weeks.

          No questions asked. A couple years ago, I had an infection in the legs of my pores. $800 check received quickly (which included two visits to urgent care because I could not get an appointment with a dermatologist and finally a dermatologist visit). No questions asked. No deductibles.

          My husband has an issue where he is going to have to spend a night in the hospital and have no doubt they will pay that.

          CHM has been in business for 40 years. I doubt they are going out of business. They publish a magazine monthly with stories of how they have helped people. $10s of thousands of dollars if not $100s.

          https://chministries.org/resources/heartfelt-magazine/

          • Kerry |

            Going out of business isn’t the issue. The issue is that you have no protection if they decide you don’t live by their mandate, if you cost too much, or if you can’t front the money for your care in the first place.

    • Reply Alice |

      I don’t think that’s fair. I lost my job a few years ago due to budget cuts and I, too, had to have that “Christian co-op crap.” It was FAR less expensive than the cheapest and worst health insurance policy I could have purchased on my own. The job I took next was at a place that wasn’t required to provide health insurance, so I chose this. It was a life saver to me for a year and a half until I got a job with excellent coverage.

  • Reply SMS |

    If you were much younger than you are, this would be more of an issue. But because you are middle-aged (I think ?), have debt and especially have no retirement savings, in my opinion this is a slam dunk, providing you receive an official offer letter laying out the benefits. With a very good salary, you could max out the 401k and make real progress in retirement savings. I honestly don’t see how you are going to do that otherwise. This is a chance for financial stability.

  • Reply Margann34 |

    If you keep your business open, you must learn to say “no”. You are in a great situation where you can pick and choose your projects based on profitability and the types of projects you enjoy. Do Not expand if you know you will not like that responsibility. Do not do it just to make more money. At some point you have to establish your values and goals and live by those even if that means you turn down work. I don’t have an opinion on whether you should consider the corporate position. I think you would do well either way but maybe that is the most logical path to higher earnings if that is an important goal for you right now. I also understand your reluctance given your prior experience.

  • Reply Lisa |

    Benefits and a high salary? Take the job. You could keep on a few clients and do your business as a side gig. How wonderful to have options.

  • Reply Anon Lawyer |

    While Angie is right about the home office deductions, as a general rule, those deductions are dwarfed by what a large company is likely to offer in terms of retirement benefits and health insurance. Plus you won’t have to pay self-employment tax. As a general rule a salary in the private sector goes MUCH further than earnings as a contractor.

  • Reply Janie B. |

    The health benefits, alone, make it worthwhile!

    My DH was self-employed for most of our married life, and I can tell you that health insurance *always* was our single biggest expense.

    I suggest that you tell your current clients “up front” that you are taking a corporate job but that you will let them know if you decide to revert back to being a free-lancer.

  • Reply Mrs. H |

    While from a strict numbers/benefits perspective the corporate job is likely a big win…it will be a loss if you hate it and quit after a year and then have to rebuild your business.

    Is it possible to employ your children to help you with client work? You could train them, have them help out with a specific set of more menial tasks allowing you to focus on the higher-skill areas, pay them an hourly rate (with you still profiting as the business owner) and give them some work experience for their resumes. Their pay could even be set aside for college or retirement savings.

    • Reply T'Pol |

      What you said is absolutely true but, there are times when it is not the wise choice to quit just because of hating it. Back in 1997, I was trapped in a truly horrible job but before I found another, I could not quit because, I had no savings. Didn’t have debt but, didin’t have savings either. I then promised myself to build and EF which would cover all my living expenses for a whole year in order not to be in that situation again.

      Employing the kids can be a good idea if they can deliver the expected quality. Hope may choose to do that to keep her business as a side gig next to her corporate job that way.

      • Reply Mrs. H |

        I completely agree with you…I also completely expect Hope WILL quit if she doesn’t like this corporate job. Just like she did last time she took a 9-5 job, even though she absolutely could not afford to leave it at the time.

  • Reply Katie |

    Take the job. Retirement and health insurance should be driving this decision. You need to be on better footing for both of those.

  • Reply Jessica |

    How large is this corporation? I was under the impression you mainly did business with smaller companies currently.

    • Reply Hope |

      It is VERY large. My clients run the gamut – solopreneurs, mid size firms and large corporations. I spent several years working for large companies only.

So, what do you think ?