Wow, that went quickly! Everyone keeps asking me how it’s going so I thought I would share what I’ve learned in my first fortnight of self-employment.
1. The ATO doesn’t know what blogging means, which Is probably why it took almost a month and two calls from my accountant (she’s awesome) to finally get my ABN.
2. Self-employment doesn’t mean daytime TV and sleep-ins. In fact I haven’t had a sleep-in since I left the day job, despite promising myself an entire week off. Ah well, a busy self-employed person is a happy one, surely?!
3. When one door closes, others open. In my case, this seemed to happen straight away. Like, as soon as I left the building! I’m offering my writing, editing and social media services on the side (a girl cannot live on blog alone. Well, not right away anyway, and not when you have a wedding to pay for and a shopping habit) and I’ve been so busy with enquiries I’m going to have to work out how much time to dedicate to what and how to keep on top of it all.
4. I need to get organised and FAST. I need to remember to invoice people and keep receipts and get back to multiple people about multiple things, all of which are my problem and my problem alone. I no longer have anyone to delegate to.
5. My to-do list keeps getting longer, no matter how many things I cross off it.
6. I have to value my time, work out what to charge for it and what to say no to.
7. A lot of other self-employed people make out it is this terrible, stressful chore to work for yourself with no redeeming features. I have to say, and I know I’m new to this, I think that’s rubbish. I wish self-employed people didn’t feel they had to prove how hard they work. In general, people don’t really care, so just get on with what you do and stop trying to prove yourself to people who aren’t even paying attention. Working for yourself is hard, of course, but you are your own boss and the efforts you put in ultimately benefit you, the money you make is yours (and the tax man’s) and, hopefully, you’ve chosen to do something you LOVE. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you go back to being an employee?
8. A lot of people hate bloggers. Hate’s a horrible big word but there is definitely a strong sentiment out there that we have no right to be paid for what we do. As a former journalist I find this bizarre. Other online publications (let’s call them websites, not blogs) have been profitable for years. They are not run as charities just because you can read them for free. Do you think advertisers on these websites don’t get ‘added value’ editorial/advertorial opportunities when they cough up ad dollars? And of course they do cough up ad dollars. The same goes in print magazines too. Trust me, as a journalist of 13 years, I know! I can’t help but think a lot of the nasty anti-blog sentiment has to do with a level of envy of people who get to do, and write about, what they love. It is great but there’s a lot of hard work too (for me, up until now, on top of a full-time job). Oh no! I’m falling into the trap of feeling I need to justify how hard I work (see point 7 above)!
9. People don’t understand (and why should they?) how you can make money from blogging and it’s something I get asked a lot. Those who know me couldn’t be more excited for my new journey. Those who don’t, and who aren’t familiar with how it works, try to disguise a look of horror. I’m going to be a blogger?! Not a sensible safe job (oh the irony) like a print magazine editor (from which I was recently retrenched). Rest assured people, if I didn’t think it was possible, I wouldn’t be doing it. I have a wedding to pay for! I will make this work!
10. Excuse (and indulge) me if I sound naive and in the honeymoon period (but really, when does the sleeping in and daytime TV watching start?) but right now, however busy and confused and worried about unpredictable income I am, deep down, I know if I can make this work I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.