Self-Employed: Strong Suggestions from my trial and error approach
I left my job 4 years ago.
I know! FOUR YEARS! I can’t believe it either!
The past 4 years have included many highs and lows, and everything in between. I get asked a lot about how I did it, how it has changed my life, and advice on what to do.
So here you go!
What I’ve learned in my 4 years of running my own business:
1. A leap of faith works, when you have an inner knowing, and a strong foundation.
Probably the best thing I did for myself was ease into self-employment. I’ve heard stories about the people who ditched the job on a whim and opened up a shop and were hugely successful and filthy rich in the first month. I love those stories. I was also pretty sure that I needed a way to gracefully progress.
I reduced my hours for 6 months, continued to build my client base, my reputation, and my skill. At that point, I felt that I had enough of a cushion to keep from panicking.
Here’s the key to why this worked: It took the pressure off of my passions, releasing them from the obligation of supporting me financially in those early days.
When you start a business, you are learning so much, every single day, the marketing, cashflow, networking, as well as your craft. By taking a few smaller steps, I was able to create a solid foundation, and continue to love the teaching, the sessions, and the rest of the process. Along with the success stories, I’ve also heard the nightmares of others who began to resent what they loved, because it wasn’t supporting them financially.
Create a foundation, listen to your gut, and make the plunge a little less of a blind-dive-off-a-cliff, and more of a rope-swing into-a-beautiful-lake.
2. Nobody knows what they’re doing 100% of the time
Those who look perfect, calm, collected, who “make £100,000 in their first launch” are just like everyone else. To some degree, we’re all making it up as we go along. Do not judge yourself based on how another appears to be doing.
They have probably just been doing it a bit longer, and now know more about what does NOT work, and have eliminated that from the equation. We are all taking steps forward, learning as we go.
3. Learn how to develop a healthy relationship with money
Seriously. And check in on it regularly. Don’t let problems sneak up on you because you are refusing to look at them when they are tiny hiccups. Take a good long look at your bank balance, take a deep breath, and worth through the issue. Get an awesome accountant or coach or both, and change your relationship with money. Become friends. More will come when you welcome it in.
4. Self-employment can be lonely… if you allow it to be
Find support. All of those people you consider to be your competition are probably your biggest allies, if you allow them to be. Connect with other writers. Have coffee with the other coaches. Go out for dinner, drinks, (dancing as well, if there are a lot of drinks) with the people in your field. You will have some empathy and insight that only comes from doing what you do. Listen and learn, and give them a hand too. I found that the people who send me the most clients and students are the people who do very similar work. We could hate each other and try to steal each other’s clients, (like that’s even possible, seriously, your clients decide who to go to, so stop blaming your ‘competition’ for taking from you!), but instead we see the value in what each of us offers, and we celebrate each others accomplishments.
That sounds (and feels) so much better, right?!?
5. You work harder but you are more free
I spend more hours working for myself now than I ever worked for an employer. But there is something magical about having the freedom to choose your hours (4am or midnight anyone?), your location (your bed, coffee shop, friend’s living room,the park), and the people you work with (integrity, honesty, honour, and a sense of fun and adventure for me please!).
Choose what works for you. Do not feel as though you have to fit everyone else’s schedule. Set your boundaries early on around what works for you, and allow others to fit in with you.
6. Be honest with yourself about what you want from this venture.
The clearer you are on what you want and why, the easier it is to live it.
Is it freedom? More time with friends/family? Flexibility with your time? Ability to express yourself in an authentic way?
Get clear, be honest with yourself, and honour what you really desire.
People talk about ‘guilty pleasures’. What does that even mean? Why on earth would you feel guilty for wanting what you want?
Take a deep breath, search your heart and soul, and admit that you want a big beautiful life, where you can choose who you surround yourself with, work with your own rhythm and pace, with autonomy and sovereignty.
Honour the fact that you, as a miraculous being, want to live a more expansive and free experience while you are on this beautiful planet.
And honour yourself enough to step up and live it. Take responsibility for your destiny, your thoughts, your actions, and your passions, and live them every day.
There are days where I start to let that slip (usually when I’m needing rest), and so I take myself out into the sunshine. Because I can.
Don’t forget to bask in the sunshine every chance you get <3
Want to join the conversation? Comment below or find me on Facebook, I’m there every day! <3