I’ve been self-employed for nearly forty years but have never been able to shake the prejudice of those with “proper jobs” who think I am just mucking about. that if you don’t have a serious job, you aren’t serious.
I was reminded of this today by one of my clients who reported in her weekly check-in that, despite a very busy and high achieving week, she was looking forward to some time for just cruising about. Since that’s what her friends think she does anyway, it’d be nice to find some time for it. I know her pain.
But why are we worried about what others think when we know that being self-employed means doing whatever you like whenever we like.
- It means going Christmas shopping on a Monday, with a friend
- It means answering emails lying down in bed with your iPad
- It means working in a bath towel or in your pyjamas
- It means no commuting, except to the coffee shop
- It means enjoying community resources off peak when it’s cheaper and empty
- It means going to the cinema in the afternoons, and skiving off early whenever you like
- It means being at home to answer the door to the postman and the grocery delivery
- It means total flexibility and freedom
It also means working bloody hard, just like the rest of you. It means failure is not an option. It means no pension and no guarantees. It means getting comfortable with risk. Doing most of everything by yourself. It means the buck stops very definitely here with no-one else to blame.
Self-employed people do not cruise about. They put in at least a 9-5 even if they don’t do it during those hours. It means they learn to become self-reliant because they do not have an HR department or an IT guy. We do that for ourselves. We are all the departments in one woman, in fact, including Marketing & Sales, especially Marketing & Sales.
We cannot rely on sick pay and no-one is going to make us redundant. That’s the upside.
We have to do battle with the bureaucrats – just look what’s going on right now with HMRC and the proposed new VAT legislation for 1st January 2015 and you will know some of our pain. Most of us have to work that one out without a Finance Department (accountant) or a Legal Department (lawyer).
We have to motivate ourselves without a water-cooler moment or a canteen or someone to discuss this week’s Strictly elimination with. We don’t see anyone, often for days on end, so we learn to become resilient and self-reliant. It’s lonely, but we are made of stern stuff. We toughen up, we have no choice. We’ve got to support ourselves and provide for our families.
We are brave and intrepid and we are learning all this stuff about ourselves and about how to run a business while we are actually running our businesses, during the 9-5.
It’s hard work, there’s no cruising about, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. What about you? What do you get up to 9-5, employed or self-employed?
If you are contemplating leaving the day job for 9-5 at home, or if you are struggling to work successfully at home by yourself, Let’s Talk.