As a final flourish of our Better Bloggers Group which has dominated February’s activity for me, we have a new challenge to write a post on the 5 best things about being self-employed. This challenge has already started and you can read the original post at Entrepreneur Soul here.
In a former life, I once had a “proper job”. A budding sales executive for a direct marketing company, I had a company car, a couple of smart suits and I was going places. I was the envy of my friends yet in reality I was bored. A friend who knew me well suggested a trip to India but my boss wouldn’t allow me a month’s leave. It took a moment’s decision to say “bye, bye, grown up job”, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been a self-employed astrologer since 1989. Here are my 5 best things about working for myself:
Do What You Love
Astrology is my passion. It has not only been the most fascinating subject to study indepth, but over the past 20 years, as an offshoot, I’ve learnt about mythology, ancient history, world cultures, archetypal psychology, counselling, divination, astronomy and web design. How fantastic is that. I feel like Renaissance Woman at her best.
Without contriving to sound like Miss World, I love people. Human beings are endlessly fascinating and having work that allows me to interact with others and to listen to their stories in confidence is a sheer joy. To then be able to help people gain clarity about their lives and a deeper understanding about self and others is pleasurable and satisfying beyond compare.
Feast Or Famine
I love the fact that I’m in charge of my own destiny and that includes my financial destiny. I know that in my line of work as a media astrologer, I have the potential to earn big money literally overnight, if the contract’s with a major magazine or newspaper. I have been fortunate enough to earn extremely well with my media contracts. However, I have also experienced the opposite when my media work has dried up.
In a weird kind of way, I also enjoy the challenge of having very little money and finding ways to make do and get by. Maybe it’s my northern roots and a mother who loved a bargain and of course having little makes you extra grateful and appreciate what you do have in your life. One of my all time favourite quotes is: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have”.
It’s All My Fault
“What”, you might be thinking, “has she gone mad, it’s all her fault?” Well, yes it is and that for me is one of the beauties of being self-employed. The bad news is it’s my responsibility and the good news is it’s my responsibility. In other words, it’s down to me whether my business prospers or fails. Simples.
When things are going well, I gain tremendous esteem from the fact that it’s my personal achievement. I’ve worked hard and been successful – great, time to pat myself on the back. When things aren’t going well, I know it’s time to go back to the drawing board and look at what I’m doing right or what I can change and what isn’t working. It’s up to me, it’s my responsibility.
Choose How You Spend Your Time
This is a biggie for me as I don’t like constraints, full stop. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll try and find a way I can. Tell me I have to be in the office from 9-to-5 and I’m on the next plane out of there (see intro). When I was a single lady in London, I went salsa dancing 3 or 4 nights a week. Being self-employed, I could choose what time of day or night to work so if I wanted to dance till late and sleep in the following day, no problem.
My life is more structured these days as I have a daughter at school but I am still able to choose when I work and, joy of joys, be spontaneous. See the photo at the top? That was taken on a balmy September day last year when a friend (also self-employed) decided to have an impromptu birthday brunch on the beach at Brighton as the weather was so glorious.
Dog Walks And The School Run
The more mature I become (and the more years under my belt), the more I realise it’s the simple pleasures of life that matter and it’s the people I love and care about who are important. We are a family of dog lovers, we currently have 2 and a new puppy is on order for the summer. I am currently chief dog walker so I get to spend 30-45 minutes every day in the beautiful Surrey Hills. It’s my daily exercise, my daily dose of beauty & nature, it can be sociable if I choose (a friendly lot us dog walkers) and research tells us that owning a pet is linked to good health and wellbeing.
Finally, I have a gorgeous daughter who turns 12 this year and will go to big school in September. This final benefit of working for myself is not just a benefit, it’s a blessing. I am so grateful that I have been able to be there for my daughter before school and after school for the majority of her junior school life. I know that not everyone has that opportunity and I also know that our children grow up so fast. I feel blessed and very lucky.
I love what you say about money, or lack of it. When I first became self employed, being frugal with money was all part of the game. And what fun it was! I learned more then about being good with money than I’ve ever done.
Thanks Sally for a great post
I think it’s probably very important to go through that stage as well, Allison. It makes you appreciate the wins and the money all the more! Thanks for your comment, Sally
ntathu allen says
YES! YES! YES! Love all your reasons and identify 100% with all your reasons..especially being home when your daughter leaves/goes to school. That was one of my motivating reasons to be self-employed also. My five will be up soon. Hugs and happy entrepreneurship.
Happy entrepreneurship, I like that. Thanks for your comment.
Kerry Hales says
I loved your five. Adored your quote: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have” and that is our lives! As a fellow mum I too am thrilled to be there for my boys – and to show them rather than tell them to ‘love what you do’. You clearly do!
I like that; “show them rather than tell them to ‘love what you do'”. Precious.
Thank you for your comment.
Judith Morgan says
I suspect those of us who are loving being self-employed didn’t need much encouragement. Resonating with most of yours, Sally, too, although no children or dogs chez Judith and I don’t do famine either any more, I like feast, feast, feast!
Aside from those of us who have Entrepreneur in our DNA, or the Entrepreneur Gene as has been speculated on elsewhere, our ranks are now being swelled by those who have no choice but to employ themselves and I welcome them whole-heartedly.
Not only will they get a lot of help and encouragement from people like us, some of them will also take to it like ducks to water and I can’t wait to see that. One of my nephews started just on Monday gone and is loving it so far. I asked for the good, bad and ugly and only got three goods as far as I could see them, including floor-cleaning!
Thanks for your comment, Judith. I’m up for more feasting.
Marion Ryan says
Terrific, Sally, I resonate with all your reasons. What drove me was my son who as a 6 year old, believed he was the only kid being picked up from school by a childminder. Even now as a 16 year old (and even though he doesn’t appreciate it!) it is great that he comes home to a warm house and some company, followed by a hot meal shortly afterwards.
We are blessed.
I think parenting is definitely a great lesson in unconditional love. I learn a lot about that from our two dogs! Total devotion.
Thanks for your comment, Marion.