So, one of my favourite writers posted a blog with some ‘interesting topics you could write about’. (Her name is Alex and you should go make her acquaintance.) One of those topics was “What are the parts that nobody sees?” And it really stuck with me.
In the world of Instagram highlight reels and perfect morning routines I wanted to show a little more ‘real-life’. I’m definitely not the only one feeling this way, I’m seeing some amazing humans doing some real-life sharing too and I dig it. So, today, I want to share with you some of the realities of owning your own micro-biz and what that actually looks like.
You’re alone – a lot
Yep, as I write this post, it’s just me and the cat. Actually, the cat is totally in another room. So, just me then. Because my man goes to work super early I wake up by myself and sometimes don’t see another human until mid-afternoon. It’s pretty lonely, especially for a (mostly) extrovert like me. Not every day is like this, often I have a yoga class to teach (but this is mainly at night) or I’ll attend a yoga class, have a face-to-face meeting, or talk on the phone. But, mostly, it’s just me and my computer day in day out.
Paid work isn’t what I do most of the time
I don’t get paid to write blog posts on my own blog. I don’t get paid to clear my inbox. I don’t get paid to run errands like go to the bank or buy stationery. Bottom line, you don’t directly get paid to do lots of stuff in your own business. So even if I were to work hours upon hours each week, this doesn’t directly correlate to making the dosh. Only some of it has that direct correlation and that’s fine, but I think a lot of people looking in don’t realise that that’s the reality.
When you’re a yoga teacher your personal practice can get lost
Before I became a yoga teacher I went to class at least three times a week, but usually more like five to six most weeks. When I think about that now, WHOA! At the moment, I try my best to get to one class at my favourite studio a week. Crazy. Most of my practice now occurs before or after classes I teach, or if I make the commitment to do a module of some of the online teacher training course I’m currently doing. My asana practice looks nothing like it did pre-teacher training. Once again, this is totally fine, but something I don’t think we show much on Instagram!
Sometimes a 9-5 looks like a better option
This is more like a fleeting thought than something I ever put serious consideration into, but it does, on occasion, occur to me that a ‘regular’ job would be easier. Easier to pay the bills, get a mortgage, have holidays (paid holidays!), call in sick… Maybe it would be better to have a boss who was the one who had to shoulder the responsibility and a team around me to share the work (and to share the doubts and fears). In the end, though, I could never go back to a day job, the pros don’t outweigh the cons for me.
Motivation can be hard to find
There are some tasks I love to do, some not so much, but even the things I love to do can feel like hard work. Not every day do I feel like writing a killer blog post for a client or teaching a sweaty yoga flow. Some days motivation just isn’t there for me (especially in Autumn/Winter of my cycle – see Claire Baker’s work on this, it’s phenomenal). Mostly, I can work around this – schedule big chunks of work on days when motivation and focus are peaking – but when you teach regular yoga classes you just have to do it don’t you? And, as a teacher you can’t show up and not give 100% for your students, the show must go on. And despite a lack of motivation, deadlines will still exist and commitments will arise, that’s the reality.
You’ll get the guilts
When you don’t have to GO to work (you work at home/at a shared space/in a coffee shop) and there aren’t set hours you’ve got a whole lot of freedom in your schedule. I know many self-employed people who will overwork, and I’m quite sure some will under work too (see ‘lack of motivation’ above!), but sometimes you just start to feel weird and guilty about not working when others are. I think I mostly get these (completely self-imposed) feelings when I’m not sitting at the computer in regular ‘office hours’ or at least while my man is at work. It makes absolutely no sense rationally as I don’t have set hours, and as long as I’m making the money I need to, I’m all good. Doesn’t stop me sometimes feeling lazy when I take the extra long lunch break (even if I know I’ll be out at 6pm teaching a yoga class).
I could so, so easily write a post about all the amazing things to do with being self-employed/running a micro-biz, but I think we already see so much of that online. The positives are well and truly out there, I just wanted to even the score a little with a few of the more harsh realities.
Are you self-employed? Did this post resonate with you? I’d love it if you shared with anyone else you think would be interested or commented below.