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Why this risk-averse founder took the plunge and started her own company

Nelly Arnold grew impatient working for companies that seemed stuck in the past.

Nelly Arnold became an entrepreneur out of frustration with the old school ways of the workplace. (Courtesy photo)
This is a guest post by Nelly Arnold.
I never expected I would start my own business.

Sure, I’ve had a side hustle since I was in high school, but I really like carrying out a brilliant vision from an inspiring CEO and using my talents to realize the mission of a company. I’m also pretty risk averse and I like money automatically appearing in my bank account every 14 days. Who doesn’t?

But alas, that’s not how it worked out. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved all the companies I‘ve worked for and even more the people I worked with. Since moving to Philadelphia 10 years ago and being in the workforce for 15 years, I have yet to find a rewarding work experience (until this year). They were challenging, yes. Collaborative, definitely. But rewarding. Rewarding is one of those words that implies fulfillment.

From age 10, I learned in a global classroom that fostered individualization, curiosity and trust. Then at 20, I entered into a workforce that rewarded repetition, conformity and rigidity. I’ve had baffling conversations with my supervisors about the offensive nature of my ruby-colored “slacks,” the negative impact of answering emails at midnight and why I can’t work anywhere that has wifi and a plug.

I choose for my life to dictate my work and not my work to dictate my life.

I understand change comes slowly and 20th-century business values such as trust, integrity and focus on profitability cannot and should not be abandoned. Sometimes the barriers to change are too great due to tradition, culture, size and money. And being entrepreneurial within your job is just too challenging against the deliverables that need to be accomplished and the performance that needs to be measured.

But I’ve grown impatient waiting for these last-century work paradigms to evolve. I choose for my life to dictate my work and not my work to dictate my life. I have the luxury of living in a socially developed and interconnected society where I can make time, flexibility and engagement the most important benefits in my own business.

With that at heart, I gathered up the grit and courage to take my personal style and interior design business full-time and make my clients my boss. Luckily, in Philadelphia, my network is overwhelmingly supportive as an entrepreneur. The past months have not been easier than the past 15 years with the completion of each project a mark of success and the hustle for the next project. In choosing my life first and letting the work organically grow within it, I’m more aligned with that 10-year-old girl who was full of curiosity about the world and just wanted to find out who she was in that big place.

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