What’s it actually like once you’ve battled those initial doubts and taken the leap into working for yourself? What do successfully self-employed people wish they’d known from the start?
Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to Rosemarie Gant who helps small business owners and sole traders to use the web to grow their business. Her blog provides practical tips and is a mine of useful information, in Rosemarie’s uniquely calm and reassuring style. Here’s her story of taking the leap into self-employment:
For me, there was never a lightbulb moment when I realised I could go self-employed. I’ve never had a plan. What has worked is always seeing the opportunity and giving it a go. So I never decided to become self-employed. It decided me I suppose.
Right from the start of my working life I have always seen and picked up opportunities as I go along. I always try to put myself in the position of the person I am trying to help. Whether writing an information leaflet for medical students coming to study in Cambridge when I worked at the medical school or developing a training course for something specific I see people struggling with on the internet, I try to provide a solution to a problem.
The parts of my working day I look forward to most are those quiet moments of creating. Of being “in the zone” and at one with whatever I am doing at the time. When I can shut out distractions and get absorbed in putting odd little characters into this machine and making beautiful pictures appear (or “writing website pages” as it might more boringly be described) then I find that ultimately pleasing.
The other great moment is when I’m teaching someone to do something on their website or with something on the web and suddenly their face lights up and they say “oh, I get it!”. And they are off exploring their own creative stream with the help, rather than the hindrance, of technology. Nothing pleases me more to see a website that I have set up being used by its owner to really help them with their business.
I’ve always been the same, and family and friends are very used to me saying “I have an idea…”. Frequently, particularly from the family, this is met by groans – ‘oh, what now?’ but it usually works out quite well in the end!
My biggest challenges are very common: distraction, lack of focus, time management and planning, and the dreaded pricing. I wouldn’t say I’ve overcome them, but I like to think I have got better over the years. What I have learnt is that (pauses to check phone – you see I’m even doing it now) .. what I have learnt is that there isn’t ONE system that will solve it all for life.
Life changes, things come and go and we have to float with that to a certain extent and accept that what may be a brilliant system, and very useful, this month, may need changing a bit next month. Change is the norm and while I’ve never found that easy to accept, I do on the whole feel I spend more of my time floating rather than sinking.
Technology can be extremely frustrating at times and after a bad day of code not working, websites crashing, broadband not linking up, I quite often want to go and do something else. It’s the closest I come to throwing in the towel. What stops me? My clients. The little cry for help that says “WHY can’t I do this?” or the smile that says “Thank you, now I know what to do”.
If I could go back in time and offer my past self some words of advice, I’d say “Finish things girl!” (in the tone of my grandmother!) So many good ideas have been lost in the rabbit holes. I’m not a completer/finisher and need to work harder at that. But I would also say, don’t worry so much, be kinder to yourself, it’s all going to be OK.
I have to invest in equipment and software for the business, of course, and that just depends on when the upgrades come and how long I have had a specific computer. But I also invest in myself so I have taken various coaching courses over the years and specific courses such as Corrina’s blogging course. How do I decide when to take them? I keep an eye on what’s available most of the time but I am a great believer in things presenting themselves as you need them so I tend to follow that while keeping an eye on the budget.
For me, the “missing piece of the puzzle” is to never lose sight of why you’re here – what drove you to self-employment in the first place and who out there is desperate to find you to help them. And watch out for opportunities in unexpected areas. Life presents opportunities all the time and that is JUST as likely to come in the supermarket queue as it is when you are sitting at your desk or when you are “at work”.
As told to our community angel, Madeleine Forbes.
Over To You
Do your friends and family roll their eyes when you tell them you’ve had another brilliant idea – and do you love proving people wrong when you turn them into reality? Have you struggled with distraction and found that projects which once really inspired you… end up unfinished?
Share your tips and tricks for overcoming the dreaded distractions – or for making peace with the fact that they exist – in the comments below.
Is pricing a challenge for you?
Then join me for a free training webinar. Discover how to set and quote prices with confidence and in a way that feels good and fair to you – and others. This 60-minute training takes place on Thursday 24th April. Click here to reserve your free place.
And… Blog for Clients opens its doors tomorrow! This six-week online training course will guide you through the what, how, when and why of marketing your business through a blog, so you can connect more powerfully, communicate more effectively, and help more paying clients. There are benefits to enrolling early, so click here to get front of the queue. (As Rosemarie is a Blog for Clients grad, you’ll meet her in our members-only Facebook community.)
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2014
“Don’t worry, be kind, it’s all going to be OK” – @RosemarieGant shares her motto for self-employment via @CorrinaGB