The Downside To Self-Employment

On the surface, self-employment sounds amazing: set your own hours, work wherever you want, and nobody tells you what to do.

However, in reality, things aren’t quite as peachy as you may imagine and there are several downsides to self-employment.

I have been really looking forward to not going to having to commute to work each day and I figured it would be great to focus on the things that interest me most. What I’ve found the past week has been very surprising.

I wake up nice and early, spend an hour or two on emails and other blog related things, and then I hit a wall. There simply isn’t that much that I can do to improve my business. If I were busy all day I would be ecstatic, but that simply isn’t the case. I have this “job” that I’ve been working on the past 2 years while maintaining a day job, so stretching it out into an 8 hour day simply isn’t going to happen.

I have very little to complain about. This is my office.

Instead of people yapping away at an office, my life soundtrack consists of Pandora and the sweet sound of SportsCenter. In my world, it simply doesn’t get much better.

And yet, there is something missing.

I do enjoy my beach trips and when I’m busy, it’s impossible to complain, I have it all. But sitting in the same place with nobody to talk to is a bit too much for me to take.

So if you guys are ever bored, feel free to send me an email, hit me up via twitter, or some other way (Google + anyone?), it will make my day. I love hearing from readers and other bloggers, THAT is a life I could get used to.

Readers, do you think you could handle self-employment the way I describe it? What would you do to keep busy?

27 Responses to The Downside To Self-Employment

  1. tmgbooks says:

    I had the same experience when I achieved financial independence and left my last 9 to 5 job.

    First a couple of lessons learned:

    Create a schedule and schedule in days off. You might even want to consider keeping the weekends (Sat & Sun) as days off so you keep on track with your working buddies.

    Do not sit for more than an hour at a time, less is better, and consider a standing desk so that you don’t sit too much. Medical research is finding that sitting for extended periods is unnatuaral and bad for you for a variety of reasons.

    Get outside yourself: Volunteer for a couple of hours one or two days a week. When I first became self-employed, I was renovating a house so I had plenty to keep me busy between that and my book writing and marketing.

    But once that project ended, and as much as I love writing, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. And writing and working at home is a solitary task and makes it too easy to get caught up in your own little world.

    I now volunteer with a local literacy organization and at a hospital acting as a patient advocate. It gets me out of the house and I meet new people and have some of the interactions I lost when I left my job.

    Good luck and keep in touch; I would be interested to hear what you think about my suggestions.

    • Daniel says:

      @tmgbooks, great advice, thanks! I’ve wanted to explore a standing desk, it seems every surface is just a little bit too low and I still have to strain my neck, so I may have to do something makeshift for awhile, like using a box to prop up my laptop.

      I’ve been shopping for a car, which has kept me busy, it’s the 8 hours of sitting and working that I know I won’t be able to handle. I need to be stimulated more!

  2. Hmmm, surprising that boredom is the biggest problem for you since there’s so much social media?

    I’d spend at least an hour a day learning how to code and understanding the ins and outs of all things wordpress. I’d play 2 hours of tennis a day, eat, take a nap, and then perhaps go surfing for 1.5 hrs in the afternoon. Eat, blog, watch a movie, read.

    There’s surely more you can do?

    Sam

    • Daniel says:

      @Financial Samurai, Social media can keep me going sometimes, but there are large blocks of the day with nobody on.

      Also, how do you handle the West Coast? I’ve been trying to wake up fairly early so that I don’t waste the good twitter hours asleep!

      The relaxing life sounds nice, Sam, and maybe that would be perfect for you. I need to do more right now!

      • @Daniel, I wake up about 6:15-6:30am normally, so there’s generally some decent Twitter flow around then, but I do miss some stuff. But, given I wake up then, I sleep by 1am. That said, things really die down at around 10:30pm PST anyway.

        What about leveraging the Yakezie to work on some campaigns? That’s straight forward income right there, which more Members should take advantage of.

        Best, Sam

        • @Financial Samurai, Sam you quit your day job??
          I was wondering why I see you on twitter more often now!

          @Daniel- is that your pool? Can I come play in it? :) I’m jealous!

          I keep on wanting to get out of the rat race. I would love to own plenty real estate and be the property manager for that- I think it would keep me busy. It’s nice to own your own business and leave the business if necessary e.g. to take your mom to a medical appointment or whatnot.

  3. 20 and Engaged says:

    I experienced that in the beginning. I felt bored with nothing to do. Then I started getting into some other blogs, reading different books, taking different blogging courses, etc. Then it became that there’s not enough time in the day!

  4. Mike - Saving Money Today says:

    Hey Daniel, I hope you and Lauren are happy in your new home!

    “There simply isn’t that much that I can do to improve my business. ”

    Are you sure?? You could start a new blog, or build mini-sites, or learn to build custom themes or graphics or something like that. There are a million things I wish I could do but just haven’t had the time to learn them yet. There’s always room for growth and if you diversify your online earnings a bit it will offer you more protection too.

    Maybe you just need a new challenge. When you hit the wall in the morning take a break for an hour or two and then come back and start up a new project when you are feeling fresh and recharged.

  5. Evan says:

    There is no way you don’t have other ideas up there…another site? another blog? diversify and conquer

  6. Randall Cantrell says:

    How do we find you on Google+ ? I couldn’t find any links on your site.

  7. Melissa says:

    I’m a journalist, so I do a fair amount of freelancing (also have a full-time job) and I have a lot of friends that are full-time freelancers and I know for a fact that I couldn’t hack it! I even have the option of working from home sometimes, and I hate doing it. I just get nothing accomplished, and then a 7 hour day turns into a 14 hour day because I take breaks and I feel obligated to work every second and…yeah. I like coming into the office every day.

    Plus, don’t you get lonely? I would get really lonely without coworkers. My cat is only so chatty, you know?

  8. David says:

    Daniel,

    Many companies are asking their employees to work from home and avoid going into work because renting out space for employees is a major unnecessary expense. Certain jobs/tasks still require employees to be on site; however, the majority of jobs are slowly but surely being relocated as WFH. Eventually I may face the same issue you are describing and my advice is to take advantage of freedom and read up on whatever topic interests you, learn something new (play an instrument etc), and enjoy life out west!

    – You know who!

  9. Daniel says:

    @Financial Samurai, I don’t think Yakezie campaigns are a great way of earning money (which is why I don’t take any cut) but there are other positives that come out of campaigns!

  10. I took 3 months off to be be at home with our baby and blog a bit. It was so busy the whole time, the little guy is a huge time sink. Maybe you should have a baby. ;)
    Good luck with self employment! Maybe start a new niche blog if you have a lot of time.

  11. How do you like sunny CA so far?! Based on the photo, it looks like it’s treating you pretty good. ;) As for the boredom, I’m sure there’s more marketing you can do, or post writing. I know that I never have enough time to promote my blog or post enough. I’d love to have enough posts saved up for 3 months. Also, don’t forget about guest posting, visiting forums, and the like. Hope to see/meet you at the next PF Bloggers meeting!

    • Daniel says:

      @Little House, If it’s not on a Saturday, I’m there! I’d love to meet all of you!

      I have started to write more posts, and once I get a little bit ahead, I will be seeking out more guest posting, I think it would be wonderful to interact with people on other blogs, it’s definitely something I don’t do enough of!

  12. I think I’d get bored as well – I’d feel like I wasnt being productive enough and wouldnt have much to do. I’d also probably think about getting into the “niche” advertising site game, and possibly build some more websites to earn a bit more dollars.

  13. Laurel says:

    I have something for you to do – optimize your website for search engines!

    You can start here: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic

    and here:
    http://searchengineland.com/25-tips-to-optimize-your-blog-for-readers-search-engines-10226

    That should keep you busy for a bit :)

  14. Suba says:

    Is that Archstone? Nice view. Let me know when you have sometime, we should meet up!

    • Daniel says:

      @Suba, I’d be more than happy to, I’m in Calabasas! If the next meetup is on a Saturday, we should plan a local non-Saturday get together!

  15. We had a problems at work with our 2nd shift guy and I volunteered to cover for 3 weeks.

    The job was easy, but boy was that a mistake!

    I would always see the 2nd shift guy go around taking to other people during his first hour of work (including talking to me). I never knew why until about the 2nd week into covering the shift for him! It’s sooo lonely and boring! Now I know why solitary confinement in the prison shows you see on TV is such a punishment!

  16. I have not made the jump yet and I can definitely predict this happening. This is why I plan to not work from home much of the time, but rather to go cafe hopping. I also will need to force myself to attend events and get involved in some physical activities so I don’t sit on my ass all day!

  17. Paula @ Afford Anything says:

    Oh man, I find there’s WAY too much to do and not enough time to do it. Between freelancing writing, blogging, marketing, guest posting, commenting on posts, reading other blogs, Twitter, etc., etc., there’s just not enough time!

    I do miss the camaraderie of an office, but I love the time I save by not needing to leave the house. Give-and-take.

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