Soucier Design launched on April 1, 2010. The timing was right — I had given my employer notice several weeks prior — but the Quixotic overtones of the whole thing made me smile. There were (and always are) many reasons not to start a business like this one. It seemed a bit foolish. So Soucier Design became official on the day named for fools.
The three year mark is significant. Experts say a business lasting three years has crossed some kind of viability threshold. Good news, I guess. But the real significance has to do with my own patterns. Every job I've held as an adult follows a pattern: cycling from excitement to satisfaction to disenchantment in three years' time. (Staying longer was increasingly toxic.) So my job transitions have maintained a very predictable three-year rhythm. And lately I've been reflecting on what that means this time around. (Apologies for all of the first-person pronouns.)
- I'm breaking the cycle. Running a freelance business fits me better than any other job and this one is far from over. I'm still learning and feel like I'm doing a little less than half of it correctly, but the satisfaction is extremely high.
- It's a trade-off. No job is completely secure, but choosing to work for yourself means sacrificing a certain amount of stability and predictability. The stresses of entrepreneurship are significant, and I'm bringing home less than I was at the peak of my corporate gig. But I'm working directly with clients, taking on work that fits well. I'm helping non-profits, which was the original dream. And I'm focused — no mandatory meetings, Dilbert culture, political maneuvering or needless distractions (other than podcasts). I'd take that trade-off any day.
- I was part of the problem. Some of the issues and constraints from previous jobs have cropped up in this one. It's been healthy to recognize them, learn about myself and try to keep growing.
- If I'm ever an employee again, I'll be a better one. My perspective is much broader now. It changes how I see employment opportunities, and if employed I would engage very differently with everyone in the organization — especially those above me. I'd be more understanding and less judgmental, but also much more honest. I'd be more inclined to share the last ten percent of my input.
If you've been a client, partner, vendor or supporter of Soucier Design over the last three years, I am grateful to you for playing a role in this success. Thank you for making this such a fulfilling, exciting, educational and rewarding experience. I couldn't have made it to the three-year mark without you, and I'd be a fool to think the next three won't be even more of an adventure.