Today marks exactly six months since I moved away from London. My last day at my office job was the 9th of June, and so I have been self-employed for six months now. I don’t really know how it’s already been this long – or how it’s only been this long. With every new job, but especially with the change from ‘regular’ employment to becoming my own boss, there are a lot of things I’ve learned in that short space of time.
I absolutely love scheduling my time freely. Sure, I have deadlines, but whether I write the piece(s) an hour before said deadline or finish them a week early is of no relevance whatsoever, as long as I deliver the highest quality I can at all times. It doesn’t matter if I write at 3am or 3pm. I can nip into town on a Tuesday morning when it’s nice and quiet and I don’t have to put up with the Saturday crowd. This is definitely one of my favourite parts about being self-employed and one I would find hard to give up.
I am really struggling with the lack of social contacts. As much as I enjoy and need my own company, sometimes I go five days in a row without speaking to someone, and that can put a bit of a downer on me. I’ve recently read this post by Helen from thelovecatsinc and I found myself nodding and agreeing with every word. I’m not someone who can always get together with other freelancers and work from a cafe – at least not when it comes to my work outside of the blog – but I would love to meet up with someone for coffee or blog chats every once in a while. I guess that’s something I need to work on, although Eastbourne is definitely not the most exciting place to be if you’re a blogger…
My confidence is growing every day. Whether that’s the confidence in my ability to be a writer or the confidence to chase invoices and stand by my rates, no matter how low someone tries to push them. I am happy to negotiate and I know where I can make compromises and where I can’t nor want to. My gut feeling is also pretty good at telling me which projects to go for. We’re getting there!
Building a client base is really hard. This isn’t really a surprise; I never expected this to be a walk in the park, but I definitely underestimated the lack of work. I didn’t think I would get chosen for every project I apply for, but there aren’t even a lot of projects to go for in the first place. Being as impatient as I am doesn’t really help, either, so we’ll just have to see what 2018 brings.
Most people assume you’re just lazy. Yes, the lack of job offers, the invoice chasing and the few social contacts are some of the negative aspects of self-employment but the one element I probably hate the most is not being taken seriously. So many people think I sit on my arse all day (I do) and do absolutely nothing (I don’t), which is frustrating. I am tired of explaining myself. Self-employment is just as hard, if not harder, than any other full-time employment jobs out there, and I think it is time we respected people running their own business a bit more.
But after all… I am my own boss. I get to do what I love: Write. I get to be creative, get stuck in new projects, learn, improve, gain experience. And that’s something I’ve not had before.
’til next time x