Return on Investment for the Self Employed

What if I valued myself as an employee of my business?  It is time for us to hire someone to help my husband in the field of our construction business.   Hiring an employee is a very big decision, but also can be a great investment.  One of the best things about owning your own business, is that it’s all up to you.  One of the worst things about owning a small business, is that it’s all up to you. It’s so exciting to know that your business is a reflection of your work ethic, and that if you put in the work, you will be rewarded. On the other hand, if your business fails, your only letting yourself down.  When you take on an employee, there are more risks, and more people to disappoint.

Obviously, an employee won’t be as invested as you are as the owner, but you hope they will have the work ethic and integrity that you expect.  But, why should they?  What is their return on the investment?  A paycheck?  Is that all?  In my own journey, this has never been enough.  A regular paycheck is not the reason I have ever put in the effort that I do.  I have worked as a waitress, bartender, preschool teacher, dental assistant, and now a fourth grade teacher.  I believe I have been a very good employee in each of these positions, but I have ended up leaving, or wanting to leave each one.  I think it is because I reached a point where my return on investment had reached it’s limit.

Each of these positions required my ability to learn new things, show a level of commitment and responsibility, and apply myself to the service of the customer.  I am clearly most suited to the service industry.  Our plumbing and construction businesses are services to the community.  I love the service industry.  People often forget that teaching is a service, which is a big mistake, and one I can talk about on another post. Still, the investment must at least match the return for any venture to be successful.  When thinking about hiring an employee, I know we must value the investment the employee makes and offer opportunities for them to build their return.  The effort and integrity that they apply, could come back to them in the form of higher pay, more responsibility, or at best, partnership or ownership in the company.

These thoughts have been plaguing my mind as I think about my position within the school district. It is difficult to think about how limited I am and how little the return has been on my investment.  Of course, any teacher will tell you they do not go to work for the money. I am truly invested in the lives of my students, but I may not ever see the return on that investment.  It is frustrating and unrealistic to expect teachers to do their jobs well, and expect very little in return.  Perhaps my heart is not in the right place.  There are undoubtedly many teachers who feel completely fulfilled in the service and contribution they put in each and every day.

I’ve been thinking of updating my resume.  It seems like a professional thing to do even if I wasn’t thinking of leaving my job.  I wonder the power it would have in my own life to see all the accomplishments and strengths listed on a couple of pieces of paper.  It will surely remind me of the value my teaching career has brought, and bolster my opinion of what I am capable of doing moving forward.  I wonder if I would even hire myself to fill the holes in my contracting business.  I am the owner after all.  Would I offer myself the opportunity to move up in the business? Earn a respectable pay and promise of future financial rewards?  If I was offered a position in a promising construction business, with opportunities for returns that would match my investments, would I leave my teaching position?  It would be a very big risk, but I wonder if that is what I need.  It is definitely what my business needs.  Work ethic and integrity are not enough.

black claw hammer on brown wooden plank
Photo by Pixabay on

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