Last year, I made the leap from working the 9-5 grind to being 100% self employed.  It was as scary as it was invigorating.

My life since then has been full of challenges, surprises, and thankfully more successes than failures.  After all, I’m still self-employed.

There are a few things however, that I had to learn the hard way that I never thought about before making the leap.

Being Self Employed Is A Lifestyle – Not A Job

So many people think about being self employed like a job.  It is not a job.  It is a lifestyle.  Your business will morph into the role of a child.  It doesn’t take up 100% of your time.  But it will never be far out of your mind and there will always be things you need to do.  As soon as I made this realization, it made my life much easier.

You Can’t Afford To Miss Opportunities

This sounds like a no brainer.  But it isn’t.  I had an opportunity to expand my business into flipping houses.  It was a great opportunity.   However, I didn’t have 50k of totally free capital to start down that road.  So I took an Amazon Loan.  I got the lump sum to fund the purchase and rehab.  As the Amazon payments came in I payed down the loan faster than scheduled to save interest.  The moral of the story, you can’t afford to miss opportunities to make money.  And sometimes you have to borrow money to cash in on the opportunities.

You’re Never Off The Clock

The largest source of revenue of my businesses comes from Amazon sales.  Amazon gauges seller heavily on seller metrics.  Especially response times to customer messages – Amazon wants every message responded to in less than 24 hours. So I installed the Amazon Seller App.  I get notifications when there is a message.  I respond through the app right away.  My average is less than 10 minutes.  That includes evenings, nights, and weekends.  Customers like seeing that average and so does Amazon.  If my phone buzzes at 6am, 6pm, or 10pm,  I respond.  When they come in overnight I respond to them right when I get up.  When you go self-employed, you’re never really off the clock.

It Only Becomes More Intense

Once you realize that you are in 100% in charge of your income, it will change how you think about work.  You stop slacking off.  You stop taking breaks.  You don’t take a single customer or review or feedback for granted.  You take every dollar seriously because any wasted dollar is a dollar directly out of your pocket.  It consumes much more of your life than you thought it would.  The sooner you realize this the better.

Conclusion

I love being self-employed.  I love the feeling of being in control of my future.  But it comes with drawbacks.  If you’re the person who wants to clock in and out 9-5, then owning your own business is not the right choice for you.  But if you’re willing to work hard and grind it out, you might just be the next big thing.