Last night, as my client slept peacefully in his bed, dreaming of making money from his online business, I exchanged worried emails with his hosting provider who couldn’t do what I was asking them until I’d jumped through just one more hoop. At 1.30, exhausted at the hoop-jumping and despondent at my failure to get results, I gave up and went to bed. I tossed and turned all night wondering how I would pull this one off by 11am this morning when he expected to be unveiling his new website to the public.
“Just another day in the life of the self-employed” I thought wryly.
But fortunately for the growing numbers of people who work for themselves, there are benefits a-plenty to kissing the day job goodbye and forging one’s own path on the road to fame and fortune. Here are just my top 5.
1. Smart thinking and hard work = results
Yes, when I worked in the big corporate world I worked hard and was rewarded with promotions and pay rises, but these were determined by someone else. Whatever I did, my monthly salary only increased once a year, if I was lucky. Working for myself I set my own rates and I choose my own hours. I can slack or I can labour, I decide on the output and get what I deserve.
2. Truly flexible working
In corporate there was the daily travel. At its worst a jam-packed commuter train or sitting in traffic jams, usually with a tired hungry child beside me . Now, wherever I lay my hat – or more accurately, my laptop – that’s my workspace. The end of the kitchen table or the end of the pier, I’m geographically untied just as long as I have a broadband connection and a Skype app.
When I worked for someone else, I was a well-paid pen-pusher, far removed from the coal face. Though my work was essential to the company, and required me to creatively find solutions to thorny problems, it lacked colour and thinking outside the box. Today my work not only allows me to literally play with colours in my web designs but also allows me to puzzle over and come up with the very best online solutions for my clients.
4. Doing what I love
Back in the old ‘employee’ days, I always connected with my work and found something to love about it, even if it was only the satisfaction of seeing a job well done. Today I can honestly say that I get up every morning feeling excited and joyful about what I have planned for the day. Whether it’s a client consultation, the finishing touches to a new website or a mastermind call with my two favourite business partners, I am in love with the work I do. I know the difference I make to my business clients and I love that my work helps make their small businesses profitable.
5. Control of my destiny
When I was part of the rat race, I was valued by my company, one of the largest and most successful retailers in the UK. Until they went bust. Fortunately I’d gone by the time that happened and I would have loathed being swept back out into the workforce, reliant on doing a good interview and having a face that fitted somewhere else. These days, I control what I do and what my destiny is. I attract the people who want to work with me and do only the work that is most fun and feeds my soul, and my body. Because these days, the only person pulling my strings is me.
And finally, what of that tricky unsolvable problem I battled with last night? I found the solution this morning with the support and expertise of Steve Watson. My client came through saying “Brilliant, I’m really pleased with everything. We’re really motoring now!”.
And that’s why I love working for myself.