As someone who has not too long ago transitioned from being employed to self-employed I have, in previous posts, extoled the benefits of my newly found freedom. Although I try and bring balance to these posts, I have to ‘fess up’ that I’ve spent less time looking at the downsides to self-employment. So, I thought I would in this post try and redress the balance.
Perhaps one of the most obvious negatives of being self-employed is the uncertainty of income. It is very reassuring to know that in exchange for the commitment to an employer, you have the certainty of a sum of money hitting your bank account each month, thus satisfying all those monthly outgoings. Cashflow management for the self-employed becomes more of a challenge. First, in terms of getting the income in the first place – winning clients and securing their trust in what you offer! And then once you’re over that initial hiatus of establishing your business, you face the London Bus scenario of a couple of projects landing at the same time, resulting in lumpy payments when they eventually come through.
But the prompt for me to discuss the downsides of self-employment was during a call I had earlier this week. We were discussing the strategic objectives of 2022 – what did I hope to achieve; what would success look like? It was a bit of a wake-up call, surely by just doing more of the same, the business will continue and hopefully thrive?
It made me think back on my previous jobs as an employee and the time we would set aside for similar reflections at year-end, particularly when setting business plans for the year ahead. Invariably there would be some form of off-site, although in more recent years the ‘off-site’ meant a different part of the building from usual. There would be the collection of presentations, a flip chart and occasionally an external speaker to discuss something completely unrelated to the business, with the intention of getting the lateral thinking cogs and gears whirring.
Being a team of one, there is no such gathering for an off-site. Indeed, the thought of interrupting the daily routine in building the business to ponder longer term goals seems a bit of an unjustified luxury. But the reality is that no matter how small or large your business, taking some time out to assess progress and consider future goals is essential. I have realised that it is all too easy to fall into a routine and assume success by a continuity of the same. So, at some point over the coming weeks I shall take myself to a different part of the house, put up a flip chart and map out the strategy for the coming year. There may even be an off-site dinner for the purposes of team-building!
On the basis that the off-site is probably going to take the place of when I would normally indulge myself by putting pen to paper to write this blog, I shall probably not be posting again this side of Christmas. So I shall take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year.