16 things you only find out when you become self-employed

16 Things You Only Find Out When You’re Self-Employed

Going self-employed was hands-down the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. (Well, that and buying those shoes I wear every damn day…)

It was also something of an education. Here are some things I didn’t find out until I become self-employed…

16 things you only find out when you become self-employed01.
You can never go on holiday again. Sorry.

Well, you CAN, but you probably won’t want to, once you realise that no one’s going to do your work for you while you’re gone, so you have to either do it all in advance, or take it with you. And that relaxing holiday isn’t QUITE as relaxing as you thought it would be when people are constantly emailing you with the words, “I know you’re on holiday, but…”

Shopping will be a whole lot easier, though. As will going to ANY public place during the day.

Not that I would KNOW, obviously, but I’ve HEARD the shops are are a whole lot quieter when everyone else is at work.

Not the gym, though. The gym is ALWAYS busy.

If you think you’re getting the jacuzzi to yourself, you can think again. Who ARE all these people? Why aren’t they at work? Are they ALL self-employed?

No one will ever believe you actually work

Possibly because of what I just said about daytime shopping. Would it help if I pointed out that shopping actually IS “work” for me*? No? Didn’t think so…

(*It isn’t, by the way.)

Your time isn’t your own any more

Instead, it belongs to everyone who ever needed a lift to the airport, or some kind of favour in the middle of the day. Well, it’s not like you have anything better to do, is it?

And your personal finances are now everyone’s business

I mentioned this last week, but as soon as you become self-employed, that whole “never ask someone how much they earn” rule goes right out of the window. I get that people are curious (especially when you do something like blogging, which, let’s face it, is a pretty weird way to make money), but, you know, when you show me YOUR bank statement, maybe I’ll show you mine: deal? (NO.)

TV is much less distracting than you think it’s going to be

I mean, have you SEEN daytime TV lately? It’s all re-runs of quiz shows from 1983, and adverts for funeral plans and stair lifts. If that’s your jam, then be my guest…

The internet, on the other hand…

So, the internet actually IS my job, and this time, I’m NOT kidding. Can you even IMAGINE how hard it is to be online all day and not get sucked into all of those websites you love? I checked Pinterest three times while writing this post: and once while writing this sentence. It’s open in another browser window right now, actually.

Your house is always messy

When I was just dreaming about working from home, I imagined that if it ever happened, my house would always be immaculate, a bit like one of those houses you see in TV commercials for sofas or bathroom cleaner or whatever. (Not that I watch TV during the day, you understand: heaven forbid!). What I totally failed to take into account, however, was the fact that my house would actually never be tidy again: because I would ALWAYS be in it. And when you’re always at home, you’re always using dishes, making food and generally messing the place up, aren’t you? Exactly.

You had no idea it was even possible to feel this guilty all the time

Because any time you’re not working, you’re going to feel guilty. Trust me on this.

Clients will think it’s OK to call you at all hours of the day or night.

I still haven’t recovered from the time an American client called me at 3am: then again the next night, even AFTER I’d groggily explained the time difference…

Friends and family will expect you to work for them for free, as a “quick favour”


No one will ever consult you about future plans: they’ll just assume you’re always available

Because, again, it’s not like you actually WORK, is it?

What day is it?

You will never know: because they’ll all blend into one…

Everyone loves a snow day…

… except you, because when you’re self-employed, there are no “snow days” where the boss sends you home from work to play in the snow. In my case, home IS where I work: and seriously, don’t tell her I said this, but my boss can be such a bitch…

Who knew it was this easy to become nocturnal?

Oh, what the hell: I was never much of a morning person, anyway…

Any more?

16 things only self-employed people know - but which you need to consider if you're considering starting a business or working from home

16 things no one ever tells you about working from home

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  • Love this! Totally true, and another one… (relevant to me today)

    When you are ill… no one cares/ there is no time to be ill!

    February 25, 2016
  • Dee Ann


    So true! I work from home and yes, I’ve been asked how much I earn…and I have Pinterest open in another browser…and I’m reading your blog instead of working… 🙂

    February 25, 2016
  • Victoria


    All so true! My husband and I are self employed and work together at home. Couple of others for us are holidays not only cost the price of the holiday but also the time you’re not working, no holiday leave or pay. No time to be ill, and yesterday my husband just got chicken pox arghh!
    But I love being in control of what we earn, if we work hard we see the benefit. And if we’re just really having a rubbish day we can go out and make the time up later with no one to answer to 🙂

    February 25, 2016
  • I used to be self-employed, I ran a clothing shop and website. People always tried talking financial crises with me. Neat. I’d love to hear more about how small businesses are going under right now, that’s perked me right up!! x

    February 25, 2016
  • 1. When self-employed, you are rarely in a position to assume a regular paycheck and “the check is in the mail” is no longer just a saying. (IS that check going to come today? PLEASE make it come today!)
    2. The bills still need to be paid even when we are not paid yet. Being on vacation means no money coming in (but bills still need to be paid) and automatic payments coming out of your account need automatic deposits or things get much worse.
    3. Taxes are terrible. It’s worth having an accountant to help figure out things and be there for an audit. Software doesn’t ask the right questions but an experienced accountant knows where to look for deductions.

    February 25, 2016
  • Jean


    You take vacation at any time, if you’re willing to work at least a few hours each day on that vacation AND put in massive time before and after … (I know there are ways around this and I must investigate them.). I completely and totally second the always guilty and always on the Internet (and, um, shopping on the ‘net). Oy. But I would never work in an office again. You should link to that post!

    February 25, 2016
  • johannah


    This is so true! Especially this “Do you actually work?” and “What do you actually do?”, as well as the STATEMENT “This is not a “real” work” and the expectation that you can just help out everyone all the time because, you know, “the other people are really working and have no time” … (Especially used by family members).

    February 26, 2016
  • ALL OF THESE. Too funny!

    Being self-employed is the best 🙂

    February 26, 2016
  • Brilliant! So so true! And I am only partially self-employed (I have a job that I do from home (or sometimes my London office) Mon-Wed), Thurs and Fri is supposed to be my freelance time, but actually, it’s Thursday to Sunday and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings! Because I’m only just starting out I feel the need to take on every job offered me (and also, wedding and house reno to pay for, duh!) so I am insanely busy at the moment. And friends are like: “Why can’t you come out on a WEEKEND?! You only work part-time anyway….!” Grrrrr!
    Keeping it part-time self-employed for a few years (because maternity leave, he he!) but definitely looking forward to full-time freelance! It’s the best decision ever!

    February 26, 2016
  • Also, Amber, what plugin do you use for your related posts at the bottom of each post? They are so big and clear and lovely!

    February 26, 2016
  • If I only knew this years ago. But I will never get back. It is a full time job, I mean 24/7 but it feels so good. I have to print this and show it to my friends who keep asking how is it to be self-employed and work from home too.

    February 26, 2016
  • Myra


    It is very obvious how hard you work even from the number of posts you write, never mind all the admin stuff. I know it took time out of your holiday, but I loved your California posts.

    February 26, 2016
  • Sasha


    My husband became self employed a year ago and no 10 is a biggie for him! As a result he’s often doing admin or checking his emails late at night. I’m kind of hoping that eases with time though!!

    February 26, 2016
  • omg number five! I can so totally relate to all of this!!!

    February 29, 2016
  • and I’ve also gotten the “So what do you do all day” comment so, so many times! argh!

    February 29, 2016