Ever since I could remember my dream job was working for myself.
When I was 9 years old, I created my first “business” called J&F foundation (short for Jimmika & Friends foundation). I had no idea what this business was but I knew it was mine and I called the shots. I had a file cabinet in my dad’s home office with all my “important work documents”. I sat behind my computer typing stuff, because that’s what business people did. In my own dream world I did cool things and brought me friends along with me and made money because of it. It’s no wonder 16 years later I working (partially) for myself, making my childhood dreams come true.
When I first started blogging and writing, I didn’t even know people got paid to do it.
I was just chasing the clout and internet fame to be completely honest with you. Over the past year I have made a pretty consistent income blogging and freelance writing however it’s nothing like I every expected–like at all.
So many people make working for yourself seem like the most carefree thing in the world. According to “those people”, you wake up whenever you want. You have time and money for consistent midday lunch dates because “you work on your own schedule”. The money just easily flows to you and you just have the most stress free work-life balance.
All of the above are lies, however I’m here to tell you the truth.
Working for yourself is hard…hard af and takes more time energy and everything else in between than one could imagine. When you clock in and out of a job, everything you need is pretty much put in place for you. You just show up, do your assigned tasks and go home. Working for yourself is the complete opposite. Nothing is laid out for you–there’s no clocking in. You are every function for your business (accounting, marketing, PR, maintenance etc). If that isn’t stress then I don’t know what is.
In my first year of working for myself, I learned these life changing lessons.
1. You still need to have a routine
Routines are in place for reason. Especially as someone who works for themself, forming a routine can help you be productive and minimize time wasted figuring out what to do next. Make a tentative routine for yourself that includes things like when you’ll officially start working for the day, when you’ll completel specific daily tasks (checking emails, creating blog posts, pitching, reaching out to PR etc) and even take breaks etc. When you have a routine you’ll stay focused af.
2. Your bad work habits will surface and hit you like a ton of bricks
All my life I’ve been a procrastinator. When I transitioned from working full-time to freelancing, I realized just how bad of a procrastinator I truly am. Unlike a traditional job, you don’t have someone to get you together when you’re falling off. You have to be really honest with yourself before anything and tackle your bad work habits head on before they end up being your demise.
3. There will be times when you’re doing the work but not seeing the benefits
When you work for yourself you don’t get paid for just showing up. Especially in the beginning you’ll put in a lot of work without the a guarantee that you’ll benefit monetarily. Whether it’s spending hours redoing your blog or researching formulas for a product you want to develop, you won’t reap the benefits of some of your hard work until much later in the game and that’s perfectly fine.
As a quick testimony, just in a year of working harder than I have in the past I have worked and connected with more brands than I could even dream of a year ago. When you put in the work it’s going to yield results.
4. It can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining
There is going to be plenty of days where you’re thinking about giving up or you’re “getting ahead of yourself”. Stay out of your head and keep going. You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you count yourself out before you really get started.
5. People will look at you differently when you say you “work for yourself”
When I tell people I work for myself, some people think I sit at home and have a ton of money coming in with little to no effort. Others think it’s code for “I’m too lazy to have a real job”. Some even assume I think I’m “better” than others because I don’t depend on a 9-5 for 100% of my income. All are false of course but people will be people. Don’t let people’s misconceptions and expectations determine how you live your life as an entrepreneur.
6. You’ll be forever learning something new about your designated field.
Everyday, I learn something new about blogging/writing. Don’t expect to have all of the answers in the beginning. Embrace trial and error. Your journey as a entrepreneur is forever evolving. Learn from every lesson and let it make you better in the long run.
7. Working for yourself sometimes involves picking up odd jobs and part time work
Let’s be real, you’re not going to quit your job on Monday then wake up Tuesday with a consistent income from a hobby you turned into a business. Yes, working full-time and starting a business isn’t feasible for everyone but bills have to be paid. Finding odd jobs and part time work is a great to have consistent income while building a business, freelancing etc. As we speak, I’m looking for temporary holiday work to put some extra money in my savings for when my business income may take a dip (because it will happen).
I really hope these lessons I learned the hard way helps you in the long run 🙂
Here are some more posts you may enjoy:
Facing Reality: How I Knew It Was Time To Quit My Job (click title to read)
Things To Do Before You Quit Your Job (click title to read)