Being self-employed is not all beer and skittles, but there are definitely upsides. Here’s my top three.
1. Doing my own thing
I have to say, I am a phenomenal boss. I know exactly how I work best, when to get involved and when to just step aside and let myself get on with the job.
When you work for a large organization, you have to bend and adapt to their way of doing things. And that’s how it should be. A public service full of unique snowflakes who all work in their own special way would be impossible to manage.
Back in the public service, I used to think that I was too stubborn, or had too much ego. And maybe there was a bit of that going on. How I think about it now is has changed.
Now I see that I place a very high value on autonomy, and I’m prepared to trade off other things, like security, to get it. Because it makes me happy.
2. Choosing where and when I work
I’m writing this on a Saturday morning on a cane chair under our carport. There’s a breeze, and I can see the sun on the lawn. Yesterday, I finished early because my friend James was down from Darwin, so we sat on the deck and played with Jack.
I definitely work longer hours now that I’m self-employed, but I have more flexibility to make trade-offs and hammer out a work-life balance.
3. Picking the kind of work I do
In the last year or so, I’ve expanded out from just doing writing and information architecture (basically, structuring websites) to branding. That means helping businesses define what they’re good at, then figuring out how to tell that story.
If I was still in the public service, and wanted to make that shift, I would’ve had to find a role, advertised go through the recruitment process, and land a role. Meanwhile, I would’ve had to just keep on doing the same old stuff.
When I run a business, if I want to expand into a new field, I can. There’s no barrier. All I need is a client who’ll say yes.
So where’s the downside?
I said upfront that working for yourself is not all beer and skittles, and that’s definitely true. When you’re self-employed, you can face isolation, anxiety, longer hours — and simply not making as much money! In my next post, I’ll share some of those downsides with you, and how I manage them.
Looking at the positives I’ve identified, you’ll see that they all relate to decisions I make, and things that are in my control. That makes them achievable. You won’t see ‘buy a yacht’ in there anywhere.
So as you consider what’s attractive about being self-employed, ask yourself the question: how certain am I of achieving this, and how much of that is in my power?
If you’re thinking about working for yourself, what’s most attractive?