Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: The Introspective Blogpost on Self Employment

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Introspective Blogpost on Self Employment

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I am having one of those days, one of those days where I just cannot seem to get anything accomplished. I can see the arms on the clock spinning before my very eyes and I stare defiantly at them and dare them to challenge me. Motivation is not fleeting, it simply never arrived today.

Days like this, I worry about my choices. Working for myself, it is so incredibly easy to get deflated. I question my decisions, I question my sanity. I wonder if I am wasting my time. I even question if what I am doing is even real?

Even as I write this post, my brain is much do I divulge? What do I want to say to people? What is my point? I guess I will start from the basics. The thought process that tinkers around in one's head when they opt for self-employment.

You worry about getting started, the fundamentals of setting everything up - business licenses, insurance, taxes, more insurance, more taxes. You worry about cash flow. And then when you feel like you finally have a grasp on all that (and trust me, it takes a while), then you have to worry about marketing yourself. You have to tell people that you're doing this "thing" that you're doing and you have to tell them confidently.

So you start to work on your marketing materials. You look at the competition, wait, first you must determine the competition. Then you spend hours looking at the backgrounds of numerous businesses and individuals. If you're like me, you ponder... are they smarter than you? Are they better than you? If the answer is "Yes," then you beat yourself up over that. If the answer is "No," again, you beat yourself up again. "Well, if SHE can do it, why can't I?"

Now you start to put together your marketing materials but you cannot afford to hire anyone so you do it yourself. Next, you find yourself an excelling in an area that you never knew anything about two months earlier. You find that you like doing this new thing that you've recently excelled in, so perhaps you incorporate that into your capabilities. Before you know it, your whole business model has shifted.

Now're not sure where you started, you're not sure where you're going, but for somehow, you've convinced some clients to come along for the ride. You secretly think they're crazy for trusting you because you barely trust yourself. You are so dedicated to this "thing," and so afraid of failure, you end up working 10X harder for your clients than what they expected. And give them back 10X more than what they're paying you.

This turns out to be a good thing. You find new confidence in yourself and you are now able to raise your rate. You're still shaky about this but people seem to be responding. You're now making just barely 1/4 of what you'd be making if you were employed by a corporation. Your mother thinks you should just get married. Though you can barely survive off what you're making, it is the happiest you've been in a long time. You feel fulfilled, you feel accomplished, so for a minute, you forget about the minutia.

Don't get too comfortable now. On top of the work you must produce for clients, you have to be your own business manager, you have to be your own promoter, you have always be smiling and you have to always be selling. You cannot swear on Twitter. Don't rock the boat, don't say anything negative or anything that could potentially be misconstrued as negative. You have to network. You have to work out. You have to visit the dentist. You have to pet the cat. All the while... you have to watch the competition.

Just when things are going well, you get that phone call that the client has decided to pull the program. Another client refuses to return your calls and a third client is asking something of you that you know is impossible to deliver. It all seems to be falling apart. You're too scared to be scared. You're not sure what to make of it and then you remember. This day is a day they call Tuesday. You remember that Tuesday only lasts one day and that tomorrow is that day called Wednesday. Wednesday is that day when you'll pick up the pieces and start the madness all over again.


Unknown said...

Have you been reading my mind for the past twenty years? Unbelievably honest and well said. You had the guts to say what a lot of independent business owners won't admit. You know I'm a fan of your writing. Thanks for made me laugh and brought tears of acknowledgement at the same time. We'll talk over drinks sometime.

Jen @ SecondCitySoiree said...

Great post...I think you've caught the thought process of just about all of us!

Stacy G said... right on the money. This is exactly why I will never start my own business though I would love to never commute again. I begin to think of the logistics of getting set up and my inability to stay focused and I know I just can't do it. It takes a lot of courage and determination to even TRY it. :)

leyla said...

Thanks guys! I really appreciate your comments. I literally wrote this post in 15 pardon the grammar.

I was mental yesterday. Less mental today :)

aBigHairySpider said...

Terrific post, Leyla. Been there... Everyone I know who's done their own thing has been there. For some reason, making $1 from a happy customer just feels better than making $100 from a happy boss. Ok, making the $100 doesn't suck, but you know what I mean.

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