This is about self employment and the sacrifices made. I think a few of you out there will echo my thoughts and please do get in touch with your opinions and reactions, the more unfiltered – the better!
I had to cancel my gym membership back in June, which was a HUGE thing for me. I’ve relied on the gym as my sanctuary for over a decade, even when I was working abroad, joining the gym was the first thing on my to do list. It’s embedded in my daily routine, it’s where I go to switch off, it helps manage my anxiety and allows me to de clutter my brain and form some sort of focus. However, when I noticed that my direct debit to the gym was causing me to be in arrears I ignored it (head in the sand technique is well practiced), I told myself, ‘it’s been a quiet a month, you’ll be busier next month, let this slide,’ but it never got better, I had to cut that bill out.
I was concerned about the monster that I hid so well through exercise would rear its ugly head and cause me to be a moody (moodier), stressed, under eating ball of anxiety and therefore have a domino effect on to my business. But the thought of paying out £540 per year worried me more- that’s roughly 24 gingerNut market pitches paid for!
Luckily for me I live by the seaside in Bournemouth so I took this negative and flipped it. I made the conscious effort to exercise outside, cycling along the promenade, walking along the cliffs and swimming in that ‘fresh’ English sea.
You see, business takes priority. It’s tiring having to say no all the time- and as A 90’s kid, ‘Just say no’ was THE moto but I never knew it would shape my life quite so much?! I have turned down a once in a lifetime Ibiza holiday with great friends, missed festival, weddings, hen parties, dining out, trips to visit family & friends, all due to work commitments and pulling those purse strings in. I am not playing the sympathy card here, I am well aware that I have chosen this career path, all I’m saying is the freedom that comes with self-employment can also restrict your lifestyle.
I thank my friends and family for being understanding of my constant, “I’m sorry I can’t make it, I have the market early on Saturday or I’m sorry I can’t make it, I’m skint!”. When you work as a one-man (woman) band, upon any absence there’s no income coming in, no work being generated but all the outgoings still leaking out. So, I ask you, does a self-employed person ever really switch off?!
When I describe gingerNut to anyone I usually compare it to how I imagine having a baby. It’s tiring, you love it, you lose sleep over it, it makes you cry (a lot), it drains your money, it interferes with any social planning, but you can see a great future for it and get happiness from its development.
I am my own worst critique when it comes to my business and constantly second guess my intentions. Is self employment right for me? Should I have gone down the secure route of employment, making money for someone else? If you ask me that question today, I will give you a positive answer; with visions of becoming the female Richard Branson, but ask me next week; and I might be contemplating that job working for someone else with less responsibilities & holiday pay.
I aired my worries last year to a friend whom I look up to immensely, I explained that I was questioning if I had made the right choice with gingerNut, and that I worry that I am the cause for concern to my father, who has always pushed me to follow in his footsteps and work for a company. She simply said, ‘you’re safer paddling your own canoe.’ These words stuck with me and gave me that boost of confidence I needed. I AM safer paddling my own canoe. My canoe is made from amazing gluten and dairy free cakes.
A year on from this melodrama; the gingerNut wholesale, markets and online orders are growing strong. That canoe may feel like its paddling against the current sometimes but it’s getting to its destination.
If you are contemplating becoming self employed, then just question why, make sure you are sure of yourself and what your intentions are, because if you don’t know or believe in them, then why should anyone else.