I’ll start this post with a disclaimer. I’m registered as self-employed. I run this blog as a source of income two days a week. But I also have a 9-5 job with regular monthly income four days a week, so my financial situation is slightly different, i.e. less dependent than if I had quit my job completely.
But it’s Monday and Monday motivation is high, so I thought what better time to share the lessons I have learned over the last three months since becoming self-employed and running my blog as a business.
Save Money Beforehand
The number one thing I’d do? Save a months wage beforehand. Even though I knew I wanted to go part-time at work a good couple of months before I actually took the plunge, and I knew what a drop in pay I was taking, I naively didn’t factor in how long it would take to get back on an even keel financially. I was able to work more on my side hustle, but some invoices weren’t paid for well over a month, sometimes more, and I’d be juggling money around to make things work until they were.
If I was to do it again, I’d make sure I had a pot of money to tide me over until I was one month in advance of payments. I’m there now but it’s taken three months of being less financially stable than I’ve been in a while and saying no to things I’d love to have said yes to. And trust me, once you’re working for the love of it and not because you feel the desperation of being skint sinking in, you’ll notice more and more paid jobs turning up. The less you need the money, and the more relaxed you feel about it, the more opportunities will find their way to you. It’s a funny old way the universe works sometimes.
Hire an Accountant
When I first registered as self-employed in 2015, I underestimated how difficult filling out my self-assessment tax return would be. I got a B in Maths GCSE’s y’all. It’s only in this financial year that I’ve kept a full record of every single incoming and outgoing expense, including creating a financial filing system. Get me! Small business banking and financial management were something that I’d never considered before – it was what grown-ups did right? – but this year was the year I decided to get serious about stuff, open a separate business bank account and hire a professional to sort the money side things out. I style pretty furniture. I do not crunch numbers.
The main reason I went part-time in my 9-5 was to get a better life balance. I could blog Wednesday’s and have all weekend to myself. Has that happened? No comment. In all seriousness, this blog of mine is growing at an amazing speed, and I’m trying to keep my head above water at the moment. This is super positive and I’m so pleased with the direction I’m going in, but I’ve also found that my time management skills have been put to serious test. So now I’ve devised a strict weekly plan to make sure not only is all my work is done, but so I also get some downtime as well.
The best piece of advice I was given was to work out my days in one-hour blocks. Once you know you’re only working on one thing for an hour, without distractions, you’re able to get so much more done. For one hour on a Monday morning I will schedule Twitter content for the week. For one hour on a Monday evening, I will schedule Pins for the week. For one hour on a Wednesday, I will brainstorm ideas for the week ahead and create draft posts, making a list of what I need to photograph, source etc. Everything is done in one hour, and that’s because I’m doing that task and that task only.
Don’t Wait for Things to Happen
I don’t wait for opportunities. I create them. As cheesy as that sounds, no-one can run a successful business by waiting for things to happen. It’s the same for blogging. So, I created a media kit, I booked myself in for business coaching, I continually watch webinars on various topics designed to help me grow Apartment Number 4 (my favourites are anything from Melyssa Griffin, Jenna Kutcher and Carrie Green) and I pitch to at least three new brands a week to see how we can work together. Sometimes they reply, sometimes they don’t. But I keep going. My goal is to inspire you guys with affordable interiors and relatable life advice and I’m not going to be able to do that if I’m sat waiting for my inbox to ping with a new message. I try to make things happen, instead of waiting for them to.
Are you self-employed? Have you ever thought about turning your side hustle into a full-time career? If you have already, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
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