The Dark Side to Self-Employment
There are lots of great things about being self-employed but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some struggles too. You know that joke, come to the dark side – we have cookies.
Well if you’re self-employed and you want cookies, you have to make them yourself. Everything ultimately falls on you and it’s easy to feel the pressure to do everything all the time. You’ll likely end up working more than the traditional 40 hours a week, at least in the beginning.
Sometimes you have to keep reminding yourself that you do it all for the ability to be your own boss. While the benefits of being self-employed often outweigh the disadvantages, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
If You Want Cookies You Have to Make Them Yourself – Everything falls on you.
Self-employment means creating your own schedule and to a certain extent choosing the work you pursue. You “get” complete control, creative and otherwise.
It also means everything is up to you. Marketing your business, getting clients, completing the work, billing, following up on payment, setting aside money for taxes, every single thing is on you. With all of that comes a lot of pressure.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed take the time to step back and evaluate what is working and what isn’t. What things can you automate to save time and take things off your to-do list?
Are you at the point where you can afford to hire some help, at least part-time? Once you’ve evaluated what can be done to cut down your to-do list, take action.
Pressure to do all the things all the time.
Even after knocking things off your to-do list, you might feel like you need to do all the things all the time. Particularly when there is always new technology and marketing methods to try out. It isn’t possible to do everything you want and remain sane. At some point, you are going to have to let go of the less important or outsource some of the work.
The only way you will grow your business, is if you stop chasing after doing every thing. You have to take the time to think about new ideas and learn new skills. Working for yourself is a lesson in learning how to prioritize. You have to focus on what is truly worth your time.
Since you can’t do everything all the time you will need to implement systems and use technology to your advantage to ensure things get done.
“Entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”
This quote comes from Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner, talking about how entrepreneurs like to be the boss so they are willing to do the work. Think carefully when you are contemplating leaving your job to work for yourself in order to have complete control.
That complete control of your work is great, but don’t go thinking this means you will only work 40 hours or even less than 40 hours a week. Chances are that you will work even more, at least to start. There will be long days, and likely working on the weekend too.
However, because you enjoy most of what you do (unfortunately there is always less fun administrative work to do), you tend to lose track of just how much you worked. It’s because a lot of it is work you love and while you are still working, it doesn’t feel like work the way a 9-5 job often does.
Remember at the beginning of this post when I mentioned that everything falls on you? While you can automate and outsource you still have to put in the time to get everything done. No one else will do it for you.