My husband and I own several small businesses and we also have some real estate investments. We have purposely invested in several different businesses, rather than putting all of our eggs in one basket, so that should things go south in one area, we don't lose everything.
My husband has been self-employed for most of our married life, and while that has been a blessing for us, it's also made some things in our life difficult. We have only taken one two-week vacation in the entire time we've been married. We seldom get more than one week of vacation a year. We have only had two pay raises in the last fifteen years. We have had one income tax refund in approximately twenty-five years, which totaled about $60 if my memory serves me right; but, we've been audited three times. My husband works an average of 10-12 hours a day, down from his average of 16 hours a few years ago, and it's not unusual for him to have to go in to work on Saturday for a couple hours. We pay for all of our own health insurance, (plus our employees) and have not had dental or vision coverage since I quit working for the State of Washington twenty-five years ago, when I was pregnant with our first child.
My husband says he wouldn't have it any other way. After having been self-employed for twenty-six years, he says he could never work for anyone else. He loves being accountable to no one and making all of his own decisions. His office is literally just minutes from our home, and he always says if he had to commute he would go crazy.
I, on the other hand, often wonder what our life would have been like had he continued working for someone else. Our entire lives are wrapped up in our businesses. I would love to leave this town and move somewhere else, yet realistically that will probably never happen, as it would probably take years to divest ourselves of our business and real estate holdings. I long for a simple, peaceful, country life, free of the stress and drama in this small (I'd like to say God-forsaken) town, and I'm not sure that's ever going to happen. My hope is that perhaps some day we can both have what we want...my husband, his businesses, and me, a home in the country, somewhere away from this small-minded community.