When I became self-employed all those years ago, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was letting myself in for. However, it turns out, it doesn’t matter how many books you read or courses you take: there are some things you can only really learn as you go along!
These are some of the things I’ve learn over the past few years…
⚡️ You’ll Feel Excited and Panicky In Equal Measure
When you leave your full-time job, you’ll experience an overwhelming sense of freedom and excitement.
You can now (theoretically!) decide when you want to work and how much you want to work. You can take time off whenever you like without asking anyone, and nobody can tell you what to do!
But, as always, there are cons too! You’re now responsible for absolutely every aspect of your working life. It’s normal to feel a bit panicky.
Every freelancer has, even when they’ve been self-employed for a long time!
⚡️ You Learn To Wear Every Hat
When you’re self-employed, you won’t spend 100% of your time doing ‘real’ work; you’ll have to devote a fair bit of time to running your business.
In the beginning, you’ll be most concerned about finding work, so you’ll probably start off with your business development hat on.
⚡️ You Can Build More Financial Security
One of the scariest things about going self-employed is that you no longer have the financial security of a full-time job. You don’t know how much you’ll be earning from one month to the next, which can be a shock to the system.
You don’t get sick pay or paid holiday, you just have to take the loss of earnings and prepare by working extra hard in the run-up to any time off.
Overdue invoices will be a fact of life and chasing payment will become a part of your routine, as frustrating as it may be
⚡️ Saying ‘No’ Is Difficult, But Necessary
It’s difficult to turn down work when you’re not sure when the next job might come along, but knowing when to say ‘no’ is an important business skill. You’ll develop an instinct for when a potential project or client just ‘doesn’t feel right’.
If someone’s asking you to drop everything for a tight deadline, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do a good job with it. That means neither of you will be happy, and they probably won’t commission work from you again or recommend you to their friends.
⚡️ Maintaining a Work/Life Balance Is Hard
Because of the lack of financial security and the difficulty of turning work down, you may find that you have to put in longer hours than you’re used to.
People often go self-employed in an attempt to improve their work/life balance, but end up working more. It’s not so bad when you’re working for yourself, but knowing where to draw the line is important if you’re to avoid burnout!
⚡️ Word Of Mouth Is Incredibly Important
You’ll be amazed at how much business you start to get purely because a happy client has recommended you. To help you benefit from the power of word of mouth recommendations, encourage satisfied customers to leave you a testimonial, and put some time into networking!
⚡️ There’s Lots Of Support Out There
Working for yourself and by yourself can feel isolating, especially when something goes wrong and you feel as though you’re having to deal with everything alone. But there are lots of other people in the same position; you just have to know where to find them. Find Facebook Groups, network on platforms like LinkedIn, and keep in touch with other freelancers!
Yes, it’s scary, there are some frustrating downsides to working for yourself, but, for me, it’s so worth it. Once you’ve had a taste of the freedom self-employment brings, you’re unlikely to want to go back to life as it was before. It was the best decision I ever made!
Do you want to go self-employed?
I have created a Freelance Handbook that will help you to realise the potential in freelancing!
It’s easier than ever to start your own freelance business. However, it’s still difficult to be a successful freelancer. That’s why it is important to start out right with this Freelance Handbook.
In this handbook I cover…
- Marketing Yourself
- Your Ideal Client
- Gaining Clients
- Pricing and Packages
- Registering as Self-Employed
- Maintaining Clients
- Tracking Insights
- Managing Your Time
- Managing Your Finances
- Protecting Yourself
This handbook includes:
- A CUSTOMER PERSONA TEMPLATE
- A SOCIAL MEDIA TRACKING TEMPLATE
- A HASHTAG BANK TEMPLATE
- AN EXAMPLE CONTRACT TEMPLATE