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Just remind me again what's so great about being self-employed....

(16 Posts)
trailingvine Tue 02-Oct-12 09:43:02

I'm feeling a little bogged down in it all! Just left a lovely, interesting public sector job because I wanted a new challenge and more flexibility and to be creative and do my own thing. I have enough money coming in to keep the wolf from the door but I am working bloody hard for it and never seem to have the time or focus to develop the business with marketing and brand development let alone doing all the creative, exciting things I had planned.
My toddler is downstairs, clamouring to get up and see me, my laptop is too slow and I can't afford another, I've just shelled out a grand on another piece of 'essential kit' (that's our winter holiday gone) and I am about to drive across two counties for a meeting that may or may not lead to some work.

Sometimes I wish I had carried on with the same old, same old!
Words of encouragement and motivation gratefully received!

Bitzer Tue 02-Oct-12 11:17:00

Ah, I feel your pain. I'm currently trying to branch out into a different area of freelancing at the moment and it feels like a lot of effort in and now much out. I also feel like a bit of a fraud because there's not v much money coming in so it feels like I'm just 'pretending' to work if you see what I mean. And then I feel guilty about time not spent with DC.

But, at the times when it is working well, the benefits for me are:
- I get more time with my kids
- I don't have to commute very much
- The work and my routine are very varied
- I spend much less time in meetings
- I learn a lot because I have to go and find things out for myself
- I have the flexibility to do things like get to school coffee mornings (not always a good thing in itself but sometimes necessary), nativity plays, music classes - my DDs are 2 and 4.10 so it's a slightly different scenario I suppose because the eldest has just started school

It is really tough and, in all honesty, it may not work out in the long run for you but it's much more likely that it will, and whatever happens you'll have learnt from the experience. You can only give it your best shot.

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 02-Oct-12 11:22:21

Oh I hear you!
Have just paid ££££ to secure childcare places for the Dts, literally the next 2 days two hopeful projects come back a 'No'.
My oldest client, a boss who I have worked for for over 10 years (formerly as staff), seems to be sidelining me quite massively.
I can't see how I'm going to network and build up a new client base with two one year olds!
And I feel like I haven't spent time around OTHER HUMAN BEINGS (grown up variety) for far far too long now!

I appreciate that is definitely not motivation and encouragement grin, but does it count if I just say I Know How You Feel!

BedHog Tue 02-Oct-12 11:25:35

Lots of great things about being self employed.....

No petty office politics
You can work in your pyjamas
Flexible hours and holidays
Tax free maternity pay that doesn't count as income for tax credits etc.
You can work with daytime telly or your own choice of music on in the background
You get to call yourself 'Company Owner' or 'Managing Director' etc and sound all posh and important!
You get all the credit for successes.
You meet lots of interesting people

Hang on in there - being self employed is fantastic!!

Bitzer Tue 02-Oct-12 11:35:10

Oh yes, good point BedHog - I meant to add lack of office politics to my list.

Peachy Tue 02-Oct-12 11:49:13

Dh is self employed. For him being able to manage his own schedule is significant (so he can come to appts with me if he wants and just start work early on work until bedtime), no boss and no office politics is key; plus the chance to take his business in the direction he wants- just qualified in pyrotechnics- and work in a field he adores but is very restricted is everything to him.

I worry about the isolation and make sure he compensates for it with a hobby that is very social. He's also studying right now but when that goes I know it will need to be factored in quite hugely as he tends to work alone and online.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 02-Oct-12 13:26:27

I take August off to be with my kids. So does DH. : a bit of email from home keeps it ticking over
Shopping when the supermarkets are child free
no more rush hour - unless you are on paid mileage

trailingvine Tue 02-Oct-12 14:36:56

Thanks everyone! I keep being told by other self-employed people that it's the 'best thing I ever did', and I'm just not really feeling that at the moment.

That having been said, I've just had a great meeting, from which I got 4 referrals and had a lovely drive in the Autumn sunshine- beats being in yet another team meeting in my old prefab office, with plastic chairs and the unrelenting aroma of cup-a-soup.

I've never thought to work in my pyjamas- I might try it on Monday, when the kitchen fitters have gone!

Mirage Wed 03-Oct-12 18:52:32

I've been self employed for 12 years and this year is the very worst that I can remember.A combination of bad weather and the cost of living has halved my customer base and my income is down by £100 a week.sad

However,every customer I have spoken to,and mentioned that I might cease trading too,has looked horrified and begged me not to,so that was reassuring.I also tried to think of another job where I can work school hours,pick which days I work and earn a reasonable wage,and I can't think of anything.So I'll keep on plugging away.But I am hoping to start another business over the winter,to make up the short fall.

TheFarSide Wed 03-Oct-12 21:16:39

I've found that having a "normal" job two days a week brings stability and regular income to my life. It lessens the fear of being totally reliant on a freelance income.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 03-Oct-12 23:12:51

trailingvine I think an important part of the freelance/self-employed life is to appear successful and that everything is rosey. Who wants to use the miserable unsuccessful freelancer?!?? So whilst not wanting to call those you spoke to liars (!), I wouldn't always believe how it is presented.

It sounds like you are just starting out. It won't be easy but you will soon learn what you want to do and what you don't want to do. However good you are at your "profession/trade" it is unlikely that you have all the experience and skills needed to run a business, some of it needs to be learned through experience.

There are 3 months to Christmas, what do you want to have achieved by then? It is really difficult to see beyond the next day in the early days. What about writing down 3 things you want to gain from your new life style and pin it on the wall. Might all sound a bit self-helpy/woo but it might help you focus?

I think a lot of us go through constant up and downs.

Like TheFarSide I have a retained client which gives me stable income, is that something you could do? It makes the week ahead of business development seem less bleak if I am honest.

Hope you are feeling better today.


Peachy Thu 04-Oct-12 17:13:01

The one big client thing makes sense.

We have a different but same-rational system: DH is a final year student so we get the loan which helps with stability, but also he has retained the ebay outlet selling small products that anyone can afford and are in need of regular replacement: repetitive monotonous work but guaranteed to come in whether the bigger stuff moves or we get commissions for design.

nickeldaisical Thu 04-Oct-12 17:16:37

Ooooh, I know the feeling.

A friend of mine is quite eccentric and buys her Christmas presents really, really early.
Which is great, except, she has been in today and bought £100 of National Book Tokens.
I get 15% from that - which means that I'll gert, in my till £15 and NBT will get the remaining £85.
Which doesn't help me, because I really need that money in my till.
The people might not buy their books here (they can spend them in most bookshops), so she's actually only spent £15 with me. They might spend them here, but not until January.
I really could do with not having to give NBT £85 on the 14th of this month, thank you.

But! I have an event coming up next Monday, and I can take DD with me. DD can be in the shop with me every day, and I have no one telling me what to do.
I can buy in what I want and I can sell what I want. All the decisions are mine, and it's incredibly satisfying.

nickeldaisical Thu 04-Oct-12 17:17:59

Bedhog - i can't work in my pyjamas! grin

(well, I could, but my customers might not be happy...)

BedHog Thu 04-Oct-12 17:31:34

That depends if you sleep in the nude nickel!! grin

nickeldaisical Fri 05-Oct-12 12:50:51


no, my customers wouldn't like that much either! shock

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