Lessons I've Learnt From Being Self Employed

Monday, February 09, 2015

As you all know, I love a gif post. I am obsessed and to be honest, if I wasnt blogging full time, I'd probably be trying to get a job at Buzzfeed. Making gif posts all day, what a dream. So I'm going to try make Gif posts a weekly thing, if you don't like gifs, don't come here on a Monday is what I'm going to say. As Monday aka the worst day of the week for many, will be my Gif post day. Hopefully a little something to cheer you up and of course gives me the excuse to browse Giphy for gifs and chuckle to myself. Today, I'm talking about what I've learnt from working from home, the good, bad and lonely of working for yourself, all accompanied with gifs. I hope you like this post and if you work from home too, let me know if you can relate to these :) 

It's been just over four months (FOUR MONTHS COR BLIMEY) since I waved goodbye to full time work and hopped onto the self employed train. FYI there was no train, it was more like me just hopping from an office chair to my sofa. It doesnt feel like I've been working for myself for four months, and time clearly flies when you're having fun. Every day, I feel like such a lucky person to call blogging and YouTube my job. I never imagined when I set up my blog almost five years ago, that some time down the line this would be a job for me, and I feel so so grateful for the fact that this is a possibility for me. In the four months, that I have been working from home, I've learnt a lot about my new lifestyle and things aren't exactly as I thought they'd be. Like with most things in life, nothing ever happens as you imagine, and although I am incredibly lucky to be working for myself, there are other sides to it too. So here is what I have learnt so far.

First things first; being your own boss is awesome. 

I decide if I want a little lie in, or to have a break in the afternoon to watch Pretty Little Liars. However I do have to be disciplined on myself too, and set myself tasks and goals and sometimes put website blockers on Twitter so I actually get work done. You see my boss can be a bit of a bitch too when she wants. 

As amazing as working for yourself is, you will have bad days. 

You will have days, where your brain won't function, you can't for the life of you type out a blog post, or you film a video that's out of focus. We all have bad days, and just because you work from home, doesnt mean everything will be awesome. (lego movie refrence there, damn that songs in my head again) 

It is too tempting to watch Netflix and nap.

You have to be disciplined. I tend to set myself goals, if I complete my to do list, I'll allow myself to watch an episode of whatever I'm watching on Netflix. I tend to give myself Sunday as a treat day to binge watch YouTube and Netflix and get it all out of my system before the week starts again. 

You set your own routine.

I have struggled going from a 9-5 job to working for myself, as I thought that I'd carry on doing the same working hours. But working from home isn't like that and I soon realised that those hours didn't work for me. I have realised that I seem to work better later on in the day, but that's okay. Rather than forcing myself up at the crack of dawn for me to start work on my laptop and me stare vacantly at the screen, I allow myself to get up and go to the gym or walk Frankie and then start my day. The beauty of working for yourself is that you can set your own hours, and it doesn't have to be in the conventional 9-5. As long as I get done what I need to, it's not against the law to work different hours to everyone else. It's about finding what works best for you. 

It's good to take breaks.

In a job where you work in an office, or retail for example, you get a lunch break. A specific hour where you can take a break from your job and either go for a walk,shopping or browse Facebook if you like. When you work from home, I've found it harder to take breaks, as there is always something that needs doing, emails to be answered, YouTube descriptions to be added, or comments to reply to. I sometimes get strict on myself and make myself go on a walk or even just sitting watching Judge Rinder with some food. It's good to take your mind off things for a little while. 

You miss human interaction. 

I am a social person. I love talking as you'll probably know if you watch my YouTube videos. I have always been told off in school and in jobs for talking too much, I just love a natter. So it was quite a shock to go from having people to talk to about stupid stuff on the Daily Mail website, for me to suddenly turn and only see Frankie who never replies when I ask him what he thinks who was best dressed at awards show. One day he will answer though, and I'm sure I'll fall off my sofa. I always jump at the chance when one of my friends is free for dinner or for lunch, and it's good to get out and talk to people. I've found myself saying 'hello' too cheerily when I take Frank for a walk as I get to see a human face, and poor Henry when he comes home, usually has to listen to a twenty minute talk on whatever has happened in the day. 

It's okay to have a good moan. 

Something I felt guilty of when I first stayed working for myself was having a moan. In the past, it was okay to moan about my job, I felt it was justified if a colleague had pissed me off, or if I was really tired. But I felt cause I worked from home, I didn't have a right to moan. But in all honesty, it's okay to moan. Like I said above, working from home isn't a walk in the park, and I must admit when I was working in retail daydreaming about hitting rude customers at the till with a hanger, or dealing with a social media audit, I thought that working from home was the dream and I envied everyone who did so. It's not until your in that position that you realise what it's like. Although, I am a 100% happier than I have ever been in another job, there are days where I honestly can't be arsed to film a video or write a blog post. And that's okay. I'm sure that even Minnie Mouse and Richard Branson have bad days. People say to me, 'oh you live a life of luxury' but just cause I'm working from home doesn't mean it's all hunky dory. You do have bad days, and it's okay to have bad days. 

Inspiration hits at random times. 

I've found that I am creating a lot more content than I used to be, which means my brain is always full of ideas. (I just wrote Brian instead of brain and I don't know why but it made me laugh) I find that sometimes, I'll be thinking of a content calendar of blog posts (see working in a social media agency did have some effect on me) and I literally can't think of anything. However sometimes, I'll be having a good scrub in the shower and inspiration will hit, or I'll wake up in the middle of the night with a video idea. Sometimes you have to let creativity hit when it wants to and not force it. If I'm having a day where my brain isn't focusing, I'll move onto another task as I know my brain will kick into action at some point. 

Create a separate space to work in. 

If I had a pound for every time someone asked me  'how I manage to work from home' I'd be rich. nah just kidding, I'd probably have a tenner. But it is easy to think 'oh I'll work in my pjs today and sit on the sofa' these days aren't productive and for me, I have found having a separate space to work in makes a world of difference on my productivity levels. I revamped my blogging room, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out, I am much happier with my desk and I actually have a space that I want to work in. I shut myself away and it means I'm not thinking 'oh the washing up needs doing' instead I'm focusing on my work. 

But ultimately being self employed is pretty cool. 

You do have tough days. You do have to chase payments and you will have days where you find yourself talking to the toaster. But ultimately working for yourself is pretty cool. You make the rules and the good days over weigh the bad days. I'm doing something I love, something I never imagined I would be able to do. I feel extremely lucky cause I have worked in shitty jobs. I've had to help the pickiest of woman choose outfits, and chase away flashers who wanted to use my personal shopping changing rooms as a place to *ahem* get excited and always smile and pretend the customer is always right. I've had to deal with mind numbing briefs and deal with angry people on Twitter. So I appreciate my working situation so much now, I'm excited for what the next four months bring, and of course a big thank you to you for reading my blog and watching my videos as without you, I'd probably still be at the till wondering if I could get away with throwing hangers at customers. 

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