by: June Hoover
I am not what you would call a risk-taker. I like life to be safe, comfortable and predictable. I’m not a big fan of change. So even I was surprised when the words, “I’m going to leave and start my own business” came out of my mouth as I vented to my husband after a bad day at the office.
Like everyone, I had good days and “challenging” days at the office. Over the years, the hours seemed to get longer and the work more complex and less enjoyable. I had been looking for a change for quite a while, but I always sensed that God’s response was, “Not yet.”
As a CPA, people often asked me if I considered going out on my own. My answer was always a resounding “no.” Too much liability, thanks to the Enron scandal. Marketing and networking? Forget it – accountants are introverts, and I am no exception. And who was going to fix the paper jam in the copy machine or figure out why the internet wasn’t working? I am mechanically and technologically challenged.
But suddenly, here was this new idea from out of the blue. The first euphoria of declaring my intention to be my own boss (tempered by my husband’s wise advice that, “today probably isn’t the day to decide”) was followed by a rush of anxiety – what if I didn’t get any clients? Why did I think I could succeed at this? How would we be able to pay for two kids in college? I committed to pray for direction. I set April 15 (a magical day for accountants) as my quit day, unless God told me in the meantime to scrap the idea.
During the next weeks, the idea didn’t go away. I thought about how I could build my business around the things I really liked to do (and kiss multi-state corporate tax returns goodbye forever).
I continued to pray for direction and devised a timeline. Again God said, “Not yet.”
He showed me that it would be better, for many reasons, to wait until the end of the summer to start my business. I revised my timeline. More days were added to my countdown, but I knew I could not do this outside of His timing.
Throughout the spring and summer, I learned to put aside my own plans when God rescheduled them for me. The day I had planned to request a meeting with my bosses, I learned that one had extended his vacation by a week. The next week, the other boss was out of the office on the day I planned to tell them. After I finally gave them my notice, they requested that I hold off on telling the staff and my clients for a while –one more lesson in self-discipline and patience.
When I finally was able to share my news with my clients, a few asked to join me. It was flattering, but they would only need my services once a year, at tax time. In the meantime, the economy was tanking, tuition bills were looming, and I had to ask myself gently, “ARE YOU NUTS???”
The day before I left my job, my biggest and best client called me to tell me that their stockholders had voted to go with me. This meant monthly income and a far better start than I could have hoped for.
I love being on my own, and I know God has led me in this direction. He has brought me new business from unexpected places. Former clients have tracked me down in such a way that I can only imagine they had to call every Hoover in the phone book to find me.
Every day, I pray that God will guide me. This is uncharted territory for me and I know I cannot do it on my own. As I look back on all the times God said “Not yet,” I see that things wouldn’t have turned out as well if I had forged ahead.
I’m still technologically challenged, but I know who to call when I need help. And I’ve learned how to clear out jams in the copier all by myself!