3 Downfalls of Being Self-Employed You Can Easily Overcome

by Kimberly Crossland · 35 comments

Downfall of Self Employment
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This is a guest post courtesy of Kimberly.

Working for yourself isn’t always rainbows, butterflies, and cherry licorice.

It has a downside just like anything in life. Please make Kimberly feel welcome and feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below this post.

So you got the nerve to step out on your own.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Living the life of an entrepreneur is exhilarating. You can set your own hours, your own goals, and you have no one to answer to but yourself.

But as much fun as it can be to pursue your passion, it is not always sunny in the world of self-employment.

You undoubtedly face challenges along the way. And guess what?

It’s normal.

As a solopreneur, I have quickly learned that there are certain downfalls to this luxurious career choice. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome each challenge. Here are a few of the obstacles I faced and how I overcame each one.

You May Be Forced to Sit a Spell

When I first started out, I came from a job that had me on my feet for twelve hours a day. I was constantly walking to get my work accomplished and very rarely required the use of a computer to get things done.

Enter the reality of being self-employed and sitting for hours on end behind the computer.

Although I followed my dreams and pursued my passion of helping small businesses with their digital marketing, I found that being glued to the seat of my chair was more draining than I’d anticipated.

I made my way to the gym each morning to get my daily dose of fitness, but still, each afternoon was met with lethargy and exhaustion… from sitting!

At the start of my career while I still worked in the corporate world, my boss purchased a standing desk for anyone who wanted one.

I quickly jumped at the chance to try this.

The desk allowed me to sit or stand whenever I wanted throughout the workday. It got my butt out of the chair and I instantly felt better. Headaches went away, the tension in my neck and lower back disappeared and my energy level was through the roof.

I purchased a stand up desk for my home office to help overcome this downfall. While browsing a few options, I saw something new.

A treadmill desk!

Who would’ve thought?

I tried it out in the store and instantly fell in love. Now, I walk while I watch webinars, sort through emails and type guest blog posts, such as this one.

It may seem strange at first, but give it a go and you might just be as surprised as I was at how much better you feel walking while working.

It Can Get Lonely

Being in business for yourself, by yourself…

Let’s be honest. Water cooler talk is highly underrated.

At the start of my career, I enjoyed the time I got to spend with co-workers. The social interaction I had in the corporate world throughout the workday was a bonus I took for granted.

Once I started on my own path, I did not anticipate missing it as much as I did.

After all, I loved having time to focus on my work and actually dive in deep with a project without the risk of interruption from a co-worker or a meeting.

And I always have my husband to chat with about the day. But it was the water cooler chat that I truly missed.

Being self-employed can be lonely.

The way I have started to overcome this is by starting new activities each month.

I joined a networking group in my community, signed up for guitar lessons and started regularly participating in races to mingle with others in my area.

It does not have to be costly to get out and meet new people, and it may even help you find business in unexpected places.

If you miss the social interaction of an office, try breaking out of your shell and trying something new. Business or non-business related, it is surprising how beneficial expanding your horizons can be.

Motivation Does Not Always Come Easy

Even for the most self- motivated people.

Ever wake up in the morning to the sound of your alarm and realize, you actually do not have anyone to report to?

I have.

Self-motivation is tough.

Some days, it feels like a struggle to get going. You are your own boss, and if you don’t want to work then why should you?

Of course, with this mindset, your business would quickly dissolve, your customers would be severely disappointed and you could lose your dream.

That is usually enough to get people self-motivated enough to keep their own business going. But some days feel tougher than that.

I consider myself extremely self-motivated, but still struggle with getting going some mornings. To overcome this, I made achievable goals for the short and long term.

I plaster my earnings in front of me so that I know the days I cannot afford to slack off a bit, and the days where I might be able to take a longer lunch break than usual.

Keeping your goals in sight is an easy way to encourage yourself to stay motivated, even on days when you feel sluggish and tired.

Make a visual board, buy a white board, use post-it notes, whatever it takes.

Allow yourself to fall into a routine where you review your progress toward your goals each morning so that you get your daily dose of motivation to help you pick up and go.

Being self-employed is a thrill and it comes with many benefits. But as with any good thing, there are also downfalls to this career choice.

Over to You

What have you found to help you overcome challenges met along the path of entrepreneurship? Please share your thoughts below and if you liked this post, tell someone about it.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Eve More March 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Hi there Kim,

I can very well relate to this post! Being self-employed is never easy and it takes a lot of guts and determination to succeed in our chosen field. I really found this article helpful! I will take what i have learned and thanks for sharing your insights on this.

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Cori March 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Hey Eve.. glad you enjoyed the read. :)

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Dilupa March 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Good post. The facts which you are pointing out are really true. I can’t agree more about the fact about Loneliness. I worked for a little time as a self employed web developer and got the same problem. My solution was simple. I went to a park nearby, with my laptop and a note book, sat on a park bench and started working. There were so many people to talk with, when I felt lonely. the only limitation was the power. I could work until my battery was dead. I think it would be a good way to do stuff. Just give it a shot, if anything else doesn’t work.

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Cori March 24, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Hey Dilupa… parks are definitely great if you want to cram in an hour or two of work before your equipment fails. :) Or some parks have gazebos nearby that sometimes have power outlets you can run off of. As long as most of your work is offline, it’s doable. Otherwise I like to hit a local coffee joint with wifi if I’m feeling antsy and like I need some human interaction. :)

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Ashish Gill March 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Hey Kimberly
Really great post..but as they say if you want to live like a king..you have to live like no one wants to for initial years but after that everyone would like to live like you. Thats life.

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Cori March 27, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Too true Ashish! :)

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Lee April 8, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Hi
I have been self employed since I left education and it can be a lonely existence and has many pitfalls but I do not know any body that is self employed that would rather be working for somebody else. I think to be self employed takes a certain type of person it is more stressful but is definatly more reward able.

Great post lee

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Cori April 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Amen to that Lee!

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Jess April 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

While I am not self employed just yet, I do telecommute a bit and I know what you mean when you say it can be lonely. There was a point where I said I would love to telecommute 100% and there have been jobs in my field that allow for that, but I also do like some of the daily interaction. Where I live, a place downtown rents out space for those that are self-employed or telecommute to be able to work in a shared area where you can get some of the services and features of being in an office on an as needed basis. They market it as a place for folks that no longer work in an office environment daily to hang out with other similar folks, while also providing the ability to network. Sounds like going to a place like that could provide a nice happy medium. Thanks for posting.

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Cori April 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Hey Jess… I would love to try out one of those places! I keep asking God to have someone set one up in my neck of the woods. lol The closest one for me is about 45 minutes out, through heavy traffic. I’d rather chill on my front porch than battle that craziness. :)

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Paul Lee April 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

I remember the feeling of being self employed and lonely. Its a challenge. Sometimes it does get lonely but its worth it, considering you stick to your goal and keep looking ahead. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel gets dull but keep pushing is all I say.

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Cori April 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Agreed Paul! There are always days that feel a little less great than others, that’s just the rhythm of life. :) For me the benefits far outweigh any cons.

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diwaker srivastava May 3, 2013 at 12:21 PM

hi kimberly ,

i am self employed from 10 years and faced most of the things you have written on your post. like loneliness i am missing my social surroundings and friend circle thanks for your honest writing .

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Amelia Joe August 8, 2013 at 4:45 AM

First I was impressed by time and effort to summarize everything for the audience
Second, you show a ton of grace and class in responding to trolls, which AGAIN taught me something.

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Cori August 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Thanks Amelia! :)

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John November 3, 2013 at 11:39 PM

I have been working alone as a freelancer in the past years. So far though, I have managed to enjoy it. But of course, the challenges you mentioned above are real. I have experienced them in more than one occasion.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski November 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Hey John, haven’t we all. :)
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Phil Johnson December 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Great article! I’ve been self employed for nearly 20 years and been through all of these. Though honestly, I’m not sure I could type while walking on a treadmill without falling on my face.

The biggest thing was staying motivated. Two things help me with that. First is realizing that if I’m not active in my work, then my clients and fans will wonder where I went. At least that’s what I tell myself. :)

The second thing I do is make sure I’ve got good planning tools with a daily to-do list of relevant things to keep me going. Simpleology is a good one, but there are lots of tools out there.

Being lonely never really got to me. I’m either working with students or on a stage entertaining a crowd. After those, I’m usually ready for some alone time with my laptop. :)

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski December 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Hey Phil… I agree, I tend to welcome a bit of alone time with my lap top. lol Simpleology is pretty cool, I used it for awhile. My problem with tools is I tend to play with them for awhile, then move on to another before falling back on good ole pen and paper. lol #addictiontoplanningtools Thanks for dropping by and taking time to comment. :)
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Nova G March 13, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Technically, I am not self-employed. I work virtually online, which means I’m home-based. It’s almost like being self-employed as I have the luxury of choosing the time of completing my tasks. 4 years have passed and it’s really been a struggle of motivating myself to get up and do my thing. My social activity has also gone cold as I spent most of my time at home. I did try my best to set schedules to meet my friends, and then go out sometimes (by myself) just to see the outside world. It was pretty much effective, but not enough. This year I realized I always wanted to do something – dancing. So, instead of dancing all by myself at home, I decided to check out some dancing schools and I found one. I still have to inquire about stuffs though. Nevertheless, I felt like this is a good stepping stone for me to be able to have that new environment, new people, and new activity. I feel like Richard Gere’s character in “Shall we Dance.” Totally bored and just want to finally have fun after quite a long time.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski March 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Hey Nova… dancing is fun and an excellent idea to get out and be among the humans. :) Might consider that one myself, I always loved to dance.
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Prerna April 1, 2014 at 4:27 AM

I have faced all these problems at some point of time specially being lonely at times when I use to work for days and days and then realizing at the weekend that I have been completely isolated.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski April 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Hey Prerna. I feel ya. :)
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Richard Thompson May 2, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Hopefully most people do the research before they decide to start their own business, or become self-employed. There are some really simple, but vital things that help me. Examples being, creating a dedicated office space, making sure there is scheduled time I’m supposed to be working, etc. Otherwise I’m just putting my living at jeopardy, because I really can’t stay on task other wise. Thanks for sharing!

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski June 1, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Hey Richard, can’t argue with that. We just moved, so I’ve been trying to get my office back in order, and boy will it sure feel good when it is!
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Tim May 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

haha the lonely part is so true.

I walked outside today to walk my dog and it was sunny and nice. I was like ‘omg’ I have been stuck grinding at my computer so long that I forgot to go outside and just enjoy nature.

I love working hard, but we can’t forget the little things in life.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski June 1, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Ain’t that the truth! Sometimes it just feels doggone good to unplug and get outside, interact with real live people and nature. :)
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Akanksha Maheshwari May 28, 2014 at 3:16 AM

I have been working alone as a freelancer but now it is becoming strenuous and disheartening because I am not getting the appropriate outcomes but any ways I am pushing myself and posts like yours keep me going “Thanks” .

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski June 1, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Hey Akanksha, thanks for dropping by. I’m glad I could help in some small way to keep your spirits up. :)
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Jeff May 31, 2014 at 2:04 PM

You’re right on about the motivation thing. It’s much easier said than done. My sense of balance would have a hard time with a computer tredmill, but the standing desk might be good. If it helped you’re migraines and back, it could help many others. Thanks for sharing your suggestions.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski June 1, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Happy to help Jeff!
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Carlo Martin June 12, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Thanks for posting this Cori. I like the blog designs you have. Vision boards can get you pumped up if you visualizing what you want already manifested.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski June 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Thanks Carlo!
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Michael July 15, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Interesting read. I’m not sure I could ever see myself running a business solo. The shear fact that your interaction with people will be slim to none. Ahhh – that would do me in. If I knew that running my own business would transform into a business with the need to 5-10 people, pretty soon, I’d jump on that boat for sure! I guess only time will tell.

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Cori Padgett-Bukowski July 22, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Hey Michael… yep, running a solo biz isn’t for everyone. :) But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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