It’s officially been one year since I left my cushy corporate job to work for myself full time. If you missed my original post last year when I shared all about my journey to full time self employment, open up this post in a new tab and read it before reading today’s post!
It honestly feels like a lifetime ago since I left my 9-5 to pursue my passion projects full time, but that’s most likely because I chose to leave my job during the busiest year of my life. Maybe not the wisest decision, but it all worked out (or at least it’s working itself out). Since I’ve got a full year under my belt, I wanted to share a few a few things I’ve learned after surviving one year self employed.
3 Lessons Learned After One Year of Self Employment
I’ve learned SO many things during the first year of working for myself. It was honestly hard to narrow it down to just three for this post, but I wanted to share three digestible things that I’ve learned in hopes that if you’re reading this post and aspiring to go full time with one (or two) of your side projects, you’re able to take away a few valuable tidbits from my experiences.
Timing Is Never Right, Take the Leap
I get asked a lot about how I knew it was the right time to leave my corporate job. The truth is I got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was juggling too many things at once, spending every moment outside of my 9-5 working on this blog and on my Contracts for Creatives business. I was exhausted. Time was the limiting factor. I felt like I was wasting my time sitting in my cubicle for 8 hours a day. I knew that if I could put that time towards Cobalt Chronicles and Contracts for Creatives, that I could grow both businesses to match my income from my day job.
I dreaded going into my office everyday. NOTE – IF YOU DREAD GOING TO WORK, DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE YOUR SITUATION! You shouldn’t dread going to a place every. single. day. where you spend 8+ hours a day. I knew that I needed to suck it up and wait until I could see that I could generate enough income to stay afloat without my steady paycheck. And not only that, but generate enough income to continue living comfortably in one of the most expensive cities in the US!
Like I mentioned above, my timing for leaving my 9-5 wasn’t perfect (or ideal, really), but I knew I just had to take the leap. I told myself that the worst thing that could happen is that I’d have to go back to the corporate world if it didn’t work out. In the midst of deciding to go full time, Michael and I got engaged, I was planning a wedding, traveling a ton for the blog, and had to coordinate a move across the country. All that to say, the timing is never “right” and sometimes you just have to take the leap!
The Ebb and Flow of Income is Stressful
There are definitely times when I miss my steady, reliable paycheck. I quickly learned that in the world of self-employment, especially in a service-based business like my Contracts for Creatives business, there’s an ebb and flow of income. Even for Cobalt Chronicles, some months are great and other months, not so much. This was magnified when my steady paycheck from my 9-5 went away.
For example, in the blogging world, November and December are always great months. Lots of brands are willing to shell out money at the end of the year and during the holidays for collaborations and campaigns. And people are shopping! Shopping = more affiliate income for most bloggers. But on the flip side, January and February can be brutal. No one is shopping and brands are recovering from the holidays and still working through the new year’s budget.
The ebb and flow of income is definitely stressful, but I always remind myself that even when the income slows a bit, I know that if I keep plugging away, it will inevitably pick back up again.
Don’t be fooled, while the corporate world can be super stressful, self-employment has plenty of stressors of its own.
Establishing a Routine is Important
I live for a good routine. I think it’s tempting to imagine a world where people who work for themselves essentially live in la la land and get to do whatever they want whenever they want since they’re not required to be in an office everyday for a set period of time.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing being able to set my own schedule and pretty great to be able to work from anywhere. But I also quickly learned that it’s important to stick to a routine during the week. I still wake up pretty early, just like I did when I worked at my corporate job, and I make it a point to spend most of my day at my desk working.
I’ve also learned that it’s important to establish boundaries. Since I have a flexible schedule, I definitely get flack when I turn down a midday lunch date or similar type outing. I think it’s important to establish the fact that even though you may be self employed, you still have to work. I look at it from the perspective of if I do take time off during the day, say for a midday workout, I’ll most likely be working an extra hour that evening to catch up. With all of that said, being able to set my own schedule and establish my own routine is definitely the absolute best thing about being self-employed!
Like I’ve said before, thank YOU! Whether you visit this site every day, once a week, once a month, or if this is your first time visiting. Whether you follow along on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. I appreciate every single one of you from the bottom of my heart! Not a single “like,” DM, Facebook share, Facebook “like,” retweet, email, or comment here on the blog goes unnoticed. It’s because of you and your support that I get to do what I love, and for that, I am forever grateful!
Cheers to many more years of self-employment ahead of me!
Photos by Lauren Anderson