Because I don’t like to focus on the negative stuff too much, I thought I would have a bit of a light-hearted look at the down sides of working for yourself. This is all meant to be a bit of fun and meant for a laugh. That said it is actually based loosely on some of the things I have experienced (particularly the travel bit) as well as things I have heard, read and spoken to others about experiencing. So here’s a bit of a lighthearted look at the not so fun parts of working for yourself.
1) The hours you have to put in.
Oh My God it is the worst! I have never worked so hard at something in all my life! I thought you just started a business and people started handing you money! I thought you were meant to get all this spare time to go to the beach and lounge about and stuff and get paid heaps more for it! The worst part is that everyone seems to think you do nothing and earn a fortune for it! Who’s stupid idea was it to start my own business?…wait…never mind.
2) The Alienation.
Oh My God it is the worst! Everyone thinks you hate them cause you spend so many dam hours working. Who gets time to talk to anyone for fun anymore?! I can’t even look at a coffee now without thinking i should be talking to someone about work. Everyone thinks because you don’t call them that you don’t want to have anything to do with them anymore. I miss my friends so much! The nights out drinking and having fun. What the hell have I done!? Who’s stupid idea was it to start my own business?!? …wait…never mind.
3) Not ever really being sure you have made the right call.
Oh My God it is the worst! How the hell was I meant to know if I could claim that stupid thing on my tax BEFORE I brought it? My accountant wasn’t going to be answering their phone at 4 pm on a Saturday afternoon! I bet they are on a beach somewhere having fun with their friends. The sales guy said the sale only went till close of business today! What was i meant to do? That was such a good deal, how could I pass it up? I saved a fortune and I really need it. Jees I hope I can claim that. I will be screwed if I can’t. Who’s stupid idea was it to start my own business?!? …wait…never mind.
4) The feeling everything you have been doing is never enough.
Oh My God it is the worst! I have been busting my hump all week and I am still not sure I have done this right or if it will be good enough! I only quoted 40hrs for this job and i must have spent at least 55hrs doing it! And with all the other stuff I have to take care of. I must have worked 250 hours this week. I haven’t charged enough for this. Did I get that email out? I forgot to make that booking. I have to do that when i get a minute. Why didn’t I do more on that last job? Is the client actually happy or were they just bring nice? I bet they never call again. This is a joke! Who’s stupid idea was it to start my own business?!? …wait…never mind.
5) The Travel.
Oh My God it is the worst! I am at the airport like every other day! Then when I am home I am driving all over the place for meetings! Who the hell sets a meeting in the CBD starting 30 minutes into peak hour?!?!? 3 hours of my life I will never get back! Who the hell does that on a train? What is that stuck to me now? Come on mate you are half my size, surely you don’t need to have your elbows digging into me for this whole trip, I can fit into my seat just fine! Use your finger nail on the touch screen mate and you don’t have to keep smacking the back of my chair. I don’t care how tall you are, it is not OK to dig your knees into the back of my seat for this whole trip. This chair is so dam uncomfortable! Delayed you say? Wow surprise surprise. What do you mean 4hrs delay?!? I need to be back to start another job!! What do you mean I can’t take this? I got it here on your service!?!? Did I remember to pack that? I thought you got to stay at home and work in your pyjamas all day with your slippers on! I spent all that time and money setting up my perfect office in my spare room! $300 for a chair that I have used twice! This is a joke! Who’s stupid idea was it to start my own business?!? …wait…never mind.
While I am poking a bit of fun here I have experienced all of these things to some extent. (I actually didn’t scratch the surface of the travel stuff, but i really do love the travel itself and seeing new people and places.)
If you are thinking of working for yourself it will be highly likely that you go through some or all of these things to some extent at least once. If you are going through them now, stick it out! I promise you get used to it. You will work out ways to cope. You will work out who to ask for help and when to ask. You will learn what to do and when to do it. It gets better. It takes time, but it really does get better. You aren’t alone.
If you are struggling then shout yourself a few trips to some local small business networking functions. You will find a whole heap of people who are in or have been in the exact same position as you are. The best part is they are all happy to offer advice or point you in the direction of someone who can. Don’t you dare give up on your dream! It is worth sticking it out. Trust me.
I have been incredibly lucky to have the support and advise of my parents who have run business most of my life, as well as the unwavering love, support, compassion, understanding and helping hands of my beautiful fiancée to lessen the impact of and help get me through all of these things and so much more. For that I can not thank all three of them enough or show enough gratitude.