In August 2016, I walked away from my stable full-time job and started working for myself. To say that self-employment has been life changing would be an understatement.
There was been tons of ups and downs for me throughout the past year and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my income is pretty uncertain.
I have bills to pay and fixed expenses but I don’t have a set salary or guaranteed hours so I don’t know exactly how much I’ll earn this year or even this month.
My business income consists of blogging (where earnings can really be all over the place) and I try to stabilize it somewhat with freelance writing and virtual assistant services.
I go into every month not knowing exactly how much I’ll make and while some of you may find that stressful, I’ve gotten used to it and learned to embrace it. For the most part, I’m able to secure some contracts with freelance clients but much of the freelance work I do is on a month-to-month basis so it could stop at any given moment.
Last year, I experienced this when I lost a mid-sized client unexpectedly.
So, why did I quit my stable job over a year ago for this uncertain lifestyle?
I Embrace the Hustle
Working for yourself can mean you really have to hustle in many ways. Time is money because when you don’t work or create income streams, you don’t make any money.
You don’t get benefits like a 401(k) plan, health insurance, and you had to pay for taxes all on your own. If you freelance, it’s up to you to find clients who will hire you so you can make money.
While this might sound daunting, it’s actually quite freeing. When I lost my client abruptly, it was via email on a random weekday afternoon. I met up with my mom later to watch my sister’s powderpuff football game and I told her what happened.
She asked me what I was going to do and I told her I’d just find another client which is exactly what I did. My income was hit from losing a client who’d paid me anywhere from $600 – $750 for the past year but I still had other income from different clients I work with.
When you just have one job and lose it, things can be devastating but when you work for yourself and build a business with multiple income streams, you can usually bounce back pretty quickly. You just have to hustle from time to time. I immediately started pitching new clients and went to an industry conference a few weeks later where I’d met some new people I could work with.
Soon after, that lost income had been replaced and then some. For me, it’s easier to land new freelance clients and start getting paid quickly than it would be to land a whole new job and go through the interviewing and onboarding process.
For the most part, I establish a long-term commitment to my clients and have been working with a few people for over two years. However, it’s important to realize that your job is not 100% secure no matter what you do and I embrace being able to hustle and brush up on my networking and pitching skills when I have to.
More Passionate About What I Do Now
Another reason why I left my stable traditional job is because I wasn’t enjoying the work I was doing. When I was first hired, I was excited about the job and passionate.
As time went on, my interests changed and I became drained and unhappy with the work I was doing. Meanwhile, I was working hard on my blog and freelancing on the side.
I’d wake up early and stay up late to do the side work and while it was very time consuming, it made me happy again because I’d found something I was passionate about doing once again.
I also realized I didn’t want to spend my life working for someone else and making their dreams come true. I have my own dreams and vision and I wanted to work for myself. We all spend a huge portion of our lives working which is why it doesn’t make sense to keep working at a job you don’t like.
Ability To Make More Money
One of the obvious motivations for becoming self-employed was being able to earn more money. Even though my income at my last job was steady and guaranteed, it also was pretty low and I knew I had nowhere to go but up.
I went to school for journalism and communications and in the writing field, jobs are often competitive and low-paying. Last year, I earned around $70,000 during the first full year of having my online business.
This is only the 3rd year that I’ve been out of college and I wouldn’t be able to demand that type of money from a traditional employer without having at least 5-7+ years of experience.
I can now control my income more by choosing my own rates. I don’t have to work with a client who isn’t able to pay them. With blogging, it takes time to earn money but the sky can be the limit.
Instead of asking someone else for a raise, I can create a strategy to implement in order to double my income for this year if I wanted to. Money isn’t everything, but being able to increase my income allows me to meet more of my financial goals quicker like paying off debt, saving, and investing.
Related: 80+ Ways to Make Extra Money
Finally, flexibility is another key reason why I choose to start working for myself. I’m a very Type A person and I love to operate on a schedule. That being said, I like to set that schedule instead of someone else doing it for me.
Since I can choose which hours I work, I decide to work during the school day so I can pick my son up after school saving money on additional care.
I can also plan longer trips and vacations if I want since I don’t have to request days off and I don’t have to ask anyone if I can set a doctor’s or dentist appointment on a particular day.
If something comes up and I get busy, I can stay up late to work or get up early the following day. While the flexibility is nice, it does come with some setbacks. Sometimes, loved ones don’t understand how I work and think I’m free all the time.
I still work full-time and usually during business hours so I hardly ever sleep in or take a day off to binge on Netflix. But, I can if I wanted to or needed to. I’d just need to set a specific time to pick back up with work to stay on track.
To Sum It Up
Self-employment definitely felt like the right decision when I first quit my job and it still feels like the right decision. Each day is not perfect and sometimes, I even second guess myself and my choice but deep down at the end of the day, it feels like I’m where I’m supposed to be.
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