It has come to my attention that I have not properly introduced myself in a post. How rude of me!
You can call me Rudiano, Rude for short. That’s right. Rude by name, rude by nature 😜.
I was born in Paris, France (hence the pictured croissant 👆🏾) Grew up in Guadeloupe, French West Indies. After graduating with an English degree, I flew to the UK and catapulted into the work force.
I was employed most of the time but the lack of freedom, the capped earnings and the office politics (and also boredom) drove me down the uncertain path of working for myself. It’s been a journey. I certainly can’t say I’ve reached my destination yet, but I’ve come a long way.
First I’ve had to shed the employee mentality. As an employee, you trade hours for money. Your paycheck is guaranteed, your life predictable and (seemingly) safe.
Unless you work for a start up, you don’t wear many hats and you can switch off when you leave the office.
There is an instant shift the day you start working for yourself. You wear all of the hats. You are the boss, the accounts department, the marketing department, etc… You are no longer a disposable cog in the machine.The bucket stops at you, not a third party.
You experience the ebbs and flows of the business first hand. You have to prove yourself over and over to survive. You see the hard truth that the world doesn’t owe you a living.
In my time as self-employed, I’ve been a freelancer, digital artist, digital creator, cleaner, lawn treater, entertainer and more.
Why would I submit myself to such a seemingly unfocused and hectic life, you ask?
1) Variety is the spice of life.
In my employment phase, my income was more stable, my life more predictable. But once I learned the ropes of a job, it typically became boring. Progression was limited to team leadership, which was not the direction I wanted to go. So I invariably turned to my hobbies outside work for a challenge.
However, working for myself, I’ve learned content creation, social media marketing, Google analysis, brushed up on my research skills. And dare I say, I enjoyed that much more than Excel, Microsoft, PowerPoint or SAP (does this software exist anymore?)
I welcome the stimulation of having to come up with new ways to bring value, on my own terms. I only do what is meaningful to me.
2) Employment isn’t the safe path it used to be
Gone are the days when you could easily choose a job for life or for a decade, when companies use to take pride in taking care of you.
I did my part and kept loyal to my employers, but they did not as a whole return the favour.
In hindsight, job-hopping is a trend that may benefit companies (as well as employees, if they are strategic). Let me explain:
In the UK, if you haven’t worked 2 years as a permanent employee, you are not entitled to redundancy pay (severance pay in the U.S) if they let you go.
If you make a position redundant within that time, as a company, you save.
But even if redundancy is not on the cards, the average time spent in a job is about 4 years nowadays. For companies, that’s still a lot of saving compared to what it was like in the olden days (imagine the redundancy money due to an employee that has worked for the same company 20 or 40 years!)
Of course, that means staff turnover is higher nowadays. Higher staff turnover isn’t a good advertisement for a company. It can be a sign of a toxic working culture, toxic practices and the like. But you know, if the money keeps rolling in, most companies don’t really care.
Although I missed out on a few redundancy packages, it wasn’t about the money for me. I was just tired of being let go. I eventually said to myself “No more firing me, EVER”. And the only way I could do that for certain was by becoming my own boss.
3) True meritocracy
I’ve witnessed so many times the quiet industrious ones being undervalued, overworked and yet under compensated. The ones getting rewarded are either the loudest, those who know how to work the system or get into the right circles.
It’s the nature of most workplaces. If I ever built my own company, I would definitely try and create a different work culture. Traditional office politics suck.
You should be able to reap the fruit of your labour without having to worry about office backstabbing, bullying or exploitation.
Is the path I chose difficult? Absolutely. Do I resent it? Sometimes. Do I regret my choice? Heck no!
4) Earning potential
I didn’t know until I ventured outside the traditional boundaries, but employment is the most heavily taxed route.
Being self-employed, I can deduct business expenses that I couldn’t as an employee.The commuting and car maintenance as an employee can be your biggest expenses, but they rarely are taken into account in your tax bill.
To top it all off, when the company is doing exceptionally well, an employee likely doesn’t know. Profits rarely trickle down.
I buckle up when times are hard, so I want a share of the profits when times are good, thank you! Only way to make sure of this, is if you’re at the top, which is the case if you work for yourself.
5) Holiday entitlement
I remember it being a whole song and dance to obtain time off when I wanted it and for the length I wanted it for. I like singing and dancing but that was no fun.
Working for myself, however, I have the freedom to go when I please, where I please, for how long I please. All I have to do is organise myself in advance so I can cover my expenses (i.e work harder).
Truth be told, I have yet to manage ramping up the work in that way, I like my current routine too much 😅. But, as the title suggested, it’s a journey.
It’s my hope for you too, if it’s not the case already!
Reflect, Redefine, rise!