Why do what I do? Why be an entrepreneur?

I love what I do. Creating and building, turning ideas into something functional, that’s what gets me excited. I love that moment when I’ve been trying to solve something and then BAM! it’s working. And I love talking to others about web development and how stuff works. If you let me, I could talk about it all day.

I built my experience working for others. I had small agency experience, non-agency experience, medium agency experience, even some corporate experience. While I was grateful for those opportunities, I was tired of getting other people’s stresses on me. I would work hard and offer ideas and contribute as much as I could, but there was always something wrong or some big client that needed to stay happy or the business wasn’t making enough money.

Stress Without Purpose

Employers and bosses would only tell me what I needed to know, and that made it hard for me to work through the stress. I can’t empathize if I don’t know what’s going on, which causes me to stress, which ends up feeling unfair. It wasn’t MY company. It wasn’t in MY control to deal with any root causes of the issues. And I could only put my head down and work without caring for so long before I couldn’t do it anymore.

I need to feel like I’m working towards something, building to some kind of larger goal. And traditional work just doesn’t offer that. Even if I’m clued in on all levels of the business, it’s not mine to control. I can’t steer things in the right direction, I can’t make decisions about what to spend time on or what to improve. I don’t need to control everything that I’m a part of. But spending more than half my life working towards someone else’s goals didn’t make sense to me. I just needed to find the courage to take the leap.

Then I leaped.

I left a job that ended up being the last straw. I found an opportunity to work full time for myself from home. Though it was a full-time contract working full time for someone else, it was the first time working with a team felt like we were all in control of the decisions and direction of the work. I could try out ideas and make suggestions and be heard. We were all trying to build something great. And I was working in my own environment, deciding what tech I was using, what time to wake up, and when I made human contact.

When that contract ended, I knew I had found my path. My time didn’t need to go back into finding a traditional job. I could make my own job, make decisions for myself without having to explain why or justify my position at the company or prove my skills and expertise over and over. I knew what I was worth, and I knew how I worked best. In order to continue to enjoy being a web developer, I had to do everything in my power to be my own boss. I had built the confidence in my abilities and in myself. It was time.

Being My Own Boss

By working for myself, I get to partner with incredible people and work on awesome projects. I don’t need to say yes to something just because it’s my job. I decide who I work with. I decide what projects to tackle. I define my worth.

There’s a level of uncertainty that comes with working for myself, but I know that I’m building towards something great. I hadn’t really ever thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I didn’t think I could have the big ideas and start businesses and make tons of money. The word entrepreneur always conjured up this idea of a bunch of guys in big cities somewhere starting companies and pitching ideas to sponsors and getting funding. 

But those were just limiting beliefs that I had created. When I finally shed the idea that an entrepreneur was some kind of mythical thing I could never be, when I saw people like me doing things I wanted to do calling themselves entrepreneurs — that’s when I started to see who I could truly become.

Danielle Zarcaro looking out window at conference