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Handed in my notice and going self employed. Having a wobble..

(18 Posts)

So I would really like some positive stories please 😊 I know I can make it work, and I'm not expecting to earn much to start with so my expectations are realistic I think. Any advice on the potential pitfalls of working from home?

Lovelyideas Thu 08-Sep-16 22:04:20

It has worked well for me for 12 years!
Can you say more about your worries?

IntravenousCaffeine Thu 08-Sep-16 22:38:44

I took the leap of faith a couple of years back with mouths to feed. Walked away from a very well paid job, bonus, pension, car etc. It was hard at first. I doubted myself, struggled to shake off the feeling of waiting for someone to ring and check my output for the day. Then I went to the other extreme of loving it and doing very little work (and not getting much income) and finding it hard to get motivated at home. I used to Hot desk or use coffee shops as I felt lonely on my own. It took me a good 12m to settle into it and now I absolutely love it and I earn more working 3 days a week than I did when I was employed full time. I enjoy the flexibility and I manage to stay motivated quite well. In hindsight i should have had at least 3m income saved before I jumped ship to relieve the financial
pressure. What area do you work in? I guess all careers will have a different self employed path to follow and hurdles to overcome x

I think my main worry is separating work from home. The nature of the job means I'll be contacted every day, evenings weekends etc., and it's learning to be disciplined enough to have 'out of office' times - the temptation to log on so as not to miss any revenue I guess. The flip side is learning not to be distracted by home stuff when I'm planning to work.

Thanks for your reply, I've thought about going for it for a while but waited until o could afford to not work for a few months. I've got a 4yo so the point of this is to get balance.

I'm going to be a self employed travel consultant. The upside is that I have regular customers from my current job plus family and friends who'll use me and recommend me, the downside is that I'll only get paid when they pay so if all of my bookings are for next October I don't earn anything until July!

sportinguista Fri 09-Sep-16 13:16:32

I left a job because of bullying and started freelancing technically on New Years Day. At first it was hard. I had no clients and felt like I'd stepped off a cliff. 2 years on I have lots of clients, stay motivated most of the time and have a flexibility I could only dream of in my old job. Plus I've done a variety of work that I would have never got the chance to do.

I work less in some senses but it's at different times of the day, eg. I often work in the evening, sometimes weekends but then do other things during the days. I also tend to work intensively for short bursts and I charge more than I earned in my old job.

Working with children around can be challenging but as they get older it's easier. However I would say try to buy in childcare for summer holidays and some Easter/Half terms as to get work done it's essential.

Make sure you take breaks and also take time out to exercise/chill out and do something social as homeworking can be a bit isolating sometimes.

Good luck!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 09-Sep-16 13:24:22

You have already been sensible waiting until you could afford to. So you are off to a good start.

Only you will know if it works for you. And if it doesn't you can get another job.

I have done it for 5 years (marketing freelancer) and now earn more than I did. I work hard for it. I find the challenge is embracing the downtimes. As it generally gets busy again.

Will you be able to do the school run? If so, that is a benefit.

I would agree about childcare in the hols. I work almost ft so generally book in childcare. It is difficult though, as I then feel guilty I am not spending with the DC.

Give a go. It might be the best thing you ever did!!

sportinguista Fri 09-Sep-16 13:36:32

My DC has a better time at the sports camp I send him than he does with me!

Margo is right the peaks and troughs sometimes throw you at first. I still sometimes panic when all goes quiet but then I have really manic times where I'm working weekends etc.

Also the contentment is something I've never had in an employed job and the sense of achievement. It's all mine, I did it myself!

Thanks all. Summer childcare is a must as it should be a busy period for me. My intention is to be available for school runs then work some days and some evenings. I can pick when I work and the nature of the job means I'll be busier at evenings and weekends with enquiries, but I can work in them when it suits me. I have a friend who's been doing this for around a year so I'm trying to learn from her, and take her advice about the pitfalls.

IntravenousCaffeine Fri 09-Sep-16 21:33:57

Separating work from home isn't easy as the flexibility means you often work in batches (around children, meals, school runs, even the gym!). but I find I tend to have the mentality of working in set blocks and then log off physically and mentally and do the mummy stuff. Then pick it back up again later. It doesn't feel like work as much when you know you're driving your own income though. Working 8-10pm is a regular thing so I'm organised for the following day, but it means I can do the school run, a gym class, collect an asda shop through the day.

My lifeline is my diary .... Because I don't work 9-5 I would be lost without writing everything down. It's a juggling act but one I would never want to give up.

IntravenousCaffeine Fri 09-Sep-16 21:37:41

Ps I made the fatal mistake of trying to be supermum this summer break. Decided as I'm self employed and work from home I felt guilty that I should be able to work less and have the children more. It didn't quite work out that way as the work continued to come in (I can never say no as it pays the bills) and I continued to work less days for the benefit of the children = mega late nights to keep up with work, lots of weekend work, stressful days as I was worried about work and a very frazzled mummy after 6 weeks. I won't be doing that again!!

sportinguista Sat 10-Sep-16 12:40:11

The one thing I would say as advice is be very hot on invoicing and chasing payments. Also in my line of work we take deposits from clients. This saves a lot of angst later.

Use apps for time monitoring, payments and organisation as it saves a lot of time and effort.

Caffeine, my downfall is not making time for gym/swim or some me time. Do you book a session and then stick to it or just take it when you can fit it in? I need to start to do this and also eat healthier as I've gone from fit to being a fat freelancer. It was a bit of a wake up call when I ate a 2 person Xmas pudding whilst working in January for a lunch. But I'm still struggling with that!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 10-Sep-16 17:53:05

I go to the gym first thing so it is out of the way and I am only showering once. I chose a gym that opens at 6am for this purpose.

IntravenousCaffeine Sun 11-Sep-16 21:46:57

Sporting - I book 2 classes a week where I can take my youngest in the pram. I try and work my appointments around this. Obv if I'm too busy I can to cancel the classes but by putting them in the diary i can usually accommodate them. It's on my doorstep and takes an hour and 10 mins out of my day. (I've lost that to Facebook in previous years) Im no longer on fb for the time I wasted constantly

If i know I have evening appts then I cross out a couple of hours through the day so I'm not burnt out. Seeing it blocked out Stops me booking more clients in where there are gaps and working non stop as mummy and professional in every hour of the day. I know from previous overworking thats it is a recipe for disaster. Just better time management I guess for me, and I know my limits.

sportinguista Mon 12-Sep-16 10:32:45

I think that's what I will have to do, book sessions so I stick to it. The local leisure centre now do a booking system so I think i will get on that and try to stick to it. If I have booked I am much less likely to renege on it.

I have a rule of no facebook etc for certain length of time, then I break, have a 10 minute pause which I can do that and then resume. You tube also keeps me working, fortunately I do the sort of job where music actually helps me concentrate.

I took DS swimming yesterday and it was fab, just swimming around and relaxing and having fun with him. I really realise how much I miss it.

crazywriter Tue 13-Sep-16 04:16:07

I've been doing it for 6 years now and love it. Now managed to move country and I work while DH gets time off with the kids.

There are bad and good times. I recommend getting a good invoicing schedule going as soon as possible and be hit on changing those invoices since that's the way you work. I'm a writer so work a little differently but take 50% upfront and then 50% at the end. It.helps to set up trust etc. I'd recommend taking a deposit that's non refundable if the trip is cancelled for any reason and maybe stagger payments instead of waiting until 2 months before if that would work for your industry.

Don't let fear take over. It's one of the biggest things holding freelancers back. The fear of failing leads to them failing because they don't take the necessary steps to succeed.

Thanks all, sorry it's taken me a while to get back to the thread I've got lurgy 🙄 I'm lucky t not need to chase payments as I have admin support from an office team where I will be affiliated so even though I will be self employed, I am linked to a larger business and pay a fee for their insurance, ATOL protection, ABTA membership and admin support.

I'm really excited and reading your tips on organising time and blocking out 'off' times seems sensible. I've got a home office set up and I'm going to try to get in the mindset of making sure I start put in there during my working hours so I keep it separate for the rest of the house.

Ju222 Fri 14-Oct-16 00:57:00

I love working for myself from home, makes it far easier to bung a load of washing on/stick a joint in for tea/keep the log burner going so we don't have to fiddle about relighting it when we get home etc. Far less to do in the evening and at weekends and more time to have fun. There are a couple of pitfalls though. I thought it would make it easier for me to start a family but instead it has made it seem impossible as I cannot take time off nor get cover which would have been possible as an employee (might seem odd that I'm on mumsnet but I joined looking for help in this) Also, customers do tend to think you're available 24-7 and have no qualms about dropping their paperwork round for you at 7am on a Sunday! And if anyone ever says to you 'oh you're so lucky being self employed, you can have a day off whenever you like ' well, just laugh in their face grin. Seriously though, now I work from home we were able to get a dog who we wouldn't be without, neighbours stop by occasionally for a five minute chat and although I've lived in a neighbouring village all my life and know everyone already there's now a greater sense of camaraderie as pretty much everyone round here is self employed. I've also been invited to the postman's wedding. It does make you feel happier and more involved. I know I appreciate the fact that I have staff a few days a week and at least a couple of customers a day to stop me going out of my mind so at least your work is very customer based and that won't be a problem. Also, I'm an accountant, so financially speaking, I will say do not lose heart if you don't make any/much money in the first year or even the second. I see it all the time and it's quite perfectly normal for a new business. It takes time to get going and if you have a good idea or good skills and develop a good reputation you'll end up doing better than you imagined. Just, if it starts slow, it might feel hard, but keep faith in yourself. And from an accountanty (not really a word) point of view, if you don't earn much to start at least you won't have to hand a chunk of it over to her majesty's revenue and customs. Always a silver lining. Kindest regards from a fellow sufferer of the dreaded lurgy.

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