Is it really worth it? Traffic meets ROI

Seems we all dive into entrepreneurship for the freedom – financial and otherwise – it can provide, but some days one must wonder if its really worth it all.

Take today for example.  I got up at 7am, got 3 kids ready for school / sitter / etc, had a shower, made sure everyone ate and school lunches were made, and was out the door by 8h15.  The 2 year old was dropped off at 8h30 sharp and after putting gas in the car I made it from Orleans to Stittsville in 35 minutes flat to meet with a regular client.  A few hours there followed by coffee and a muffin at a local cafe while nursing the baby and returning a few emails.  By 1h30 I was at 2nd client’s and left promptly at 3h20, leaving me 40 minutes to travel across town to pick up my daughter from daycare.


Except it was snowing by the time I got out of there.  The highway was already at a standstill, and I didn’t make it home until 5h15.  From there I had to drive hubby to work since he was already late, then drive back from downtown to Orleans to pick up my daughter from daycare since she was still there.  Sadly I was very, very, very late picking her up.  We left the sitters at 7h08 sharp.  Off to pick up some food for my 2 hungry kids while the baby is screaming from hunger in back seat.  She’s been sleeping since 2pm and she’s had enough.  It was 8h10 PM by the time we got home.  5 hours on the road, for a drive that should have taken 1 hour tops, including traffic.

I wonder-wonder…

While idling mindlessly on yet another stretch of highway I started to wonder if this was all worth it.  But let’s look at the facts.  If I was working a ‘real’ job doing bookkeeping in the private sector I would have spent a at least 7.5 hours in a cubicle with a pay rate between $15 and $20 per hour.

That’s between $112.50 and $150 for the day, before tax deductions.  Lets assume that my cash intake for the day would be roughly $90 to $120.

The Math

Being employed full time wouldn’t have changed the fact that I got stuck in a snow storm.  I still would have spent 5 hours in the car, wasted $20 of gas, spent roughly $10 on lunch.  I still would have been terribly late for the sitters, and would have paid her double for the day regardless (when you’re 2 hours late its the least you can do).

Being in business for self I collected $280 (plus HST) from my 2 clients.  At $55 / hour, that’s a little over 5 hours.


 As you can see, being self-employed I’m still ahead by $125, and that’s IF I got paid $20 / hour.  At $15 / hour I would be cash-flow NEGATIVE at ($40).

One could argue that on this particular day I also wasted 5 hours of TIME on the road, and TIME is MONEY.  I agree, but at the end of day I’m looking too see if we are cash-flow POSITIVE or NEGATIVE.  Nothing could have prevented the series of events that happened AFTER work, so my cost would have been the same regardless.  Today, I’m ahead.

As long as I stay ahead every day, there will always be cash in the bank and that’s all my bank really cares about when its time to pay the mortgage.

Work-Life Balance?

I’m glad not every day looks like this;  I don’t want to spend 12 hours away from my family each day.  I want to enjoy watching my children grow up, spend quality time with my husband and have money left over at the end of the month for some savings and a few treats.  That’s what matters to us, and to me that makes it all worth it!


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