People’s perspectives of the self-employed differ greatly. Some think my solopreneur lifestyle is glamorous and I spend all day creating beautiful things and hanging out on Pinterest. Some have visions of me waking up “whenever I want”, working in my pajamas all day, and not bringing home a “real” paycheck. I’m here to tell you it’s not either, break the myths, and share what I’ve learned in the past year working for myself.
1. Others will question what you do.
From the haters to those who just truly don’t get it, there will be people who don’t see what you do as a “real job”. Either because you get to do what you love all day (and of course, that can’t be considered working) or because they imagine you hanging out at home in yoga pants eating bon-bons.
To these people, I say, “who cares”. Yes, as a solopreneur you CAN do what you enjoy and work in yoga pants if you choose to do so. Every person has different motivations for being self-employed and I can promise that one of them isn’t to worry what other people think. However, these people can be great motivators to really grow in your success. I love nothing more than to prove someone wrong!
2. Payday looks a lot different.
Paying yourself is like, one of the weirdest feelings ever. I’m not sure it’s something that you can fully understand without experiencing it, but I will try to explain. So, as an employee, your bank account increases each time you get paid. Maybe bi-weekly or twice a month, you receive outside money in exchange for working. When you’re self-employed, you’re taking money out of your business to pay yourself. Each payday, your business account decreases in order to pay your salary. As a solopreneur, it’s truly all your money; you’re just moving it around. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; it’s just weird and different from receiving a paycheck as an employee. Does that make sense?
One of my favorite things about being self-employed is that I’m not just getting paid, I am making money. That feeling usually makes it all worth it for me!
3. The responsibility is real.
From setting your alarm to wake up in the morning to fixing a client issue to maintaining your website and everything in between, there is a LOT of responsibility. Typically I’m not one who seeks out responsibility (I’m 28 and don’t think I’m ready for a dog), but in my business it somehow works. I truly take pride in running and managing all the tasks, big and small.
Once you grow your business, you’ll be able to outsource and hire help with things but in the beginning I recommend taking it all on. You’ll have a hard time passing it off to someone else if you’re not even sure how to do it, whatever “it” may be. As a solopreneur, you’re not just a business owner, or a designer, but also a salesperson, customer service representative, marketing specialist, accountant, content creator, project manager, and many more. I thrive on wearing all the different hats and find interest in each one. That may not be the case with everyone, many artists just want to create art and not deal with the business aspects. With zero to biz, I hope to help you figure out the business-y stuff that may not come as natural. More to come on that later!
4. Work without co-workers can get boring.
When I left my job to fly solopreneur full-time, I knew I would miss my coworkers, but wasn’t prepared for how much. Working from home, there was no more morning coffee talk or fun lunch outings. Although I majorly missed the social aspect of having coworkers, not having anyone to ask for guidance can be a big negative. It’s nice to be able to get a second opinion or collaborate on a problem when it comes to employee work. When you’re the only one, and the boss, all decisions are left up to you!
I recommend keeping in touch with old co-workers even if it’s lunch once a month and finding other solopreneurs to network with. Through The Rising Tide Society, I was able to meet some other girl bosses who I love to chat with every once in a while. Friends are great, but other people doing something similar to you just “get it” a little more and can be a good source of chatter. We’re all in this together, find some people to make your tribe and keep ‘em close!
5. Mistakes are costly.
Dependent on your employee job, this can differ but in my experience, when I made a mistake at my office job it was always an easy (or reasonably easy) fix. When self-employed, mistakes tend to cost money that will directly affect your wallet. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of mistakes I’ve made or the financial repercussion for them, but it is just part of business. I can tell you that once you pay for a mistake, you’ll never make it again!
6. The rewards are amazing and make it all worth it.
OK, so maybe people will tell you this truth about being self-employed. It’s not easy to be a solopreneur, but the reward of working for yourself truly makes it worth it. There’s a quote by Shark Tank queen, Lori Greiner who sums it all up: “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” To me, that means an entrepreneur is willing to do what it takes to prevent the predictable and routine work-life that comes with being an employee. The rewards of making my own schedule, determining my daily routine, and making decisions in the way I think are best, supersede a cubicle job that although may be comfortable, is totally uninspiring.
Are you self-employed or considering it for the future? I’m not here to sway your decision either way. Although I truly believe self-employment is truly where I belong and thrive, it’s not for everyone. It’s a lot of work, but completely worth it if you choose to take that path!
For all you solopreneurs, what would you add to this list? For anyone considering self-employment what fears are holding you back from making the leap?