The Truth on Being Self-Employed

The entrepreneurial hustle. The grind. That is the best way I can describe being self-employed. I own a boutique-sized social media and website design agency located in Bloomington Indiana. My typical day doesn’t start at 8a and end at 5p. Working for myself means I work almost all the time but the perk is, I love what I do. I’ve always daydreamed about owning a business. I’m a constant daydreamer and as I got older my daydream kept growing. I finally launched into being self-employed 3 years ago and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t really scary at first.

I feel like entrepreneurship and being self-employed is glamourized nowadays. Everyone is an influencer, entrepreneur, or coach of some kind. We’re all seemingly self-employed and rolling in dough. Life is just so easy when you’re self-employed right? I figured I’d give you some truths about being a self-employed entrepreneur through the eyes of someone who does not want to glamorize it. I do my best to keep things as real as I can. Here are my top 5 entrepreneurial truths. 

Be prepared to win and to fail. If you’re jumping into the world of being a self-employed entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to win some and lose some. Or even to lose it all. It’s part of the risk you take when you’re trying to bring whatever business dream you have to life. You can’t beat yourself up either, you have to accept that you will lose and you will win. Each win and loss define you in a different way and are a learning lesson. Pick yourself up and keep going is what everyone wants to hear but you also need to know when to move on as well.

Be prepared to work all the time. When you’re self-employed, you’re sort of on-call. Sure, you can turn your phone off and ignore your email but if you’re anything like me, you won’t. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities and I like to keep my clients happy so I’m always on the lookout for an email. Of course, as your business grows you’ll hopefully streamline your processes and schedule but that urge to work all the time will still probably be there. Unless you’re lazy. No offense. I worked my fulltime job while growing my business, when the time came to go fulltime self-employed, I had worked hard for it. There isn’t a lazy bone in my body.

Learn to say no. You can’t be afraid to say no. Learn to say no to a project, client, or employee. Not every dollar earned will be worth the work that went into earning it. Some people and projects are not a good fit for you or your business. Learn early into your business when to just say no and move on. Accept when you should have said no and didn’t, learn and move on.

Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. You’re going to have to be tough. You can’t let criticism get you down or ruin your self-confidence. If you do, prepare to be miserable. People are going to give you all kinds of advice and criticism. Use what you can and throw the rest in the trash. At the end of the day, this is your dream and you have to know what you want and how to get there. There is a definite balance of using advice as you can and knowing when to turn the opinions of others off.

Be sure to thank those who support you. Most of the time I don’t see entrepreneurs being transparent on how they are making it all work. Maybe some are truly making tons of money, quit their jobs, and have no support system. As for me, I’m married to an entrepreneur and we support each other and our dreams as best as possible. We both worked and supported each other through the tough growth phases of our business. Our wins and losses have always been supported by the other one. Even when we struggled to support each other we still pulled it off. You need a support system to make being self-employed work.

Keeping it real, I hope you enjoyed and can use these truths.