• Sissel

My first month as self-employed: Some initial observations…

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

I’ve completed my first month as a self-employed sports marketing consultant. Started the New Year with no manager, no 9-5 expectations, no commute, no colleagues, time for the gym, time for my daughter, a variety of exciting clients. But also an ever so slightly looming feeling of being in way over my head...


A friend showed me this illustration of the day in the life of an entrepreneur:


It’s spot on. Constant highs and lows of feeling like I’ll either be the next big thing or run myself bankrupt in my first quarter of trading.


So one month in, here are my reflections on the benefits and disadvantages of working for yourself…


The Pros:

  • Flexibility: The whole “you’re your own boss”, “set your own schedule”, “more time for family” etc. All true. And it is great, no doubt about it. Every day is different. I am averaging 3 gym sessions every working week, I can do nursery drop off and pick up for my daughter pretty much every day and still have time to do all my work (it is genuinely incredibly how efficient you become when it’s just you and your laptop). So far, I am in love with this way of working.

  • Personal Development: I’m learning entirely new skills. More than just learning your way around a new company. I am working out how to do my own accounts, registering a business, building a website, doing business development, truly managing my own schedule. And these are life skills. Regardless of whether I am working for myself or someone else in 5 years’ time, I will forever have the experience of what setting up a business entails.

  • Exciting Projects: I am incredibly grateful for having some super-amazing work lined up for the first half of this year. An 8-month project with UEFA, several projects with The FA and handful of other exciting gigs. Couldn’t have asked for more. Started on a high, and hoping I can keep it up.

  • Focus: Finally, the one thing I am the most amazed at so far is being able to be solely focus on one project at a time. In my previous job constantly felt I was juggling too many balls, looking after my work, a team, doing updates to senior managements, filling in spreadsheets, onboarding new team members, taking on additional projects, preparing presentations, doing stakeholder management… and So. Many. Meetings. I currently have three clients with some clear, defined pieces of work. And this allows me to be focused and do a really good job at these pieces of work. The kind of focus I have longed after for years. This has been an unexpected massive positive of this new environment so far.

The Cons:

  • Security: Getting my head around the fact that a monthly salary is not a given will take time. Some months I’ll earn more, others I’ll earn less. I have a good number of projects until August. So at some point between now and then, I need to find some more work for the second half of the year. Big mindset shift from my previous decade working on the client side.

  • Business Development: Selling yourself to new prospective clients is also new territory. I don’t mind this at all, I really back myself and what I can offer. I’m currently setting aside 1-2 days a week for coffee chats and lunches with people in the industry; some potential clients, others that can offer advice and share experiences. Rather than this being a “negative” this is just a new way of working, and again something I think I’ll embrace with time. Some work will come off and other won’t. Onwards and upwards.

  • A little quiet at times: I can see how working for yourself can be lonely. I am making sure I have at least one meeting with a real human being every day. A good friend of mine has gone solo at the same time as me. Our work couldn’t be much further apart – Maree runs a successful Korean skincare business (beautyandseoul.co.uk) – but I am endlessly grateful to have a her as a partner in crime. Outside this I am busy with being on-site with clients and doing business development. But the thought of 8 hours home alone at my desk is probably not something I’d recommend to anyone about to start on their own…

So that’s that. Initial reflections of being self-employed. My first blog post!


Let me know what you think and if there’s anything you’d like me to share more about…


Sissel


Maree and I in the Lions' Den set at Wembley Stadium

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Trondheim, Norway | London, UK

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