Kristina Bouweiri
Business owner

Kristina Bouweiri

Owns and operates Reston Limousine, one of the D.C. area's largest limousine and shuttle services.


A time for everything

Q: Many of you are entrepreneurs or otherwise self-employed or largely self-directed. Do you work harder, or less, than when you were an employee? Or do you just work differently? Do you feel like you have more autonomy, or are the challenges greater than they used to be?

I am definitely not working as hard now as I did when I was an employee.

I have always worked many hours and held several jobs to maximize my income potential. When I graduated from college with a degree in International Affairs, I was offered a job at a non-profit for $17,000 a year. I accepted that position over an entry-level position at the State Department for $14,000 a year!

To help pay the rent on the Washington, D.C. townhouse where I lived, I worked a second job at night waiting tables. My combined income was $42,000 a year, which was not bad for 1986!

Even in my day job, I came in early and stayed late. I am the kind of person who stays until the job is done.

Before working at Reston Limousine, I worked in advertising sales. The job was 100 percent commissions and involved working seven days a week to make a living.

When I started working for my husband, who founded Reston Limousine, it was nothing for me to answer the phones 24/7! At least owning our own business, the harder you work the more financially successful you are.

During the first five years we had no children, so we spent that time building the business. We personally answered the phones all day at the office and then from our home all night. If the phone rang in the middle of the night, we answered it, took the reservation, dispatched the driver, and went back to bed.

After the birth of our twins in 1996 we hired an overnight shift and kept the office open all night.

Having had two jobs at a time before owning my own business prepared me well for the long days and weeks. Now that I have been in business 20 years I am definitely not working as hard as I did in those days. Physically I am not "manning" the phones or working weekends, but mentally I am. When you own your own business you never really can get away completely.

Thankfully, we have a great team of employees now who are capable of handling after-hours emergency calls (which are few and far between).

Now that I am in my 40s, I look back at how hard I worked in my 20s and know I could never work those hours again. It was a blessing that we did not have children for five years. We were young, ambitious and willing to work hard to grow our business.

By Kristina Bouweiri  |  August 10, 2010; 5:03 PM ET  | Category:  Success in the workplace Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Whether you are an employee, or are self-employed, I think those who work the hardest are those who work at a stimulating job that they really love. My personal yardstick is if you are working at a job that you would do if you had no bills, and received no pay, and would do it anyway, that's your job.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | August 11, 2010 6:44 AM
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