Yes, there are a lot of benefits and good things about being self-employed, but it isn’t all roses. There are bad days. Not many, but they are still there, getting to you, making you a little uneasy, possibly even questioning if you want to continue. I’ve had very few of these in the past, so they aren’t frequent – thankfully! I’ve learned to recognize them for what they are and I’ve trained myself to deal with them.
Some days, I simply get overwhelmed by it all, thinking about all I have to do to keep things running and that it’s all on my shoulders. At first, you likely can’t afford a virtual assistant, so you are accountant, marketing, sales, and everything else. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my business administration/accounting degree. It’s provided an amazing basis for self-employment. But the hours still add up. None of us is good at everything, so there’s going to be a gap and that gap is likely to be what makes you feel overwhelmed some days. Just breathe and know that it will pass.
Some days, the business isn’t rolling in and you start to freeze, thinking it will never pick up again. I’ve read a lot of books on entrepreneurship and they all point out that this is the normal ebb and flow of being self employed. It’s feast or famine. The trick is to learn how to mitigate the fluctuations, and to prepare for those times when work will be light as well as when you’ll have more work than you think you can possibly handle. Again, you’ll develop coping mechanisms. Few new entrepreneurs can resist the temptation to take on all the business that comes there way, but this is a trap. If you take on too much, you’re going to have unhappy customers. Nobody wants to hurt their reputation. So you have to learn when to say no. Hopefully not often, but there are times when it might be wise.
The other times that have been a challenge are on the financial end. Gone are the days of employer sponsored health insurance. If you’re lucky, you might have a spouse with a ‘regular job’ that provides this, but that isn’t the case for me. Finding good health insurance at anything close to affordable gets harder by the year. When you’re looking at the huge insurance premiums and still get hit with sizable doctor bills, you have to wonder. This is one of the few times I’ve dreamt of giving up for a ‘real job’. So far, I’ve made it work. Then there are taxes, 401k investments, long term care insurance; all those things that were handled for you by your former employer. It’s a lot, I won’t kid you.
I’m sure there are other struggles people face that I haven’t encountered yet, but notice the yet! I’m sure I’ll continue to have new experiences that give me pause. But, would I seriously give this all up? No way. I’m making it work. I get smarter each year. I keep learning and adjusting. And it’s all working out. I’ve faced a lot of challenges throughout my life. This is just one more, but it’s one I’ve chosen and can design the way I want it to be. How about you? Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime? If so, don’t wait. Go for it!!!!