Putting the other into self-employed

I’ve been asked to give a short lunchtime talk to a group of self-employed workers who are hot-desking at a brand new co-working space in Stoke-on-Trent; The Wheelhouse.

I’m always up for the chance to speak to fellow self-employed workers and small businesses about the unique and special experience of working for yourself.

It can be daunting when you start out on your own in business. No regular wage, pension contributions on hold, having to make all the decisions and do everything needed to run a business.

When I started out alone in 2012, I was given a piece of very sage advice: “Give it six months and if its not for you, then get another job.”

It was probably more like six hours in my case, that I realised that the benefits outweighed the worries, and I was never going to be an employee again.

The feeling that you are in control of your destiny and your work could take you to all sorts of new places is liberating to put it mildly. More importantly you are not going to have to act out other people’s ideas that you don’t really buy in to.

I’ve been fortunate to have a desk in a co-working space since 2017. Sharing with like-minded people who have all been employed and are now pursuing their dreams through their passion. My co-workers include a photographer, illustrators, an electronics engineer, copywriters,  a translator, a digital marketer, a surveyor, artists, a graphic designer, a conservationist and counsellors.

Not only have I learnt about other professions I knew very little about, I now collaborate with many to broaden the benefits and services I can bring to clients.

I’m ‘analogue’ in that I love to write. However, one associate can do all the clever digital stuff, so we both doubled our offering immediately. I can now also offer professional photography and even art – check out my profile picture.

We are constantly having ideas which seem to spark new ideas. This year I’ve been involved with two music festivals, sponsorship of a football club, a communications collective, a local children’s Christmas present fundraiser and the launching of a local gin. None of which would have happened if I hadn’t been sharing a space with such brilliant and creative people.

There is also the support element. If someone is feeling down or stuck with a work problem, you can take time out, have a coffee and talk it through.

You are the fortunate ones. You’ve got your skills and enthusiasm and the best network of like-minded and brilliant people to help you achieve your dreams. What are you waiting for?