The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are the benefits of being your own boss?” is written by William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group.
I remember the day I started my company like it was yesterday. But I remember the day after I started it even more clearly.
It was the day I realized my brand new “job insecurity.”
I realized that if I didn’t get out there, hustle, and bring in business, my family wouldn’t eat. Up until that point in my career, I’d had a safe, secure job. I’d never had to worry about a paycheck. Once I started my own company, I realized I’d left a safe job for a very dangerous future that rode on my own ability to create clients and deliver excellent work for them.
But the longer I live this entrepreneurial life, the more I realize that there are no “safe” jobs, and that everyone has job insecurity. My past jobs seemed stable at the time, but in retrospect, they weren’t stable at all. Every job is contingent on the business bringing in enough revenue to pay salaries. I had been comfortably unaware of the fact that every position I’ve held has been in the same dangerous, unpredictable category as running my new company.
As it turns out, realizing my job insecurity has been a huge benefit to me. Here’s why:
It’s made me hustle harder
I am now acutely aware that the clock is always ticking. I’m more inclined to get up early and follow a routine that improves my productivity. I’m (rightly) afraid of coasting, and I’m enjoying my work with more energy than ever before. If you increase your hustle, you’re likely to see more results.
It’s made me appreciate more
I’ll never forget the night I landed our first contract. Pasta had been planned for dinner, but when word came through that we landed our first search, we went out and bought steaks. That one contract yielded deep gratitude, and my work has increased my intentional routine of giving thanks.
It’s made me more agile
Every day I am alive, my body becomes less flexible. It’s true for you, too. But living with the awareness that my job depends on me has made me seek to always improve my and my company’s agility. It’s dislodged me from several routines and mindsets that were making me less flexible, and it’s made me more fun to be around. Everyone is more fun when they’re more flexible, and businesses are more successful when they’re able to pivot whenever needed.
It’s made me more creative
When I find that a sales or marketing technique isn’t working, I am now forced to try new things. I’m getting more creative the older I get, and in a world where there’s more change than ever, creativity has helped me find new effectiveness and made me better at adapting to rapid change.
It’s increased the quality of my work
I work for a cause I believe in and feel a deep sense of purpose with my work. This makes me focus on doing excellent work. But no matter what your job is, if you see it as depending on you, you’ll produce higher-quality work. I realized upon landing that first contract that the best thing I could do to land more work was to execute this one extremely well. Hundreds of searches later, I tell my team regularly, “The best sales tool we have is to do quality work and let our clients tell their friends about it.”
My team has grown a lot since my first realization, and we now do work all over the world. But the feeling is still there—the feeling that if I don’t go out and make something happen, not only will I fail, but the families depending on our company will fail. That feeling of job insecurity has been a real benefit to me, and I hope it never goes away.