The start of the New Year appears to get many people thinking about other new starts. Sometimes in relation to resolutions such as giving up chocolate, alcohol or cigarettes but sometimes it is something much more fundamental - how about a change in career?
With the start of 2015 there came two telephone calls from employed friends. Both had decided that they were fed up with their careers. They wanted a 'simpler' life. One not so focussed on just making money, forcing them to put their careers before family but one that gave them the flexibility they craved. They had both, separately, come up with the idea of becoming self-employed. Of doing "something else", "something I'll actually enjoy". As their friend who has been self-employed in some shape or form for over 25 years they had turned to me as their sounding board.
I quickly disabused them of any romantic ideas they had about self-employment.
Without comparing the many differences between the two types of occupation I did state my belief that it takes a certain kind of temperament to cope with the vagaries of self-employment.
There are no certainties of when or if work will come in which can lead to glut and famine when it comes to money and you need to be able to deal with this facet. You need to be able to budget well to smooth out the peaks and troughs and not despair when work dries up. It always pays to have a backup plan already in place just in case the particular path you have chosen does not work out as well as you hoped.
You need the skills of a business owner, accountant, marketer, promoter, supplier, quality control, creative director and producer all rolled into one. You need a steely determination to succeed and the grim self-motivation to keep moving forward. More often than not you will work unsociable and long hours when work is coming in as there is only yourself to drive things and if you don't the State will not be around to act as your safety net.
I admitted that there are some great pluses to being self-employed such as no-one telling you what to do, the flexibility to do as much or little as you want or can get away with, work in a variety of roles rather than just one and the ability to pursue your dream, even if it changes. I love being self-employed and the very idea of being an employee now sends shivers down my spine.
"Well a green-grocer doesn't face the problems you describe", was one reply so I made them sit down and imagine what a green-grocer might have to do, starting with the crack of dawn start, come dark, wet, snow, cold to get down to the supplier to get the best veg to sell at his store he will still have to set up on his return...... we continued and they got the picture.
Of course everyone should and does have the right to pursue their dream and want a change for the better if they are unhappy but my advice - research it thoroughly, know what you are getting into and realise that the grass is not always greener in that other field.
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Pam's book 'From Behind the Mask' tells the inspiring true story of Pam's experience before, during and since the Paddington train crash. Get your author signed hardback copy or download the eBook now from Pam's website: www.pamwarren.co.uk.Suggest a correction