Quite honestly, I never imagined that one day I would be self-employed. Never even crossed my mind as a possibility for the future. Now, here I am more than 5 years down the line and quite honestly it is one of the best decisions I have ever mad. However, it was a really difficult decision, required a massive leap of faith, required a lot of support and was a massive learning curve. If you have been toying with the idea of going self-employed, here are a few things to consider before you make the jump.
The first thing you need to consider is whether you actually have a viable business idea. For me, I honestly had no idea. I knew people could make money from blogging but had no clue if I’d be able to make it, or what would be required of me. I also didn’t fully grasp the concept of HOW bloggers make money. I just knew that they could. I went into this thing, with absolutely no plan whatsoever and gave up a steady employed job to do it with a new 3 month old baby and no savings – this is NOT advisable.
What made it easy for me to do, was the fact that I was not happy in the job I was in and my daughter was a huge motivator as I wanted to be at home with her to watch her grow.
This is often one of the most important things to consider when starting a new business. Are you going to need start-up costs? Do you need a workspace and materials? I was fortunate because I already had a computer and could simply work from home, so initially I thought I’d have no start-up costs whatsoever.
However, there are subscription fees for schedulers and photo editing software and of course something I hadn’t considered as well was that I would need insurance. Income protection is so important, especially when it comes to being self-employed. Income protection pays out a percentage of your salary if you’re signed off of work through illness or injury (usually 50-70%, depending on the amount you choose when you buy it, but some policies do pay out 100%). It’s one of the least bought types of protection in the U.K, despite being a perfect choice for literally anyone earning – whether they’re self employed or work for someone else, have a family or live alone.
One thing I hadn’t considered but that came to smack me in the face pretty quickly was the time required to start a new business. I can remember that my daughter would wake up for a 5am feed and would go back down to sleep and instead of going back to bed myself, I would get up and begin work and go through until she woke for the day.
In the middle of the night, whilst breastfeeding, I would write a blog post, network my posts and schedule them as well as interacting with followers in different time zones.
As time went on, I learnt that PRs mostly contacted you 9-5pm Monday to Friday but this wasn’t all I had to deal with. Even now, 5 years down the line I wake up to over 50 notifications that have to be dealt with before I can even begin my work day.
You need to realise that near the beginning, you will not get a lot of downtime. You will need to be flexible with your working hours and understand that at the beginning you have to put in the hours and then some to make your business work and grow.
You do need a work-life balance but initially things will be tough. Other than Christmas Day, I didn’t get a day off for the first two years and even took my laptop on holiday with me to continue working when little one was asleep.
It is hard but I can tell you it is totally worth it. If you have any questions about going self-employed I’d be happy to try and answer them if I can.
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