Self-Employment, how do you see it?
People have many reasons for becoming Self Employed and it’s not always fuelled by a passion to turn a hobby into a money-making venture.
For some it is sheer inspiration, an epiphany, or even a ‘that’s a great idea’ moment. For others it is born out of desperation to earn a living after a life changing event that prevents them continuing with their regular job.
To some extent that’s how it was for me. Although I was in employment, on maternity leave at the time but, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to return to work after the statutory maternity leave.
My daughter was born with severe special needs and as such my days would be filled with hospital appointments and physio sessions. It came as a huge shock to both myself and my husband at the time, even though I didn’t have the best paid job in the world, I did contribute to the household income in some significant way. Mortgage rates were pretty high 10.5% if I remember correctly and the thought of renting property back then was not really an option we wanted to consider.
I had qualifications in the catering and baking industry and started making birthday cakes for friends and family. It was a slow burner but it helped to pay the bills. It wasn’t until my daughter was in slightly better health and of school age that thing took off a little more. Although there were days when she was poorly and couldn’t attend school, I was able to make up the time in an evening. I also had a son who was fit and healthy and I was able to carry on the business during pregnancy and beyond. The business went from strength to strength and I eventually got the opportunity to open a shop. Turnover increased 3-fold that first year and the buzz I got from that made it all worthwhile.
Now I’m not saying that being your own boss doesn’t come at a cost, check out the pros and cons here. There are the early morning deliveries, the cantankerous customers, the strain on family life, the bills to pay and the books to balance, there are also the constant stream of emails to answer and the vain attempt on my part to keep up with the latest social media posts! But what I am saying is that there is a very rewarding sense of achievement and satisfaction when you do balance those books, when customers are delighted with your product or service and when you look at what you have accomplished at the end of the day and say ‘yes, I did that!’
So, what started as a life changer for me definitely turned out to be a chapter in my life that I wouldn’t change!