Self-employment: when it’s your business, you need to do it your way

Self-employment your wayI’m constantly seeking out opportunities to learn new skills and new ways of building my business.  It means that my Facebook feed and email inbox looks very different now.

Recently though, I’ve been troubled.  Most of the articles I read are inspiring and useful.  Others have been downright annoying.  I feel as if I’ve been lectured to and I don’t like it.

My contrary nature

I confess, I don’t like being told what to do. I’ve always gravitated towards the kinds of work where you get a certain amount of freedom to decide how to do things and plan your day.

When I was a solicitor there were always deadlines to meet and hearings to get to.  The partners in charge of the team had final say on strategy.  However, within that structure I was free to decide how the work got done.

Going it alone

Deciding to embark on self-employment is a huge decision.  The familiar is comfortable and the unknown scary.  Thousands, if not millions of us stay in jobs we don’t like with “better the devil you know” ringing in our ears.

I knew that I was going to have to work hard to make it. I knew that money would be tight and luxuries few and far between, but that was OK.  When the money comes it the fact that I earned it makes it that much sweeter.

I was talking to a newly self-employed friend recently and she told me she wished she’d done it years ago.  Even when you’re working at ten o’clock at night you don’t mind because it’s for you.  The extra work you do when you’re earning a salary benefits someone else.  When it’s your business it goes to your family.

The lecture

All of this means that I get annoyed when I read articles telling me I’m not working hard enough.  That I shouldn’t be taking a holiday if I want to be a millionaire.  That there’s no such thing as work/life balance, there’s just fitting your family into your business somewhere so you can spend time with them.

That would be interesting with my family.  My eldest son didn’t want to go to holiday club recently and said I should go instead.  I told him he’d have to stay and write three blog posts and research designer bathrooms.  He seemed interested but he’s only just learned to write so I’m not sure he’s ready.

The reality

I know I’m not alone in choosing self-employment because it helps me work around my family.  I can be there for the school run and go on holiday knowing that the work will still get done.  I’ll be three times busier in the run up to time off but I know I’ve earned it.

There are people who go for self-employment thinking it’ll be easy.  They believe that their friends will send business their way and blame everyone but themselves when it doesn’t magically happen.  They don’t get out and talk to people or even respond to messages.

The vast majority of us aren’t like that.  We make our own choices.  We decide where we want to get to and work towards it.  I’d much rather work fewer hours, build slowly and get time with my friends and family than be a millionaire whose children don’t recognise her.

I suppose I should just stop listening to people whose definition of success differs from my own.  What do you think?  Drop me a comment and let me know!

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