We have been self-employed our entire working lives; here we reflect on that experience and provide 5 thoughts regarding working for yourself. There are lots more things we could write about but here are a few things to start off with:
1) Importance of time – you have to be the master of time, given you are your own boss, you will need to be disciplined with how long you work both in terms of working enough, but also making sure you get enough time off! It is very easy to keep working, especially knowing you only get paid if work is done, but you need to look after yourself – after all, remember, you are your own boss!
2) Difficulty understanding what you do – get used to people thinking you are always free to meet related to people not understanding your different working patterns alongside being asked the familiar question: “so, what is it you do again?”
3) Unreliability and unpredictability – you most likely will need to get used to irregular payments of invoices – alongside chasing these up! – with your monthly income varying according to many factors that affect your ability to work. You don’t get sick pay so sometimes you might have to turn up to work when all you want to do is crawl into bed.
4) Importance of boundaries – similarly to the discussions regarding time, boundaries when self-employed are really important. Yes, there is uncertainty in self-employment and you know you have to obtain and complete work to get paid, however this doesn’t mean you do whatever someone wants you to do; given you are self-employed you already have made a bold choice to go your own way, so remember that if someone tries to mission creep. Getting contracts in place before starting on work helps here.
5) Self-promote – this is something that not everyone is too keen on doing, but when you are self-employed you need to become better at it. You need to be confident in promoting what you offer. We’re not really encouraged to do this, as we largely live in a society that profits from people feeling insecure about themselves, but to develop and grow you need to believe in what you do no matter what others say, and you need to believe you will be successful.
If you are thinking about going self-employed and have any questions please let us know and we will see if we can help. It isn’t an easy career choice but when you are passionate about something and believe in it, it can be free and liberating.