It’s easy to get misty eyed over the idea of self-employment and working from home. But if you’re about to make the leap, what are you really letting yourself in for? Let’s go over your dream again but this time with some reality checks in place.
Everything is your fault
If one of your favourite pastimes is slagging off your manager over a pint with colleagues after work, you’re in for a shock. Because now the boss is you, and you have no colleagues either. So whatever gets your back up, or goes tits-up, logically there’s only yourself to blame.
Client not happy? Your fault.
Didn’t pay your VAT in time? Your fault.
Doing tasks that you don’t like doing? Your fault.
Working too many hours? Your fault.
Hard disk died, and took all your files with it? Your fault.
Not making enough money… well of course that’s all your fault too.
Running your own business is, to quote from one of my favourite scripts by Amano Iannucci, “difficult, difficult, lemon difficult”.
When you run into one of these difficulties (which is about every 30 minutes), look around to see who there is to blame… yep, that’s right, tumbleweed.
Becoming self-employed means being really honest with yourself and deciding to take full responsibility for everything, including your own miserable complaining.
The most important work has no deadline
Only a portion of what you do is delivering a product or service. The rest is sales, marketing, relationship building, networking and nurturing client relationships. Without which you have no business.
Making calls, sending emails, interacting on your social networks… these are tasks which have no delivery date, no deadline being forced upon you. Learn to crack the whip on yourself, or else.
The work you don’t want to do is the most important
See above. Without clients, no business.
Your friends don’t understand
Unless your friends are in business for themselves, they don’t understand where you’re coming from. And vice versa. With your new perspective, it’s difficult to hear a friend complain about their job when they know where and when their next pay packet is coming from.
You’ll spend more money than you think
So, “all you need is a laptop and an internet connection, right?” WRONG!
Even writers need to spend money on their business. Because…
- You’ll need to engage professionals to help with your marketing.
- Facebook advertising costs soon mount up.
- Online apps and software — a subscription here, a subscription there and before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds in one month.
- Don’t forget you. You’ll need to invest in yourself, ramping up your skills & knowledge to keep up with the times.
So even if it’s just you and a laptop, you’ll need to plan, budget and invest.
After a while, it starts to feel like a job
In the beginning everything is exciting, if not nerve-wracking. When things start to calm down and you get into the rhythm of things, you might find yourself feeling the same as when you worked in a job.
But, that’s because you forgot…
You forgot how amazing it is to design the way you want to work.
You forgot how much you hate commuting.
You forgot that you don’t need to be given ‘job security’ from an employer ‘cos you made your own.
Knowing that you’re capable of creating your own income, from your own nouse and steam, is a BIG deal. And to some, not everyone, it’s worth the pain.