“Oh wow, your self-employed that’s amazing, you must be making loads.”
A sentence I hear all to often. Let’s break it down to my answers to it. Self-employment CAN be amazing. But it can also be the most horrific life choice I have ever made. I certainly do not make loads and previous years seen be go months without a dime.
However like any job it does have it’s up’s and down’s. I work in the marketing and PR industry, and trust me it isn’t as glamorous as some may think. I chose to brave it as a freelancer for one main reason – freedom. The freedom to chose my working hours and days, the freedom to express my creativity, the freedom to chose when I spend time with my daughter. Many working places cannot offer that (my previous job was the WORST for it) and I was not okay with letting myself slip into an unhappy, miserable state. So I took a leap of faith to go solo. I have learned some valuable lessons along the way:
Projects don’t just fall into your lap
If they did I would be a millionaire. But that I am not (yet). Getting work can be tough. Every month I send out business mailers to potential clients. It is one of the most daunting tasks I do, as sometimes I get en-robed in self doubt. However even if out of every 20 emails I send I get one back saying “yes let’s work together” I jump for joy. Never under sell yourself. Showcase who you are and show them why they need your service/product. I’ve also learned to not be too disheartened when some says no. The way I look at is that it gives you a chance to find another amazing client to work with.
It can be extremely lonely
As a one woman band I am on my own a lot. It’s something that has affected me quiet a bit including making my anxiety worse and a boat load of self doubt. HOWEVER, I have been beating that as of late. How you ask? I have been going out my way to join groups and socials r on Facebook, EventBrite and MeetUp. They all relate to what I do, what my goals are and my social likes. From meet ups about the marketing and creative industries, to mama socials for self employed parents. They have been the most invigorating events I have been to and all of them have been free, so no expense spared! To be able to discuss, network and socialise with like minded people made me feel like I wasn’t really working on my own, and have gained a nice group of friends to discuss work with and even just go get a coffee with too.
Money – need I say more
Probably one of the main stresses from going self-employed. Not having the regular, stable income that traditional employment has been hard. I am lucky that I have a partner who contributes and backs me up when I’ve not made much, and I’m even luckier that I now have (after a lot of hard work) a client base that is regular so can work my minimum income off of that.
Now that I do have a regular client base, and get around 2 to 3 one of jobs a month my income is good. It took a while to get here but I am beyond grateful I am.
I thoroughly recommend doing an expenditure and income sheet before you take the plunge to go it alone. Work out what you need to bring in, are their any benefits you are entitled to and so on. This will see you in good stead for when you start to pull in tasty pay packets!
Job satisfaction goes through the roof!
I take so much pride in my work. I get to push my business whilst helping others reach their dreams with theirs. Deep down I know I am good at what I do, my clients love what I do and best of all? I have done it all on my own terms and in the time I chose to. The pride you get when you see the work you’ve done be appreciated, shared and loved is a feeling I will never get used to.
If you have a talent then I believe everyone should showcase that skill and test the waters of being self-sufficient off your own creative flair.
I mentioned a bit about this in my intro, but the freedom I have as a worker, as a partner, as a mother and as a human is immense. I worked in retail part time to help keep a steady income in whilst working my side hustle, and it was one of the worst choices I made. Apart from the fact the company and managers weren’t the best, it made me realise that major companies in general aren’t flexible and some how lose the ‘human aspect’ of themselves. Yes they have a business to run, but they need to be more understanding and listen to their employees. That’s something I didn’t have, so went fuck it and went solo. BEST DECISION EVER.
I know I’ve had a mild rant about some of the con’s of going freelance, however everything has pro’s and con’s. They ability to have affordable childcare (2 days at nursery and family helping), the creative freedom to work in an industry I love and to be able to spend more time with my brood. It is good for the soul and honestly makes the con’s of it disappear. I have no regrets in my choice to go it alone. Are you now considering it?