Self-employment continues to be a "double-edged sword" as we in Southern California mortgage-related businesses continue to meander through the trials of a foul economy. While I've seen a fair amount of hardship all around me and experienced more of it than I'd like to admit personally, hanging in there and staying self-employed seems to have been the right move-at least for me.
Clearly, income has not returned to 2005 levels. Still, 2009 has shown great improvement over the prior two years. When the bottom fell out during the first quarter of 2007, I was bewildered and somewhat broken-hearted. Having finally [after 25+ years] found the career I loved and being successful at it and generating an income that I always felt we deserved, that sudden THUD of mortgage-related businesses closing all around us was almost overwhelming. It seems that those businesses are reopening now in their leaner, meaner versions. Finding those professionals who either regrouped or reinvented themselves has been no easy task and the search continues.
Relying upon my service-oriented background while struggling to stay positive and upbeat has helped us find our way forward. We continue to minimize overhead, offer new services and remain flexible. This mix of cost cutting and expanding offerings has allowed us to survive. I feel good about the future of my business because I remain in control. As I struggle to regain the level of income my business once had, I'm thankful that I didn't return to a "day-job" and actually reduced my overhead to a more manageable level. Chances are, had I joined another firm, I'd have been faced with with becoming part of that 11% of Californians without a job.
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