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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Lessons from Self Employment


So I have effectively been self employed for a little over a year now. Owning your own company is a joy and a curse. It's a joy because you somewhat get to make your own hours, but that is also a curse. And I say somewhat because the work I do is very dependent upon what my clients need. So to an extent, my clients create my hours for me, but at the same time I still have to decide to do the job. If I don't do the job, then I don't get paid and thus the snowball effect of things begin. As I've been evaluating and assessing what I need to do to move forward with my company, I decided that writing down what I have learned so far would be a good idea and thus decided to turn it into a blog post.

#1: TIME MANAGEMENT

Seems like a no brainer, right? Time management is something you learn over an over again throughout you educational career. SURPRISE! It's something that you will always be learning how to do. Because it looks different for different things. My management of my time looked different when I was in high school verses when I was in college verses where I am in life now. And it's not like I'm having to re-learn how to do it, I'm just having to make adjustments to how I do it. Somethings that have helped me, especially since I have to keep a detailed log of my hours, are my Passion Planner and this app called "Time Meter". Passion Planner is something I wished I would have found for college - I think it would have helped me even more than my cheap-ish walmart planner. The way that the layout for the month and the weeks has helped me structure my days to help me be the most effective. Time Meter really just helps me keep track of where my time is going. I can split it up by client as well as project and it will break it down for me where I am spending most of my time. It's a free app, but they also have some extra features that you can get for a price.

#1a: MAKE TIME FOR YOU

This kinda goes with time management, hence the "1a". When you work for yourself, it can be hard to set aside time for yourself because you know that if you don't work, then you don't get paid. There is no salary bit in this. But if you never set aside time for yourself, you run the risk of becoming burnt out which could lead to your company not doing well. So make sure you prioritize "you time" and you don't push it to the side all of the time. Every now and then it's okay, but don't let it be a regular thing (here's looking at you, future me).

#2: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING

It sounds silly, but seriously - write down everything. You never know when you'll need to be able to prove that something was agreed upon or even the fact that you bought something. How it is written down isn't really important. What's important is that it gets written somewhere and you remember the somewhere it's written. This also can be extremely beneficial when it comes to completing your taxes. Every little bit helps!

#3: DON'T BE AFRAID TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY

Just because you only know to do something one way, doesn't mean that it couldn't be better another. Research different ways to do things and see what works for you. This is true of almost any aspect of running a company. If the time management things I mentioned help you, awesome! If they don't, that's fine too. Find something that will help you. I'm always assessing how I am keeping track of things and seeing if I can get my company to be as paperless as possible. This is also important if you're wanting to provide a different experience for your customers. Try something different and see if it works. If it doesn't, try something else.

Those are just a few things I've learned over the last year. I'm sure I'll learn plenty of other things as I continue down the path of self employment. It's definitely an adventure and I'm enjoying it!

Until next time...


Photo Credit: Joanna Thompson

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