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The awesome and not so awesome things about working for yourself

 article about The awesome and not so awesome things about working for yourself
Recently I've met a number of people, who after hearing what I do (for living?) tell me that it sounds awesome. And based on what they think I'm doing I can't disagree. Well, I often couldn't disagree with it one way or another, as much of it really is awesome. However, as with everything, there are the bits and pieces that aren't as great as they might look from far away.

The pure awesomeness


Working for yourself, gives you a lot of freedom. You can do the work from anywhere in the world (assuming, we are talking about something like I am doing, for which I need a computer and internet connection), you can mostly choose your own hours, and can decide not to work today due to nuclear hangover. Nobody could really argue that this is pretty awesome to work with your own schedule. The flexibility is the key here - you are very flexible to do whatever you want whenever you want. Well, at least if you're thinking about it from the other side of the table. And often, it's the same from if you're sitting in the same side of the table as me. However, the bits and pieces I mentioned you, those are the things that reveal the entire truth.

Where the awesomeness isn't that awesome anymore


Flexibility is always great. At some point I actually created a CV for myself, just to see if I could find a a job that would be fulfil all my ... mm, requirements? Here's around how my CV looked like...or actually, no, here's the one weird section I added to my CV, and it's actually a copy & paste.
  
Honest section
This is the place where I try to tell you everything else you should be aware of.

  • I am still working on my own projects, but time-wise they don't need me much.
  • I am very proud of my main project The Cheers magazine and I think not many people are able to put something like that together from scratch. At the same time, no, it's still not a popular magazine.
  • I have worked with my own projects for far too long and I would now like to take on something different, something challenging, something flexible, and something fun.
  • My expectations for a great job are
    • Flexibility in hours
    • Flexibility in locations (I can work from home, in your office, in cafeterias with my laptop, or from beach in Sydney or Barcelona)
    • Informal environment (and I am not talking about clothing, but attitude)
    • Ideally, computer screen should not be my best friend, I have seen that too much already. But in case of writing jobs, this doesn't count, I don't need to look at the screen, right?
    • Possibility or necessity to travel (oh okay...)
    • Good pay, of course (after all, it's the "Honest Section")


I ask you not to take these 'expectations' as rules, but rather strong suggestions. If you have a great job which you think I could be a perfect fit for and which could theoretically be of interest to me, don't hesitate to get in touch.


As you can imagine, that's sort of the kind of CV from the book of "How not to get a job in 5 simple steps (or maybe one is enough)", and it doesn't matter whether we are talking about english teaching jobs in Italy, programming jobs in Estonia, or really anything anywhere else.

And when it comes to why I even created the CV, that's where we get to the point where awesomeness isn't that awesome any more. While your job is flexible, at times extremely flexible, and you might not be too unhappy about that (after all, why would you), the general flexibility sometimes can mean a few not so perfect things. For example, I might not have to do anything today at all, but sometimes, when you get back from the bar at 4am, and you see a work-related email, you might need or want to answer it right away. After all, you're the one paying your bills, and taxes, and...So while your job might be flexible, at the same time you might be working 24/7.

While I can honestly say that some days I don't work at all, and some people could say I'm on holiday all the times, whether I'm at home, or abroad, I actually haven't had a proper vacation without the need to check my work emails every day for, well....ever? So while I'm not working 9-5 every day, I have also never had a holiday. Which, sometimes, everyone would need, whatever, and how ever you are doing something.

And then there's money. You always need to make sure you have enough for yourself, enough to pay taxes, enough to pay for any other business expenses. And that's often not so easy to do. You are always on the lookout for new clients, new things you can do. And if you're like me, you never know what's going to happen next week, or if you're lucky, next month. Because business ... well, sometimes it's going great, sometimes it might be very slow for months at a time. And you're the only one you can count on to help you.

So, while it's great that you can have lots of flexibility, work from cafeterias from around the globe, posting your travel updates while looking for new business connections, the awesomeness is not always that awesome.

But then again, sometimes even the not so awesome awesomeness can be pretty awesome.


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