Life as a full-time creator is not all sunshine and rainbows as I’d hoped.
As of 5th March 2022, I’ve been self-employed for 6 months.
Previously, I worked as an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering and was pursuing my Ph.D.
Now, I’m a full-time creator with a thriving writing business.
I do content marketing for companies centered around the creator economy and Web3 projects. I’m also a writing coach and help new writers design the life of their dreams by writing about exactly what they want.
Life as a self-employed creative has been an amazing ride so far. I’ve seen some incredible highs like my building a product from scratch and scaling it to huge success, landing some unbelievable clients and sponsorship deals, learning on the go, building my social media audience to 120,000+, and growing two successful weekly newsletters for creators and writers.
But there have been some downsides I could have never imagined before embarking on this journey.
I’ve fought my way through erratic schedules, lack of work-life balance, terrible clients, and last-minute cancellations of invoices worth thousands of dollars.
What can I say, life is not a bed of roses.
This is true whether you’re in a 9-to-6 job or run your own company. Good things never come easy. But just as Dora said in Finding Nemo, I’ll “just keep swimming.”
In this post, I’d like to show you a glimpse at the downsides of the self-employed life and how I’m navigating them. I’ve tried my best to be as honest and candid as possible, in the hopes that it will be filled with value for anyone looking forward to taking the plunge and transitioning into being a full-time writer.
The Need to *Deserve* Breaks
Taking holidays when you’re self-employed is a lot different from getting holidays when you’re working a nine-to-six job.
Earlier, a holiday used to be something that I know would come every five days to break the monotony of the week.
Now, each week in my life is packed with so much fun and adrenaline rush that every holiday feels like a well-deserved break. I get to spend time doing things that make me happy because of all the impactful work I did during the week.
This might sound cool, but there are times when I feel the intense need to “prove to myself” that I need to *deserve* to take a Saturday off.
I’m consciously trying to break these thought patterns, but such massive change takes some time to come.
Until then, I’ll keep reminding myself that it’s not possible to build an empire until you’re prepared to slog through the first few years. But you need to be in good physical and mental health to achieve that.
Taking breaks when necessary to do things that fulfil your soul is a very powerful way to recharge and replenish your energy for the rest of the week.
The Urge to go All-In
I woke up yesterday with a brilliant business idea. My first reaction was to get off the bed, open my laptop, and start working on it immediately.
A small part of my brain whispered — “But what about your morning walk and workout?”
I shrugged it off and reached for my laptop. But then, I stopped. I know how important my morning routine is for my mental health. I’ve had days in the past when I ignored my health for work and ended up with a terrible headache.
And so, with a lot of determination, I didn’t pick up the laptop. Instead, I picked my workout clothes.
I chose myself over my work. I chose my health over making a few extra bucks (immediately).
This brings me to a realization I had recently. The key to succeeding as a creator is knowing where to draw a line-
- Between work and life
- Money and freedom
- ‘I want more’ and ‘enough’
What’s the point of earning $10k if you have no peace? What’s the point of being rich if you ignore your health, family, and things that make you happy?
There’s literally no limit to how much money you can earn if you’re ambitious enough. But you can’t have happiness if you ONLY have money. You need balance, and you need enough things that you enjoy doing just for the sake of doing them.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.
Closing Thoughts: What Makes the Journey Worth It
Life as a full-time creator is not all sunshine and rainbows as I’d expected.
When you turn your passion into your profession, you need to treat it seriously. It’s not a hobby anymore that you can do on the side, and sometimes, that feels overwhelming.
There’s loneliness, competition, and more bad vibes around than I’d ever publicly admit. But do you what’s the one thing that makes up for all of the downsides?
You do it for yourself. And you help build lives as you go.
I know whenever I work late nights or squeeze in an extra hour of meetings to make up for the weekend break, I do it to grow my business.
Whatever results I see will directly impact my life, not some anonymous company. And for that, I’m willing to put in the effort. I’m willing to burn the midnight oil because I know all the hard work now will reap huge rewards in the future.
Aside from that, the feeling that I can directly impact people’s lives is also really amazing. In February, I paid a total amount of almost twice my previous day job’s salary to four freelancers who worked with me in various capacities. The smiles on their faces when they told me how much they appreciated the timely salary was more empowering than watching even the best TED talk.
As a writer, I can change lives: my own, and with others who work with me.
And that’s why, I’ll keep pushing on, no matter the downsides.