I never thought I wanted to be self-employed.
I associated it with financial worries, uncertainty, and ultimately, stress.
But as I continued showing up to work at the same time each day, typing emails and handling the phone calls my boss didn’t want to take, it started to dawn on me.
This was it.
Whilst I enjoyed my job for the most part, it wasn’t my business. Sure, I contributed well and received some recognition, but it wasn’t my name on the door.
I had developed professionally somewhat during my three years there, but at some point it stopped. And sure, I could have left the organisation to move somewhere else where there were more career development opportunities — but there’s only so far you can go.
My previous boss, on the face of it, was quite good with conducting annual reviews and asking what I wanted to involve myself more in.
I loved to write, but unfortunately there was already a long-standing freelancer doing that work — and much more articulately than myself — so that was off the cards.
I also enjoyed social media management, but again this had been developed for years by somebody else who felt like it was ‘their baby’ and had nursed a community which I had no part in.
All I wanted was some creative freedom. I just didn’t know how to make that happen.
And I wasn’t going to reach my full potential working for somebody else.
Being your own boss
It’s funny, because if I hadn’t have ended up in a situation where the business model was changing and I was working with an unpleasant colleague, I’m not sure I would have left.
I was paid well, I barely had a commute, and I had my own office. What more could a girl want? An office dog? Yep, I had one of those too.
Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected. The paths you don’t expect to take but end up being better than you could ever have imagined.
I’ve been in the ‘be your own boss’ game for 18 months now, and I’m not saying my working life is now a fairy-tale — far from it. But I’m on my way.
Working for myself has given me a renewed sense of freedom and endless possibilities. Simply nothing is out of reach.
So, what would my advice be to you?
Many of our greatest achievements come from stepping outside of our comfort zone. When I realised that I’d have to go self-employed if I wanted to work from home and have no-one to answer to, I was bricking it. It all felt so overwhelming at the time and I had no idea how I was going to pull it off and come out of the other side in one piece. And whilst we don’t always succeed when we take risks, we do grow as people. Ultimately, we’ll never know if we don’t try. Taking more risks in life improves our chances of achieving that goal we want to achieve.
Continually develop yourself
When you work for someone else, you can only develop yourself in terms of their company values and in line with their goals. You have to wait for a course to come along that you might be allowed to go on, or wait for the company budget to come through. Working for yourself means that you have endless opportunities to develop yourself, however you feel fit. A client asks you to do something you don’t know how to do? Go learn it. Is there something you want to offer but need some more practice? Take the time to build your skill set. The more you learn, the more you grow.
Take charge of your life
One of the most difficult things for me has been owning it. Owning the freelancer lifestyle and getting rid of the norms associated with being an employee. It’s been a difficult transition to ‘live life on my terms’ without fearing for repercussions. I realise I no longer have to answer the phone on the first ring, I can take breaks when I please, and I definitely don’t have to answer messages on the weekend. I can take the time to work on myself. I can reset when I feel I need to. And I can truly start to fulfil my true potential.
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