Since my business turned one years old I've done a few posts on being self employed in 2016 and what it's like running a small enterprise.
There are plenty of things university doesn't teach you about running a business and just how belittling people can be is a biggie.
A few weeks ago I spent a gorgeous evening in Caerphilly with the friends I made on my Foundation course in 2011 with takeaways and tv and generally catching up on life but one thing we touched on was how crap people can make you feel about being freelance.
Out of 4 of us 3 of us are technically self employed. I have been running my own business for a year, one of my friends just finished her current job to go self employed and the other is an animator who's job takes him around the UK on week by week work.
Honestly, I was crying with laughter at some of their stories and there was a lot of OMG YES because we have such similar experiences. It's 100% one of them times when you have to just laugh at the situation with people who know what you're going through otherwise you'll cry.
As well as my chat with my friends, it was touched upon briefly in a recent #cbloggers chat too that people have a real issue with those self employed in the creative industries. Not that they don't like what you're doing, more than people can't understand why you'd risk it.
Lets not beat around the bush here, being self employed is a risk. You risk your finances, your commitments, everything because suddenly the work isn't guaranteed, your next pay check isn't guaranteed and all your jobs are down to you. But people who go into self employment know that. It's everyone else that worries about the risk.
I know people are only looking out for you but sometimes it can make you feel tiny to say you're self employed and receive some of the reactions, some of the looks, the comments that you get. It can make you feel this big when you tell someone you're starting working for yourself and they send you applications for jobs 'just in case'.
To go self employed means giving it your all, means appreciating the risk and doing your all to make it work, because frankly you don't have a choice. We need to encourage people to create these businesses because they're diverse, they're creative and inspiring and they need to be commended because it's a lonely old business.
We don't need to be putting any obstacles in someone's way, we need to help them and inspire them and give them all the assistance they might need to make a success.
I am incredibly lucky that I have such supportive parents, who have allowed me to set up shop in their house and are the biggest advocates of what I do but not everybody is.
In the face of the job applications, the questions on how much work you have on, the sympathetic looks when you're on a quiet period, the questions, the shock at what you're doing and why on earth you're giving up such a stable job for something so reckless, you need friends who sympathise. The best bit about my chat with my friends was that we were all in it together, we understood and we laughed about it. And we laughed at lot. And then when one friend mentioned invoices and not knowing how to construct one, I was there to send over mine and help out.
And that got me thinking.
It got me thinking that university and Dr Google can help you out with some things, can get you so far but at the end of the day there's nothing like first hand experience.
I am by no means an expert and there is still I have a lot left to learn but I have been self employed for a year and I haven't made too much a hash of it. So if you are setting up self employed, in a creative industry, in university and looking at your options or generally need a little chat - I'm here.
Tweet me (@20sMeltdown), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below and if you have a question I can answer or something I can help out with I will endeavour to do so.
You so got this boo.