Trust me, I've been there! You sit there thinking "wouldn't it be great to be my own boss, manage my own time and work on whatever projects I want" but there is a part of you holding yourself back. Doubt starts to creep in and you think "it's ok, i'll stick with security, thanks". But wait! Don't dismiss it right off the bat. If UK data is anything to go by, we currently have 4.6 million self-employed people (aka leapers) who are right now being their own bosses and by 2020 it is predicted that a third of our workforce will be self-employed, contractors or consultants. The workforce revolution is here and not just in the UK. So let me share some tips I have learnt along the way outside of the standard financial and client acquisition guidance you may have already heard.
1. Pressure - did you just put that on yourself?
Yes, my name is Lauren and I'm a self-pressure pusher! One of the down sides of being really passionate about what I do and super driven, is my pressure levels are that much higher and completely created by myself for myself. Since I took the leap I became completely oblivious to the pressure I was creating until my partner noticed my Trello action list and started to question why a very basic task had to be done that afternoon. I didn't have an answer for him and that was my first lesson learnt - goodbye pointless pressure!
2. Don't be blinded by the brain fog
You finally finish your last week in employment and you have all these ideas buzzing around your head. Suddenly it's "oh I could do this" and then "that could lead on to this" and "wait a minute, I could speak to that guy I met in October" and it goes on and on. That continues to the point where you constantly need to have your Notes app open otherwise the emersion of mass brain fog leads to laying down in a dark room until the clouds clear. Write everything down that comes in your head, even if that means having a notepad on your bedside table - your brain health and future productivity depends on it.
3. 'No' will be your new favourite word
I'm not saying you have to go all Destiny's Child on people singing 'No, No, No' but be prepared to say no more than yes when you first start out. It is common for someone to approach you and promise to pay you £££ for you to do something which you could easily do; but it is often against the reason why you became a leaper. I met with someone not long ago who told me he had said no to a contract with Google (a small tech company) and that got me to thinking: if he can do that and be successful then I should also stick to the vision I have for my business without wavering.
4. Freedom is an addictive drug
Immediately after you take the leap, you suddenly gain all this time - time you never knew you had before - because you were locked into a structured 40+ hour work week and a 16 hour weekly commute (just me?). With all this time comes freedom. The freedom for you to decide how you manage your day, freedom to work on a different time zone or simply take your mum out for lunch. The problem is that freedom is addictive. Sometimes the thrill of freedom can side track you from keeping on top of all your tasks. It's at this point when I draw on my old Amazon days of being addicted to staying online - and balance is restored. "Alexa! Play Freedom by George Michael..."
5. Rome wasn't built in a day
I'm not overly sure who exactly said that, but someone did say that once upon a time and they were accurate on a variety of levels. It may seem like there is so much you want to achieve but don't be scared if nothing happens overnight after taking the leap. Prepare yourself and be realistic about that. Going solo may seem like a slow burner at first, but enjoy it while it lasts because when things do pick up and you're busy working away, you'll inevitably miss the creative thinking time of the early days.
Fancy joining the self-employment revolution? I'll just leave this here...