What led me into Self Employment
I hadn’t wanted to go Self Employed.
At the time this wasn’t my dream. I was enjoying working in a team, learning from other people, dealing with complicated projects and getting promotions and pay rises. I was in a stable job that my Grandad approved of, building a high-ish flying career.
In my early years, my mother was a Freelance Drafts woman (producing large technical drawings, pre-computer designs). She was a great role model of an independent woman but my childhood eyes saw Self Employment take her away from me and home and work long hours, often into the night. I hated seeing her tired and stressed as a deadline approached and I joined the other members of our family regarding the huge drawings on our living room table as rather an inconvenience. (Not how I see it now!)
My Business Studies Degree involved producing a business plan for dance wear supplies but on graduating, I was more attracted to the buzz of a large company. I was an only child, already fiercely independent, surely working on my own would lead to social isolation?
In my field of Management Consultancy, I stereotyped Self Employed Management Consultants as middle aged men who had probably been made redundant and charged too much for doing too little.
But, in the space of a few months, everything changed.
I didn’t get a promotion and the small consultancy I was working for started going in a direction that didn’t feel right to me. Some colleagues who were ‘more like me’ went Self Employed and they didn’t fall flat on their faces, become recluses or have to rush back to employment.
I realised, even though my contract had some restrictions, the relationships I had nurtured and the skills I had developed were my assets. I did some sums and calculated I would be able to work less days for the same or more pay.
A new possibility was born, and it was exciting.
Just to be clear, my move to Self Employment wasn’t to earn more money. I was attracted by being able to implement my own ideas in my own way but, most of all, I wanted time freedom.
Through my work I had begun to explore different approaches to understanding human behaviour and I had a niggling feeling there was much more to life than I was aware of. I wanted to learn more.
After submitting my resignation, I gained freelance work 3 days a week with the local Business Link. I built up other client work in my remaining days and eventually went full time. I easily met all my mortgage payments and my fears of becoming isolated and demotivated proved to be unfounded.
At first time freedom felt strange. If I met a friend for coffee, made the most of a sunny day or went to the gym during working hours, I felt really naughty! Gradually that changed. When I traveled for a meeting, I built in extra time to explore new places. If there was something I was curious about, I could take a look.
My time freedom enabled me to live more. To make the most of opportunities and to explore - both the world and my internal landscape. I traveled and went on workshops, (more on that another time).
Whilst I had an idea of what my Self Employed working life would look like and I was drawn towards doing it my own way, in my own time, I did not know what I would do with that freedom. I could not have known at that point.
As I see it now, it was about creating space. Space in my life for the next chapter to begin.