Self-employment - or my life investment April 13 2016, 0 Comments

My son told me: The hardest thing, Mum, is not writing your first blog, but finishing the second one. And come to think about it, I kind of agree. In my first blog I got just about everything off my chest: How I came to sewing, how it's affected my life and family and even my thinking. And yes, it's all quite nice to reminisce about it. But here I am now, desperately thinking of a theme or topic for this second blog and I'm having what can only be discribed as writer's block. I simply can't think of anything to write.

In fact, not being able to think of anything to write, could just have something to do with “what they call”: the onset of middle age and/ or tiredness from working all hours in self employment and the constant worry of where and when the money for the next bill is coming from.

Quite frankly, anyone who's ever been self-employed will agree with me on this: Being self employed is not easy! I tell you for why, and if at the end you have any questions or you think you don't agree, I don't mind if you argue your point. Politely, you understand?

Years ago I worked for a few different companies. I had paid holidays, paid sick days, Christmas and New Year bonus. If I was clever I could start work at 7 until 5 everyday and have Friday afternoon off. Or I could work from 9 until 5 and do that every day of the week. At the end of the month there was my salary and as long as I did my job well, I didn't have to worry. I got paid.

Since my children have all grown up I started my own business and have gone self-employed. This was a decision that I didn't come by lightly; as my husband will tell you, he didn't like it at all that I suddenly had my own business. (Old school, you see and he is more advanced in years than me as well).

My first workroom was the dining room which was followed by a little room in our converted outhouse. This was followed by a room my husband built for me (it was a little cold and damp in the winter though). In 2010 I was given the option to have my own workshop/shop facility in a neighbouring town. It was a little bit of struggle at first with the rent but I was quite positive until I was told I would have to move down a storey in the building. Having just spent money and time on a new floor in there, I didn't really want to do the same thing again after such a short time. So I went searching nearer to home, as I had seen many advantages of not working from home. There was a place available on an industrial estate round the corner from me. I took it because it was even cheaper than the one I had in the craft cooperative. It was a nice little unit with 2 rooms, with enough table space to work on larger projects and also running sewing classes. My hard earned cash was mostly spent on buying fabrics and haberdashery so that I could offer my students some products in-house. More for their convenience than any profit.

The unit filled up and got a little bit crammed. So early in 2014 I decided to leap again to a larger place. This time I had had all the inventory custom made. It cleared me out financially. In the time I've been self-employed I've hardly taken any pay as everything has gone back into growing my business. I've basically worked for free many hours for weeks, months, years just to grow my investment. And that is what it is: Self-employment is a life-investment. You invest your life to be employed. There are no paid holidays, paid sick-time, paid anything unless you work! The result, however, is the sweet fragrance of success (if it comes) and a great increase on your self-esteem.

It's just the sweetest thing when a client tells you, that the dress you've made, is just how they imagined it; the alterations you've made to their suit brings out the best of their figure; the interlined pair of curtains you've just put up in their lounge makes their house a warm and welcoming home and when an intermediate student tells you that after 20 years of sewing they've  learned 3 more things in the first lesson you've taught them.

Don't get me wrong there will be some instances where you wished you could have a second go at a job you aren't so sure about, but those are far and few between.

I stress, that self-employment is not for the faint hearted though. Apart from all the problems with HMRC (there never is anyone you can talk to, it takes hours on the phone for someone to answer) yo

u've always got to drive that little engine and lots of times I was (still am at times) just about to give up or go back home in my little work room. But my dream was and is slightly larger than that: One day I would like to earn a living and  employ lots of people and help them make a living too. And one day, I believe, God willing, it will happen. Rant over!