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If you’re self employed, what do you do?


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#1 MumLOA

Posted 22 January 2020 - 08:58 PM

Just curious really, I’ve recently started a new job but already know it’s not for me.
The dream would be to work for myself but without having worked in the one industry long enough to be highly skilled, I can’t think of anything I could do.

So if you’re self employed, what do you do?

#2 Literally Literary

Posted 22 January 2020 - 09:16 PM

Transformation and change consulting, lecturing, writing, Board membership, mentoring and coaching.

#3 tothebeach

Posted 22 January 2020 - 09:31 PM

It helps to be highly skilled.  I don’t work for myself now but I worked for 20 years in consulting etc before going out to consult independently.  

However, other self employed people I know with lower barriers to entry are cleaners, gardeners, window  cleaners and dog walkers.   Other skilled professionals include accountants, facilitators and hairdressers.

If you pick a service to do, make sure that there is a market and that you do a great job.   Make sure that you network to get ongoing work.  For some jobs this means word of mouth on social media.

#4 RabbitHash

Posted 22 January 2020 - 09:45 PM

I used to be self-employed doing consulting work in communications and media relations. I actually burnt out. I had too much work, putting in huge hours, clients calling me constantly. I never got a break. I remember not having one holiday where a crisis didn't unfold that I had to sort out.
I employed a whole bunch of people but clients ultimately relied on me.
Believe it or not, I hated it.
I love being an employee.

Edited by RabbitHash, 22 January 2020 - 09:45 PM.


#5 RichardParker

Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:51 PM

I run a business with DH. He’s the salesman, I’m the corporate. It is very very hard work. I’m hoping to shift things around soon so I can just work during school hours instead of constantly.  But I had wanted to be self-employed for a long time before it actually happened. It kind of evolved as we just took opportunities as they came rather than taking any big “leap”.  

Start today, use what you have, do what you can. Even just writing ideas down and mapping them out without committing any money can be really beneficial.

Edited by RichardParker, 22 January 2020 - 10:59 PM.


#6 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:54 PM

I used to be self employed - I did a variety of music stuff - taught singing,  conducted school choirs, ran early childhood music classes,  did singing gigs,  ran a music summer school. I enjoyed it for a decade or so. Eventually I got sick of the continual hustle for work, having to chase up non paying customers, no sick pay etc.
Like the pp I also like being an employee.

#7 Chchgirl

Posted 23 January 2020 - 01:18 AM

I used to run my own cleaning business.  I haven't done it for quite some time but it worked for me when I had young kids.

#8 Anonforthistime

Posted 23 January 2020 - 06:36 AM

Like a PP I much prefer the easier less
Stressful life of being an employee.

#9 Caribou

Posted 23 January 2020 - 07:02 AM

I’m a developmental book editor. 😁 I started this after having a significantly upsetting life event. I had a job which I still do, but it was just something to pay the bills. (Admin) This one, I realised life was too short to just sit around and wait for my turn. I realised I put my life on hold way too much for my family. I’m a much happier person for taking that leap of faith and doing it. However with this, I don’t depend on the editing income. My business isn’t fully established enough to rely on the income from it yet. So I’ll still be keeping my part-time admin work for the time being!

There’s definitely pros to being employed by a business than being self-employed. I’m complete introvert and I have to do plenty of networking for work.

Not everyone is suited for the self-employed life. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. But I can understand it’s easy to daydream about.

#10 ........

Posted 23 January 2020 - 08:21 AM

I was a technical consultant in my industry, I just hated it. The stress of not knowing if your contract would be renewed, how much you could charge, the need to network, and dealing with extra paperwork for tax. No sick pay, no paid leave is hard when you have little kids.

I know people who like it for the better pay but most go back to employee status when there is an opening. Usually they have 15-20 years big company experience, older, older/ no kids, mortgage paid and a partner with lower but stable income...

#11 Caitlin Happymeal

Posted 23 January 2020 - 08:31 AM

I used to be a self employed massage therapist.

It was a tough gig. I had a mix of contract work in allied health practices and fully self managed corporate and home visit work. I also had one perm part time agreement with a physio practice in the background, which I needed to keep as a backup.

I loved it, but the insurances, tax stuff, bookings etc were really tough. I did it for about 10 years and when my association made an error with my registration that effectively knocked me off hicaps and was not reversible without a huge amount of rigmarol, I decided it was time to finish. My body was complaining, and I had just applied and been accepted to uni.

I'm now a nurse and I love love love being employed and letting someone else deal with all the admin. I have no desire to go back to self employment. I can focus on delivering the skills that I am trained to do and enjoy doing.

Not saying don't do it, but you need to be prepared to do a lot of frustrating tasks that are important and can't be overlooked, and it ultimately comes back to you at the end of the day. And my business model was a relatively simple one.

If you have an area of interest, maybe start learning a skill with it being a hobby initially and see where it takes you :)

ETA: I should add, I only ever made enough money to put food on the table and keep a roof over our head... it was never a huge money maker. I'm better off now as an employee.

Edited by Caitlin Happymeal, 23 January 2020 - 08:33 AM.


#12 Silverstreak

Posted 23 January 2020 - 08:47 AM

DH is a woodworker for a particular industry. He is completely self taught when it comes to making his products, although his degree did help him grapple with certain concepts.

We did the NEIS program together to get him up and running and I recommend it. It helped us with business structure, web design, business figures and marketing strategies.

It has its pros and cons. The set up costs were expensive for us. He earns more than me per hour, but the work is more sporadic.

And of course, when the work is coming in, he doesn't want to turn it down. Sometimes when I get home from work in the evening, he has to get right back to work, so I'll take care of dinner, bath, bed routine etc.

Until we've been paid an invoice, I can't add that amount to our budget.

And one more thing, the business is always at the back of DH's mind. There's always something to do, but when I get home from work, I can put it to one side until I'm at work again.

But on the other hand, he gets to work from home, work when he wants (within reason), do something he loves, eat lunch when he wants, be his own boss (although I have a share in the business and always get a say) and be available for school pick ups whilst I'm at work, which is really convenient with a young school age child.

#13 hills mum bec

Posted 23 January 2020 - 09:19 AM

View Post**Tiger*Filly**, on 22 January 2020 - 10:54 PM, said:

I used to be self employed - I did a variety of music stuff - taught singing,  conducted school choirs, ran early childhood music classes,  did singing gigs,  ran a music summer school. I enjoyed it for a decade or so. Eventually I got sick of the continual hustle for work, having to chase up non paying customers, no sick pay etc.
Like the pp I also like being an employee.

This was me too.  I was a self employed bookkeeper but just got sick of irregular income, no holidays, no sick leave.  People were paying me to do a service but if I told them I needed to take time off then they were like "I still the need the work done so who are you going to get to fill in for you?".  When I had my third baby I organised somebody to take over my workload for a couple of months then a week before I was due they quit, I ended up going back to work when DD was a week old and DH had to take time off work to look after her.  When she started day care if she was sick I had to stay home and miss out on paid jobs but still had to pay the day care centre, same for public holidays.  I went 5 years without having more than a weeks break at a time.  I ended up getting a job as an employee with one of my clients.  It meant I was earning a similar amount full time than I was self employed working school hours but I got sick leave, I got paid to take holidays, I didn't have to chase people for money, I didn't have to hunt for new clients.  It was 100% less stress and I will never go back to being self employed again.

#14 just roses

Posted 23 January 2020 - 10:44 AM

I freelanced for a few years after having kids. I did research and communications. The pros are working your own hours. But deadlines still have to be met. I pretty much worked every night during this time. And if I shut down my laptop to watch TV, I felt a nagging sense of guilt.

I’ve also mixed part-time work with freelance and supply teaching. There was never a shortage of work and I made decent money.

Personally, though, as a parent of two kids (9 and 12) I have found the sweet spot in a full-time, permanent position. I love paid holidays and I love switching off at night and weekends (for the most part; my job means I still need to be aware of what’s happening in the world but I would be anyway so it doesn’t feel like a burden)

#15 lizzzard

Posted 23 January 2020 - 10:46 AM

I run my own small (but growing) consulting firm. I enjoy the challenge but there is so much more you need to be good at than just the specific area of expertise clients pay for - strategy, finance, brand, etc. There is also much more risk and volatility in being self employed. Of course if your venture is successful the upside is amazing in many ways (not just financial). I have surprised myself with how I’m coping but having a natural entrepreneur for a DH has been an immeasurable emotional  benefit. My advice would be to think carefully about the idea before investing too much. It’s not a path for everyone.

Edited by lizzzard, 23 January 2020 - 10:48 AM.


#16 blimkybill

Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:27 AM

I use my professional skills in the NDIS/disability sector.  I do a mix of contracting and working with my own clients.  It's working well for me,  I don't have to tout for business (have long term loyal clients ) and I like the control I have, plus having a home office and also not having to go along with rules/procedures/charging policies I don't feel comfortable with.
One reason it works for me is I was established and experienced in the sector as an employee previously.

#17 MumLOA

Posted 23 January 2020 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the responses.
I have studied bookkeeping but then went on to work in financial planning so have had no actual bookkeeping experience. I’m now working in collections.

I might think about getting more experience in the area and see where that takes me.

#18 my3cubs

Posted 23 January 2020 - 05:31 PM

If you worked in financial planning you could do paraplanning from home. I used to do this when my kids were little. I have since re skilled in education & have  been working in schools in literacy/numeracy support & now have my own tutoring company. I used to do it on the side for friends kids but it has now grown enough for me to do it full time.

#19 Chocolate Addict

Posted 23 January 2020 - 06:36 PM

I have my own business. I make weighted blankets and other weighted products used by special needs people (mostly kids), people with ADHD, restless leg syndrome and dementia.

It started off as a 'let's see where this goes' thing, I wasn't working so had nothing to lose.

It is now keeping me so busy, my kid often helps me. I stock two shops, and one business that does a lot of markets and expo's.

It works well for me as I can take my elderly mother to her appointments, do the school run etc.. I am often working at night in front of the tv but still manage a good work/life balance.

It helped that I had an industrial sewing machine already and have a long history in the sewing industry. :)

#20 timtam92

Posted 24 January 2020 - 05:43 AM

Listen to the lady start ups pod cast. It’s interviews with women who all started their own business. They talk about how the went about it and have some great advice.




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