Exposing the Underbelly of Being Self-Employed
I started my first business when I was just seven years old. My lemonade stand was conveniently located across the street from a construction site. I hired some of the neighborhood kids to run orders to those passing by in their cars or to the workers across the way. Overhead was zero because I got all inventory from the magic kitchen in my home. In the end, the workers wanted more pay and the magic kitchen ran out of supplies. It was good while it lasted.
A LOT has changed for me in my endeavor to live the life of the self-employed. I have moved my location and my focus. Today, I deal in words – written and spoken. The challenges are different. The end game is different. But the truth is that being self-employed still has an ugly side.
10 Truths about the Self-Employed Journey
1. It only gets done when you do it. The buck stops with me – and I mean that literally. Unless I do what needs to be then it does not get done and if it does not get done then the income does not flow.
2. I care more about my product than you do. I want you to care. I want you to care so much that you tell the world. You might care some. You might even care a whole bunch. But in the end I care the most and I need to act like it.
3. The system is rigged. I have been working as a freelance writer, author, and speaker for a decade. If I get sick, nobody comes in a picks up the slack for me. Nobody pays for that sick day. When I had my third child, I still had to make time to work. The government is giving away all of this stuff to others and I am left holding the bill.
4. I have to just get over it. There are so many inequalities in the system today that I could spend all day complaining about them. I think I did that yesterday. AT the end of the day, I will frustrated and angry but no closer to a solution or to my goals. It is what it is. Get over it and push on.
5. It costs more. This is the ugliest truth out there. I need to earn about two times what others earn to be in a position to pay for all the taxes and other miscellaneous expenses that come up.
6. Everyone forgets I am “at work.” I am in no position to blame them. I forget that I am at work. I stop the flow of accomplishments to do some laundry. I stop the focus on my business goals to clean the living room. I have to continue to remind myself to focus on work when it is time to work – and I have to get those around me to remember as well.
7. It is HARD work – and yes, it is work. Being self-employed provides me with more freedoms than traditional employment, but everything in my business rests on me. I have to be more committed, more consistent, and more determined than I would be if I just went to a job and earned a paycheck.
8. It requires a large investment. I have to invest my time. I have to invest my energy. And I do have to invest my resources. If I am low on one then I have to invest more of the others. There is no way around the investment.
9. It will not happen overnight. I will not be a sudden success. It will require that I push forward, step by step, measuring the results along the way, until I get to my desired goal.
10. It will be frustrating. People will not always do what I want or expect. Things will not always fall into the pattern that I desire. Too often, I let myself down. It is just that my dreams and my desires outweigh the frustrations.
Being self-employed is not all glitter and glamour. It is more grit and grime. Self-employed means having the will to dig in and dig down and push on no matter what the circumstances are showing. It may have its ugly side, but being self-employed is worth it to me.