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Having the courage to start my own business was one of the greatest things to happen to me once I decided to start a family. If I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t be running two businesses. Instead, I’d probably be starting a career that I would eventually come to hate because it wasn’t my true calling.
I’ve been running two online businesses now for the past 7 years; with Unique Words just passing its 7th anniversary and Giveaways 4 Mom coming up on its 6th anniversary.
Over these past several years I’ve learned a lot. However, the things I’m going to share with you today will give you a real inside look at what being self-employed is all about.
Never Get Too Comfortable
Regardless of whether you stumble into being self-employed or make a conscious decision to quit your job, you should never get comfortable.
While I know how much it sucks to struggle to get comfortable in the first place when you’re self-employed, you need to keep yourself from settling with what you have. You always need to be pushing forward.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been successful for 10+ years with a client or agency they could fire you at any moment. You’re expendable. With seven years of being self-employed under my belt, I have experienced the feeling of being expendable more than once. So I’ve always made time to make sure I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket.
To put it simply, you could be making $20,000 per month one month and find yourself back at $2000 the next. That’s the life of being self-employed.
Taxes Should Be the First Expense You Factor In
Another thing to always keep in mind before becoming self-employed is that you’re responsible for your own taxes. This can be a real pain in the neck.
The money comes to you without any money being sent to the IRS as it would if you worked a traditional job. So if an emergency comes up, you’re able to potentially have the cash on hand to deal with it.
However, when tax season comes around and you don’t have the money to pay Uncle Sam you’re in trouble.
Factor your taxes first!
You Don’t Have to Say Yes to Everything
Saying yes just may be in your nature – it was in mine during my first four years of working for myself. However, saying “no” will allow you to become the business person you aspire to be.
For example, have you ever shopped at a store or eaten at a restaurant where the staff was just overly rude to you for no apparent reason? This is because they hated their job. If you say yes to everything you’re going to start being that same rude person to your loved ones, your bosses (yes, I said bosses, we’ll address that in another post later), and Average Jane/Joe for just the same reason – you don’t want to do it!
It’s more common than you think. Two-thirds of childless women say they feel like they can’t say no when their boss asks them to work longer hours. It makes you a worse worker and it hurts your quality of life.
By saying no, you open the door for new and better opportunities, and you won’t have to kill yourself for 80+ hours a week doing something that you hate.
It’s Easier When You Focus on Your Passion
When first starting out, you may have to do things that you’re not passionate about. However, if after two years, if you’re still doing run of the mill jobs just to pay the bills you need to give it up.
Yes, things do take time, however, you must set a reasonable time limit on things and always keep track of your goals and the milestones you hit or miss.
In my case, it took five months for me to make a full-time income working from home. This was years ago and things have changed and more people are seeking the self-employed lifestyle than ever.
Therefore, it’s understandable that to get your feet wet you won’t have a lot of time to work on what you’re passionate about a lot. There’s a reason why only a third of US employees say they’re engaged. However, you must make sure that you’re always dedicating some time to what you’re passionate about, so you can eventually spend all of your working hours doing what you love, and make a full-time income doing so.
Inspiration Can Strike at Any Time
I wear many hats – virtual assistant, lifestyle blogger, writer, marketer, and executive assistant – so while balancing all these duties it’s not uncommon for inspiration to hit me when I’m working on another project.
For example, the idea for this post came to me when I was on the clock at my virtual assistant job. I just sent myself a quick email, so I could pick back up on it later. Other times I could be dreaming or in the shower when a new way to market myself or an idea for a blog post strikes.
You Will Always Have People Discouraging You
Despite being a full-time work at home mom for several years I still have people who don’t understand my work and are always telling me that I need to get a real job. Some of them are even sending me job recommendations for office jobs. This can be really discouraging since my income pays the bills and still allows me to get in some quality time with my family.
What I have learned is there are always going to be naysayers. You just must keep pushing and not let it get you down. You do what’s best for you and your family and if it becomes too much just cut these people out of your life entirely.
Final Thoughts on Being Self Employed
Being self-employed isn’t a walk in the park. It’s not all fancy vacations, shopping trips, and getting up at two in the afternoon.
In the beginning, there are going to be more days where you’ll feel like you want to give up than days where you’re glad you took this leap of faith. But achieving your milestones and seeing how far you progress over the years is worth it.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone who is self-employed or someone who is considering making the switch to the self-employed lifestyle?