Amazingly, almost a whole year has gone by since I first started BEAN Marketing and this is what I’ve learnt about being self-employed!
Some people won’t take your job seriously.
The majority of people are great but there have been a few who don’t think being self-employed is as important (or as difficult) as being employed.
These are the people that think if you’re working from home, you’re not really working or you’re just ‘playing at work’ and they even ask you when you’re going to go back to ‘real work’.
It’s not as easy as you think!
What could be easier than being self-employed? You work the hours you want, for who you want, where you want – yeah right! If only!
Being self-employed is difficult. Yes you can schedule work to your own advantage but you can kiss goodbye to the security of 9-5 and knowing exactly what your take home salary will be each month! Also, wave goodbye to annual leave pay and sick pay!
What people fail to remember is, that if you’re not working directly for a client, you’re not getting paid. As a small business owner you have to do EVERYTHING and you have to become a person of many hats! As a Marketing Consultant, I spend around 3 days a week ‘doing marketing’ for Clients. During the rest of the week I could be sorting out general admin, writing pitches, doing research or carrying out self-promotion (see below). A large portion of time is spent undertaking work that doesn’t generate an immediate income.
This really surprised me, especially since I’m a Marketing Consultant! Self-promotion is really difficult. I am perfectly happy extolling the virtues of someone else’s company or service but to find the words to promote my own company and skill set is so much harder!
Some clients are amazing, others not so much.
Not surprising really: you get fabulous people and less fabulous people everywhere but I’ve seen both ends of the scale recently.
One of my amazing clients sent me a congratulations gift for my wedding. My least fabulous client sent me a two line email (to my personal account) cancelling my contract with immediate effect whilst I was on honeymoon!
Thankfully there are more good than bad.
Sometimes you get distracted. Flexibility however is amazing.
I think I’m pretty good at staying focused. I am a List Queen and set myself tasks & targets to make sure I stay on track. However, I do occasionally find it easy to get distracted. Disturbingly, with the most mundane of tasks, like putting a wash on because it’s ‘good drying weather’.
Distraction aside, the flexibility of being my own boss is sensational. Some days I’ll start work at 10am and finish at 3pm but other days I’ll work for over 12 hours. I can schedule in volunteer work, gym classes, picking up my niece and nephew from school and even the odd lunch out (I think I’m up to four of them in total).
It also means I can do varying tasks throughout the week when I want to, so long as they all get done.
People want advice for free.
I’m sure I’m not the only person that has found this but when I used to be employed no one really asked for tips and pointers on Marketing. Now I’m a Consultant, everyone wants to pick my brains ….. for FREE!
There is help out there!
Working from home a lot of the time can be lonely, especially when you have a question you don’t know the answer to. It’s reassuring to know there are loads of people out there in the same situation. Check out support groups like Freelance Heroes. They offer advice and support and more importantly make you feel part of something!
It’s all worth it!
Yes, it can be scary and difficult and, yes, sometimes there won’t be enough work (put money aside whenever you can) but I can honestly say it is one hundred percent worth it!
The sense of self-accomplishment and being able to say ‘I did this’ is amazing.