If you read my blog regularly, you have heard me say that I seriously started thinking about self-employment and pursuing dreams a couple of years ago. It took me a while to take my first step which was starting my blog. I hoped that it might eventually replace my income but was wary. I watched other people succeed in blogging for a living but remained skeptical. There were so many bloggers already out there. Nonetheless, I started my blog anyway. To date, I have not monetized it. However, it has been a great stepping stone.
As months passed, I found myself enjoying working on my website, writing, and managing social media. After doing this for myself for several months, I spoke to my employer about possibly using my newly developed skill set to assist them in creating a stronger brand awareness. Lo and behold, this idea took off and I am now writing and helping to manage their social media accounts. Although my first thought was that my blog would make me money directly, it has actually opened up different doors for me. However, it all started with action.
Over the last couple of years, I also made a decision to pursue full-time self-employment using my ability to help students with learning differences become more effective learners. I have to say that the idea of leaving a safe and rewarding job to pursue this dream was scary. In fact, I still have moments of anxiety. I stop and remind myself that everything is ok and that I created a strong foundation before leaving this safety.
My Business Plan
Currently, I am writing content for my former employer and assisting in managing their social media, providing ACT Prep classes, and providing academic/life coaching to a few students. For me, this is living the dream and anything above and beyond will be icing on the cake. I am doing what I love and am able to create my own schedule and work on my own terms. I strongly recommend having a solid buffer (financial cushion). I did run into expenses that I did not anticipate. For example, I wanted my attorney to look over my contracts. I wanted to spend time with my accountant setting up my books and tax records.
Pros and Cons of Self-Employment
Both my husband and I can attest to the heart and soul that has gone into this start up. Working full time while launching a business is hard. However, the rewards have been tremendous. I have always loved my work. Now, I get to focus even more on the parts I loved. I have more direct contact hours with students and parents, I can make choices regarding whether a client is a good fit, and I can offer a reduced rate if I feel it is appropriate and my business can absorb it.
On the other hand, please be aware that running a business requires a lot of organization and attention to detail. Beyond the hours I am paid for by clients, I am running my business. I am working on marketing, paperwork, and things that are not billed directly to anyone. Also, you are taxed differently when you are self-employed. You need to be aware that you will likely be paying out a higher percentage of taxes. When you work for someone else in a traditional setup, they pick this part up for you. Lastly, you need to consider health insurance. I transferred to my husband’s plan and it was reasonable.
Moving to self-employment is a big step. Ultimately, I am glad that I did not let fear stand in my way of making this choice. It is not the right move for everyone, but it was for me. Pursuing dreams can be hard, it can be risky.