All the 9-5 people look at the self employed people with eyes full of awe and envy, cursing their fate and hating on their work and bosses. As they say “The Grass Is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence”…on that note let me paint you a real picture of this Dream sequence!
I first got a taste of an Entrepreneur Lifestyle in 2016 after I was offered a full-time position in a reputed brand I had interned for around 7 – 8 months. I let that offer go as I got a good 8 month roasting from the company and knew I deserved better. I teamed up with a fellow intern who was more experienced than me both in age and work. He got into a full-time job himself while I was working from home on our startup. He worked at nights and on weekends. This lasted for around 3 – 4 months.
After this I had to get back into the corporate world for roughly around a year and a half until I teamed up with an amazing Partner in Growth and started working on my Personal Brand : ‘Sonali The Endless River’
Now I could have easily written an article on the ideas of starting a small scale business or a setting oneself up as a freelance professional. But, before you gear up all excited to earn that glittery gold lifestyle…you should know what you’re signing up for!
WHAT THEY (ONLY) SEE
1. Freedom :
The best thing about being self employed is the Freedom. This has been my number one priority ALWAYS. I’ve been raised in a very different way in the most orthodox environment, but my parents and primarily the mom taught me the true meaning of this word. She has never questioned my abilities yet also pointed out my faults for me to work on. You don’t get such guidance out in the work field.
2. Flexibility :
Since I have no fixed work schedules, I can easily navigate and balance time between work and family. I’m able to have brunch and dinner with them and also stay with them during all important family events without spoiling any part of my work. Maintaining friendships have also become easier.
3. Flamboyancy :
Because I’m getting to do what I love and doing it just the way I want it, my mood is generally happy. This attracts good people and good experiences. I’m also more in charge of my Health and Fitness which makes this journey look smooth as silk.
WHAT THEY MISS
1. Lack of Financial Stability :
When you start off on your own, your biggest asset is your savings and people like your family and friends who can give you a hand in case of worst case scenarios. There’s nothing called a steady income. And there is no one called a permanent client. One of your highest paying clients can default the next month and you’ll be at the mercy of the others.
When you see all those fancy cars, houses and cash on the internet, very few point out how scary it is to gamble every day, especially if you have fixed overhead expenses to bear. This ain’t the game for a faint heart I can tell ya!
2. Execute from Pin to Plane :
From client calls, to appointing, scheduling and holding meetings, getting the actual job done, taking care of all financial documents, collecting payments, making note of the to-dos, closing deals, following up, strategizing, memorizing and other thing in between – all has to be taken care by you.
In the beginning, it is natural that one cannot afford a team. So you alone have to take care of everything. You alone have to be both the Peon and the CEO of your Business.
3. Take Responsibility :
If you have a partner or some partners working along with you, you all should have certain roles to play. You are solely responsible to get your part of the job done. There are no seniors to approve it and no juniors who you have to keep knocking. So, things become pretty transparent here. There are no blame games. If you mess up, everybody knows it.
4. Be Self Motivated :
In an organization where you work alongside many employees, many a times you may not always feel like working. We all know those crucial moments we spend staring at the clock to strike 6, so we can pack our bags and run. Sleeping and sulking at the work desk, I’ve seen so many people struggling to keep their eyes open. Here the deal is quite different. You are working to feed your own belly and even if you don’t feel like working you’re gonna have to sulk it up and work anyways.
5. You’re Still answerable :
You may not have a boss but you have clients. You may not have a team leader but you have Investors. You’re answerable to them and guess what every CEO or Business owner in the world is always answerable to the people they serve. Check your Ego at the Door please!
6. Time Management matters :
Running your own gig (as we have already discussed) comes with you playing many roles. With so many things to be taken care of at the same time, it gets so overwhelming that one can easily lose their cool. I struggled with this quite a lot and now finally I feel like I’m getting things into a proper process. Patience is key!
7. Handling People :
Once you start growing you’re gonna need some helping hands. Some may even start their first venture in a partnership format. Choosing a partner is a very crucial decision and many fail to stress on it (let’s keep that discussion for another day). Other people’s way of working could be way different than yours and dealing with that is another ball game all together.
Quick Tip : Losing your cool is NOT an option.
8. 6 am to 1 am :
Please forget the mere idea of ever having a fixed work schedule. Get used to the practicality of having to respond to late night calls, draft emails first thing in the morning, video conferences will become your best friend on the go and most nights you’ll fall asleep just as you hit the bed.
Here’s a video I made taking you through one such day of mine!
9. No Weekends :
Say goodbye to TV series, Game nights, Weekend getaways and much more. Living the 1% lifestyle demands a lot of sacrifices that no one talks about. I’m stunned how they only showcase those luxurious vacations. Do not let them fool you. If you need to attend that friend’s wedding for a couple of days, you have to work overnight and get things covered beforehand. You can’t have it all. Sorry!
10. No impulsive Expenses :
Yes you read that right. This means no spending on big-budget items, unnecessary clothes, so called investing in the new iPhone or other things which do not add to your productivity. Each penny counts, remember “a penny saved is a penny earned”
The Journey so far has cleared the fog in front of my eyes but I know I have a long long way to go and lots to learn. Gladly the best thing which happened to me was that I understood that I wasn’t delusional. I always hated working for a company and always knew I’d end up working for myself. This makes me super proud to say that feeling wasn’t just a feeling.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but neither are so many other things. Social media makes everything look like a trend and we all at sometime or the other fall prey to #FOMO. Keep looking for your heart’s desire and don’t settle at anything unless it makes you 100% happy. You can’t live a fulfilled life if you hate what you do 80% of your time, trust me the other 20% will suffer leaps and bounds.
Other than this, if you’re looking for ideas to start off on your own. Here are a few important articles I found on the web :
I will write on this Topic more in the coming days and am soon to make a video series too. If you have any questions related to it, don’t hesitate to write to me.
” I Appreciate your Time “
– Sonali, The Endless River