Going self employed is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
There are so many positives to being self employed, especially if you don’t do well in the traditional work environment like me.
I love having control over everything I do; which clients I work with, what content I create and how I manage my day. I can even choose where I work. Some days I might want to work from home, while others I might want to catch the train into the city and work from one of the coffee shops there.
But while I’m loving being self employed, I won’t pretend that it’s all easy.
Finding clients has definitely been harder than I expected it would be. This month I’ve only made around £50, which is a mix of earnings from my shop, society6 sales and some copywriting I did for Bella on her media kit.
Even though I still live with my parents, that’s not even enough to cover the rent I pay them each month!
I knew jobs wouldn’t just magically pop into my inbox, but I don’t think I realised just how hard it would be to make money. Or how negatively not making much money would effect me.
As much as I hate to say it, this first month has had a bit of a negative effect on my mental health.
My depression thought this would be a brilliant time to put in a reappearance, right at a time when I needed to be getting as many pitches and emails out as possible.
Luckily I had my graduation last week and walking across that stage, thinking about everything I’d achieved and seeing the pride on my parents faces, gave me the kick up the arse I needed to get out of the black hole I’d been living in.
This first month has shown me that just because I’m self employed now, I can’t stop prioritising my mental health; in fact I need to look after it now more than ever!
Self Employed Tip #1: Find your tribe
I don’t only mean this in the traditional sense of meeting up with a group of people for a coffee or brunch.
I’m sure thats great for some people, but that would drain me of all my energy and I wouldn’t be able to get anything done for the rest of the day.
For me, my tribe is pretty much all online.
I’m part of quite a few groups and communities on Facebook, that are full of amazing people who will cheer you on and celebrate your wins. They can also be there for you when you’re having a bad mental health day and need a pep talk or someone to vent to.
Some of the best groups I’ve found over the last year have to be Freelance Hero’s, Exciting Emails, Blog & Beyond and Bloggers Tribe.
They’re all full of supportive and amazing people, who will help you with any question; no matter how stupid you think it is!
Self Employed Tip #2: Get out of the house
For me, regularly getting out of the house for an hour or two is one of the best things I can do for my mental health.
I struggle with writers block at least once a week, but one of the things I’ve found is that getting out of the house (or more appropriately – my bedroom) can really help my creativity, as well as my mood.
Sometimes its something as simple as going to the local shops to pick up some shopping or nipping round to my nan and grandads for a cuppa; they actually live next door to me which is very helpful.
But other times I just can’t seem to work from home full stop. On days like this I usually grab my iPad and head off out to a coffee shop or the library and work from there for a couple of hours.
I’m actually writing this post from Starbucks while drinking a Strawberry Black Tea and Lemonade – my latest obsession!
Tip #3: Be organised
One of the main things you need to do when you’re self employed is to be organised.
You don’t have someone to tell you what you need to be doing that day which means you need to keep track of everything yourself. This can be quite daunting in the beginning, especially if you’re used to an office environment.
I use a lot of different techniques and resources to keep track of any projects or ideas I have going on. I use Trello for project management, my daily planner to keep track of my to do lists, and Google Drive to keep all my assets in one convenient and portable place.
Being organised can help reduce stress levels and keep you from burning out.
If you know exactly what you need to do, and when you need to do it for, you can stagger tasks so that you don’t find yourself having to rush around finishing things the night before a deadline.
Tip #4: Self care
You might think this one is pretty obvious, but it’s so easy to slip into the mentality that you have to work all hours of the day.
Especially when you’re self employed!
So planning some dedicated self care time into every day is a great way to make sure you take a break.
Self care doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and the best thing is it can be tailored to what works best for you.
Tip #5: Remember your worth
I know that I’m really bad at charging what I should; I’m forever undervaluing my work because I think I’m not good enough to charge a higher amount.
But I then end up making myself really anxious, because I’ve done all that work and I still don’t have enough money to pay the bills.
Although that doesn’t stop me from undercharging on the next project.
Charging your worth not only helps reduce anxiety, but it can also help improve your self confidence and self worth.
How do you look after your mental health if you’re self employed?