Self-Employment is an alternative to a traditional job, not an escape. While you may be out of the rat race, you’re still going to have to put in long hours, plus the occasional late nights and weekends. So expect your workday to still be 8 hours or more (probably more) even if you’ve left the 9 to 5 life behind.
Over the past decade, millennials have developed an interesting obsession with entrepreneurship and self-employment. Blindly striving for it against their better judgment and creating ventures that don’t always play to their strengths. At what point did such risk-taking become so widespread amongst this generation?
There’s a mixture of incentives that make the lifestyle alluring. But also misleading to those of you who have an overly optimistic outlook on self-employment. Overall, there’s no escape from having to work, you either work for yourself or somewhere else. But at the end of the day, it’s still a job even if you’re the boss.
Being self-employed is like being in a constant state of uncertainty. Once your brain actually internalizes the fact that a paycheck isn’t a guaranteed thing anymore, the only way to moderately relieve that feeling is to keep working.
Not only are your checks not guaranteed, but there’s also no paid vacation time, no company policy, no huge brand to sell behind or run marketing campaigns for you. You’re in charge of sales, customer service, account management, projects, marketing, 401k plans and paying taxes.
And for those social butterflies, they’ll be no coworkers to speak to and no manager to lean on for guidance. Lastly, most of your friends work at regular jobs, so you can’t call them at any time of the day. So it can get quite lonely sometimes.
While you may finally get to “do what you love”, you have to do it to survive. So you can’t stop when you’re not “loving” it anymore. It’s not a hobby anymore, photograph, graphic design or consulting is your full-time job now. This means there will be long hours, unpleasant tasks and rises and falls in demand.
You’re in complete and total control of your life and you’ve finally got that freedom you’re looking for. But freedom can be overwhelming. It’s an open field of opportunity with no map to success. You have to create it.
Self-awareness is a must when you’re trying to stay afloat on you’re own. Don’t focus on the things you want, but the things you actually are. Everyone wants financial independence, to set their own schedule, be their own boss, to come and go as they please and to do what they love.
However, not many of us can stand being alone for a month straight with no days off because you have to finish a large project for a client.
It’s like my mom used to tell me when I asked for candy in the supermarket,“ I want a lot of things, but I can’t have them”. And I believe it applies a little extra for entrepreneurship and self-employment.
While you may want to work independently and find your own clients. You may not be able to work with no guidance or support system.
Don’t get me wrong, you‘ll have some people rooting for your success, but you don’t necessarily have anybody to lean on for advice. Nor, will you have anybody there to cover your shift. If you don’t do it yourself, it just won’t get done.
You’ll need to be disciplined, a self-starter, flexible, adaptable and able to manage your stress and anxiety levels. Like I said before, you don’t have a set salary and until you get a steady flow of clients and referrals there will be constant ambiguity around your financial stability.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to constantly learn. Every time you run into an issue be relentless in finding a solution. Go to networking events even if you have to go alone — you probably will. Get creative and be willing to do whatever it takes.
You’ve already jumped out of your comfort zone, you have nothing left to lose. And if you do have something you’re not willing to lose, consider staying at your job. If you’re not going to go above and beyond, then why even do it? Save yourself the headache.