Self employment

What self-employment taught me about self love

A happy worker is a productive worker and it’s no different when you work for yourself

I’ve been my own boss for almost half a decade. It’s taken me a little while to learn how to be a good employer, but I can finally say that Daisy Buchanan Industries has a fine HR department.

A happy worker is a productive worker, and I need to love, value and support my sole employee – me – otherwise the business would go under. I believe that freelancing has taught me about the importance of self love.

Before I started to work for myself, I thought the concept of self love was at best, a bit cringey, and at worst, sheer narcissism. “She really loves herself” was one of the worst insults you could throw at another girl in the playground. For a long time I believed that it was up to other people to tell me whether I was smart, talented or creative enough to be a success. I never seemed to get the validation I craved, and I felt insecure and miserable.

Love what you do

You go girl

However, when I started to work for myself, it quickly became clear that I had to be positive about my skills and abilities. If you introduce yourself to someone who might give you work, saying “Hello, I’m a bit rubbish!” it won’t result in them saying “Ah, no, I’m sure you’re brilliant! Here, have this massive contract!” They'll take you at your own estimation, and give the work to the person who can comfortably, confidently say “I’m the best!”

Working for myself has made me fall in love with my work again. Even though I really enjoyed many elements of my old role, it came with plenty of irritations and distractions, thanks to office politics. Also, if my boss asked me to do something I didn’t want to do, I couldn’t turn it down. Now, I’m in a position where I can pick my projects and choose the work that I’m really enthusiastic about, and as I gain experience, I find that I have more choice than ever.

When I work on what I love, I approach the project with passion and energy, which means I’m much more likely to do a good job – and a great result boosts my confidence.

The money problem

At first, not having a regular income stream was scary. But I soon found that the exciting thing about being paid per project, rather than per month is that I could earn more money more quickly. When I had a full time job, my salary stayed the same no matter how hard I worked, but when I found that my bank balance grew with the hours I put in, my confidence grew too. It was like being on a ship, falling overboard, convincing myself that drowning was imminent, but staying afloat - and finding out that I’m a strong swimmer.

Freelancing has taught me to silence the voice in my head that tells me to stop showing off

As a staff writer for a magazine, I earned a lot less than most of my friends. I don’t think they cared or noticed, but I felt quite self conscious about the fact that my salary was well below the average. Now I have weeks where I earn more than I used to in a month, and weeks where I earn exactly zero pounds. Obviously I feel a bit wobbly and worried when I’m not earning anything at all, but I don’t feel as though my income defines my identity any more, and I don’t compare my salary with my friends’ – partly because it varies so much that I wouldn’t know where to start.

Spreading the love

Then there’s the PR part. As a journalist, I use social media to promote my work. As a human being, I sometimes feel like cringing when I post “Hey everybody, look what I did!” Freelancing has taught me to silence the negative voice in my head that tells me to shut up and stop showing off. Again, it helps to think that I’m not just doing it for me, I’m doing it for my business.

Yes, there are trolls, but they make up a tiny percentage of the people I deal with - and the positive, constructive comments are a joy. To keep things in perspective and make sure my feed isn’t a constant stream of me, I try to spread the love and share other people’s work as much as possible. I find that practising positivity and self compassion makes me want to celebrate everyone’s talents as well as my own.

Working for myself has taught me that the world will take me at my own estimation. I’ve got a responsibility to be positive, to be cheerful and to show my talents to their best advantage. Being self employed has brought me so many challenges, advantages and opportunities and it’s vital that I respect and value myself in order to take them on. It’s hard to stay constantly confident, and working for yourself can be lonely.

But as long as you have faith in yourself and believe in your ability to do your best, you’ll be able to cope with quiet inboxes and multiple deadline pile ups while staying calm and cheerful. When I first went freelance, I didn’t really believe that I was strong enough or smart enough to make it work. No-one told me that there was one weird trick, a fairly simple secret to success. You don’t have to prove to yourself that you’re worthy of a career before you start working. You just need to believe you can do it, and start doing it.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?