ad // Self employment is… a ride. To say the least. If you’re not self employed, you really can’t begin to imagine what it’s like and all the different parts that make up a self employed role. Of course all jobs are difficult and challenging at times, I’m not disputing that. But self employment is all I’ve known for QUITE some time.
I sort of fell into self employment which might sound like a dream to some but truthfully, I was blissfully unaware and naïve about it. I never actively set out to become a full-time blogger; it was thanks to my anxiety disorder that I’m even here, doing this. Although I am grateful for this job and the blogging opportunities it’s given me, it has been a bit of a shock to the system.
And despite having been self employed for around 5 years, it STILL continues to be a shock to the system.
There are various aspects of life that can be impacted by self employment. For me, at least, the most prominent aspect was my mental health. Which wasn’t surprising, considering I’ve suffered with mental illness for a decade now. The culture shock of being self employed is not easy on your poor ol’ brain sometimes!
But of course, it doesn’t stop there. From self motivation, to taxes, to that elusive work/life balance, there are so many areas we need to grow and practice when we’re self employed. So here are some things I wish I knew and did before becoming self employed IF I had purposefully set out to do it. These things would have made me much more capable!
I wish I had learned about accounting and taxes earlier
Of course I knew I had to keep track of my incomings etc right from the get-go but I wasn’t earning enough to pay tax for so long (before I really went full-time with my blog and started earning a full-time income from it) that I didn’t take it seriously enough. My records from 5 years ago are a MESS.
I could have definitely benefitted from some sort of course or even hiring an accounting for small business accounting just to get everything in order for me. I don’t know why I was so insistent on doing everything old school on pen and paper but alas, here we are.
Managing the quiet months
Here I am, over half a decade into my self employed career and I’ve just had the quietest month (February 2022) in terms of work and income I’ve had in over 2 and a half years. And I did NOT cope with it very well. I know how to keep busy during quiet blogging months but I wish I had understood this side of being self employed early on.
You NEED a dedicated work space
This one is so bad it almost makes me laugh. I was working from my bedroom for YEARS. I mean years. But it wasn’t until the pandemic happened and I had no privacy or quiet to get my work done did I realize just how much I needed my own office space. Luckily in 2020 I finally got my garden office and it’s been a godsend. I just wish I hadn’t postponed it for so long.
Self motivation is hard – regardless of how productive you are
I am one of the most productive and organized people I know. I rarely procrastinate, I work from a to-do list every single day and I just like to get the sh*t done. But I still struggle with self motivation, particularly if I’ve had a bad experience, have something going on that’s distracting me or are having a quiet work month.
Your mental health can really get in the way
And this one. OH BOY. This point could be an entire blog post on it’s own but it’s SO relevant and I’m sure a lot of people will be able to relate. When you don’t have a boss to tell you to get on with your work, it’s incredibly tempting to just get back into bed, have a cry, eat chocolate and go to sleep when your mental health is bad. I’ve done that more times than I care to admit.