What is it like being in business for yourself? Some call it being “self-employed”. Some call it being an entrepreneur, or a sole proprietor, or a business owner with employees. Whatever you call it, your job description can be summed up in a few words “Responsible for, or do everything.”. Think of all the functions it takes to run a business, including operations, purchasing, accounting/finance, HR, maintenance, IT, customer service, market analysis/determining what products and services will be offered, and more. When you are self-employed, you do it all (or contract out to other service providers).
People often ask me what the most difficult part of being in business for myself is. It would be easy to say things like keeping up my technical knowledge/education; finding good health insurance; maintaining a steady income and cash flow; not being able to take paid time off, and more.
However, I have to say that my most difficult part is having a demanding boss. Not only are her expectations high, she is my worst critic. She believes making a mistake is human. She doesn’t believe incompetency is an excuse for “making mistakes”, so she demands that standards and expectations for job knowledge are always met; and she believes that customer service is a priority.
Excellence; is not an act, but a habit.
I have an office in my home. It is a “real” office with file cabinets, a business computer desk; printers, fax machine, telephones (and room for my trusty assistants). Here are my trusty assistants, sleeping on the job:
When people find out that I work out of my home, they also say “It must be fun to work in your PJ’s, and be able to sleep in, and work when you want to.” Remember those expectations that were referred to above? They also include being a professional (no PJ’s), and getting up and ready to begin work by 7:00 am. As for working when I want to? It’s simple - no work, no pay. SMS is my only source of income, so I work.
Working out of your home is different than working at home. Some days I can work “at” home; however, other days I am on the road, attending meetings, getting my education, servicing clients, conducting training, or doing simple things like banking or purchasing.
Being self-employed, I have no “regular” schedule, or “typical” day. My days are driven by my client’s needs. Each day is a new day, and I love it!
The other thing people ask me is how I manage it and keep the work coming in so I work steadily, and how can I avoid being overwhelmed with so much work that I can’t get it all done. I have a one-word answer, and that answer is “God”. I have no magic formula. I just keep on keepin’ on, do what I do, and God makes sure I have enough work, but not too much.
So when I say “Thank God for my clients, and thank God for referrals”, I mean it!
Thanks for reading my take on being self-employed. Would love to hear your comments.