I am loving being self employed for the most part, it’s amazing the sense of satisfaction that I get when I know that I have been doing work for myself, that my achievements are for me, for my family. I love that I can arrange my work and time around the kids or my (nonexistent) social life. It’s truly liberating.
That being said, there are also a few bits of being self employed that suck. Massively. Anyone who has been self employed will know this, and boy is it frustrating.
Thinking of going self employed or becoming a pro blogger/freelancer? Well here’s 7 things you should know before you go self employed.
1.) Think of the hours per week worked in terms of dog years.
You know how hours per week are set and you get a wage for them? Full time is 37 1/2 hours a week, part time is often 16 hours a week, right? Yeah, when your self employed take that literal translation, screw it up and chuck it out the window. Officially you might work 16 hours a week, but we need to apply the ‘dog years’ principal here. For every ‘human year’ a dog ages by the equivalent of 7 years (or so the story goes), so Spot is actually 70 years old not 10. Well, let’s apply that to your self employed hours of work shall we? 16 hours is roughly about 112 hours a week. And I’m being generous. Plus, you’ll have the fun of hearing, “Gosh, it’s so easy for you, you work for yourself” at least 200 times a day.
2.) Sending an invoice will not guarantee payment
What is this you say? My invoice does not descend into your inbox with the sound of birds tweeting and a cash register ringing? Apparently not. You will find that some people have no respect for the fact that you have done the work, they can’t be arsed to pay right now, but they’ll get to you ok? Then there are company policies that have about 500 people who have to authorise your cheque first. Kindly explain to the bank manager that the money will be coming, along with Christmas and the Easter bunny.
3.) No I don’t want to do it for free.
This might be more applicable to self employed bloggers or freelancers but my god it has to be the most frustrating of all. No, I don’t want to work for you for free. It won’t work because you have said please or that you love what I do and my readers will thank me for it. The truth is, I wouldn’t ask you to sit at your desk for free all day, so don’t ask me to sit at mine. Oh, wait, your going to give me a shout out on Twitter? NO.
4.) No one respects your schedule.
“Harriet, can you nip this in to the bank after the kids are at school?”, “Babe, did you do that thing I asked you to do?”
Why, yes and yes, I’ll schedule it in between my bikini wax and my lunch date with the girls from that mediation class I attend. NO I’m working. I set myself a Tuesday morning, Thursday and Friday to sit at the laptop, then the rest of the week I will work on social or write lots on my phone/tablet. I can’t do errands if I’m working. This is not something people understand. Nope.
5.) You will be harder on yourself than any boss you’ve had before.
Ugh. I’ve always known I am my own worst enemy but geez, who knew I was such a task master. I have deadlines a-plenty, monthly goals and if I don’t meet them I spend a good few hours in a grump with myself and trying to rectify my utter balls up. I find I really struggle to switch off and enjoy “me time” because I’m always conscious of what more I could do… If I could just stay up 24/7 and work around the kids constantly it would be fine… Who needs down time?
6.) That’ll be a table for one please.
If you’re employing people then, this won’t count for you, but most people who are looking at things they need to know before they become self employed are likely not going to be employers just yet. So, truth is, it can get kind of lonely at times. I’ve spent a tonne of time working in retail, and before that in a bar, so you can’t get much more social than that. Now I’m self employed, I’m alone (with a small baby, because I work from home!) and my social interactions include Facebook groups, PR emails and the odd Twitter chit chat. That’s it. It can get lonely… But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about getting stuck for the day with the douchebag at work that no one likes!
7.) Being a self employed woman means I’m a stay at home mum with a cute hobby yeah?
The amount of times I’ve been called (by friends who really know better) a stay at home mum, is laughable. I have three kids under the age of five so I can forgive people somewhat for their assumption, but I am NOT a stay at home mum. I’m working extremely hard and earning a living for it, so in short, screws that. I was on a course a few months ago and it was assumed, purely, based on the fact that I had a baby, that I was currently a stay at home mum, despite the fact that I spent the previous 2 hours chatting about my work.
Still want to be self employed? You should, but maybe without the rose tinted glasses and just a couple of glasses of rosé instead.