Monday, February 2, 2015

The Scary Reality of Self-Employment

Today is the first day of my full-time self employment.

Although I had been building my business and working toward a goal of full-time freelancing, the final decision was actually someone else's. On Friday I was laid off from my manufacturing job, along with dozens of others. I'm now totally on my own.

It's a difficult transition. I've been employed full-time for my entire adult life. Before my manufacturing job, I worked in academic research, a job I had obtained as a student and continued after graduation. I've spent the past twelve years answering to bosses, counting vacation days and sick leave, taking home regular paychecks.

All of that is no more. From now on I will be answering to clients, working when I need money and taking nothing but unpaid time off. My pay will be sporadic, coming as I finish projects rather than every two weeks.

And that's when I have work to do and money to be made. The harsh reality of freelancing is that jobs are incredibly difficult to get. The few clients I've had were all obtained through friends and family. What I'm making now is nowhere near enough to support myself. I spent all morning today sending out inquiries to people I've worked with, people I'd like to work with, and people who know writers, editors, and publishers.

I may have to learn to cold-call businesses to gain their interest. Although I realize it may be necessary, I really loathe the idea. I hate talking on the phone under the best of circumstances, and interrupting someone to peddle yourself to them is far from the best of circumstances. While I recognize the potential value in it, I haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet.

For now, I'm just trying not to panic at the thought of not having enough income. I know it will improve. I know countless people have done this before me. I know I can do it too.

But damn, is this hard.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, it certainly is. That was precisely the situation I was in 5 years ago now (my how time flies). However, a wise freelancer told me back then, if you show up and do good work, it will work out eventually. And my own experience has been, when it does, it's SOOOO much better than working in an office could ever be.

    Of course, I'm writing this on an involuntarily workless day, but that's part of the process too.