Most days I wake up and feel so utterly grateful that I get to do what I love every single day. I often lay there smiling like a total dork, reminding myself how fortunate I am.
I love that I get to tell people that I truly enjoy my job. The comment I get most, when I tell people is:
“Oh my god, you’re so lucky – I wish I could do what I wanted every day!”
And whilst there are so many perks to being self-employed, be it being in charge of your own business, taking a holiday (if you get the time) when it suits you, sleeping in in the morning because you’re more productive at night etc; there are some serious pitfalls.
Today I wanted to take a second to chat to those who may not understand the sacrifices people who are self-employed make, every day. Not to rant, or moan, but just to give a little more context to what it really means to be self-employed.
LACK OF FINANCIAL STABILITY
No ‘pay day’.
I don’t get paid on the same day every month. I send off my invoices and if I’m lucky they’ll be paid within the thirty day window they’re promised – more often than not that’s not the case. Some suppliers, work on a 60 – 90 day payment schedule; yeah, those ones suck. But it’s quite difficult to say no to a job you really want to work on simply because the payment terms suck ass. Back in 2016 I got stung when a company operating a 120 day payment run went bankrupt. I lost thousands. Never again.
No guaranteed work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are plenty that are earning enough money to not have to be overly concerned about the next job coming in; but there are a lot of us who aren’t and I’m quite sure even the big earners still have that little niggle of doubt. None of my work is on a retainer basis, nor do I have any contracts currently that roll-out over a prolonged period. Mostly, the work I get will be one offs and if a collaboration goes well and a strong relationship is built a brand may come back to work together again – but this isn’t ever guaranteed. The anxiety of not knowing when your next job will come in is very really. It’s like someone in a full-time role being told they might not get paid at the end of the month even though they worked every, single, day. Shakes you up a bit, no?
IT’S NOT A NUMBERS GAME
Except it is, actually.
I totally understand how boring it must be to hear people whittle about the fact that they’re losing followers or their posts/videos just aren’t being seen. There are bigger things to worry about, right?
But what so many often fail to realise is that growth equates stability.
Liken it to working in an office job, where every day you slave your ass off to create a budget or a marketing proposal – but at the end of the day, week, month, your boss doesn’t review it. They haven’t got time or they don’t really care. It’s not rewarding and it’s not motivational. And eventually, you could end up losing your job because no-one is seeing the graft you’re putting in.
When you work alone, you have no-one but your community to support you and so you rely heavily on their appreciation of what you create. To lose followers means to lose money and to not have your content seen at all? Well it feels like a massive waste of time.
Who else would work so hard for essentially, nothing?
And yes your question might be: Why do it then?
Well, because who doesn’t want to try, try and try again to live a life that makes them happy and fulfilled and proud?
It may be stressful (what job isn’t?) – but it’s worth carrying on for those moments of pure elation and satisfaction that you did it for you. For me, those little pockets of joy are enough to keep me trying, day after day. But I think it’s really important that the people who like what content creators produce, understand just how much we love what we do, and why celebrating creators that you love is just so, so important.
When you see #ad, scream the house down with joy and show it all of the love. It’s a celebration in two parts. One, because a brand has recognised someone you respect, which is amazing. Two, and most importantly, it’s contributing to their mortgage payment or their baby food for the month.
A full-time job of a life online isn’t as simple as sharing a selfie – it’s hours upon hours of dedication and self put in to an entire business.
It is without doubt one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I’m so proud I keep on taking that chance.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM MANE.
SHOP MY LOOK: