A crossroads

There are changes afoot in the PS household. An opportunity has arisen for me to start a new business with a friend, a livery yard (somewhere people pay rent to keep their horses.) It’s the kind of opportunity that doesn’t crop up often, because it needs a certain infrastructure already in place and generally they get snapped up before they are advertised on the open market (as was the case here, when I found out at 9.30am last Saturday that the current tenants were leaving, and was meeting with the landlord by midday…)

Which direction would you take? Image with thanks to Fawesisabella on photobucket.

It’s risky. What new business isn’t? It’s expensive-risky. My husband is nervous. I’m nervous, but the nerves are suppressed by excitement, too. I’m more nervous for my friend, who will be the full time worker and therefore have to give up her current full time job, whereas I will continue to work part time at my current job and then do the business management role in the evenings.

There are 2 options –

1) I don’t take the opportunity. I have a job, but with limited opportunities. Things like sick pay and maternity benefits are statutory only, but it is straightforward and secure and I enjoy it and I’m good at it. I have worked three days a week since having P#1, one of which is from home, so it’s a good work/life balance for us all. I could increase my hours if I wanted to (ie when we’ve finished having babies and they’re all at school) and my boss is keen for me to develop my role how I see fit. Financially, it’s reasonable pay but there’s probably not much room to increase this because I’m already a manager in a small company. However, we own a house, we have plans to move to a bigger house in a year or so, things are relatively risk-free.

2) I grab the opportunity and MAKE it work. I don’t have to give up my current job, so still have that financial security – although I would also be taking on a very expensive lease for which I’m personally liable if the business isn’t covering costs. Fortunately I think this risk is minute because we will pay the lease before ALL other costs, just as I pay my mortgage before any out outgoings! This personal risk is my husband’s biggest concern. I probably won’t take any kind of salary for the first year, mainly because I don’t need to, and I’ll enjoy doing it.

Right now, for the next year, with hopefully another baby on the way and a house move, it’s probably a silly idea. However, I can’t stop thinking about the future.

I love my teaching job, I really do. It’s just that since having a baby, I know without a shadow of a doubt I never want to teach full time again. Teaching is not the kind of job where you can book annual leave if you want to go and see your child’s harvest festival, or volunteer as a driver to take his class to their first residential school trip. My parents both worked full time all my life and whilst I am extremely grateful to them for the opportunities it afforded me, I always knew that they wouldn’t see my assemblies or be able to fill in the forms when letters went home asking parents to come in and do talks or help out. When I first started teaching in a primary school and was organising these events myself, I realised I wanted to be a parent who COULD be involved in their child’s school events.

So, in ten years time, when my children are at school and I don’t intend on going back to my current job full time, what do I want to be doing? The answer is running this livery yard. It’s been my dream job for years; periodically, since I was 18, I’ve done various horse and yard related qualifications and courses. I have academic qualifications, industry qualifications, training in saddlery, in selling medicines, in equine specific safety and first aid. As a teenager dreaming of winning the lottery, when the yard-related catalogues dropped through the door, I’d ‘spend’ my lottery winnings on designing and building a yard and kitting it out with all of the necessary equipment. It’s a job where the harder I work, the more money we’ll bring into the business – true reward for efforts. My children can have a pony! I can be involved in their school lives, without sacrificing my own business or career development.

So I think I’ll be taking the coastal path at this particular set of crossroads. It may be rocky, risky, and I’m prepared to be buffeted by harsh winds at times; but it will be beautiful and exciting and no matter what happens, I’ll have given it a shot.

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