It was 27 April 2017, and I took that train home from central London feeling overwhelmed but excited. The buck stopped with me now.
I had been working in Westminster when I decided I could not face another minute in the world of work. I needed time out but I was flat broke. It had become about survival, and the shocking realisation that there are fates worse than death. In the end, I had resigned with no financial buffer and a plan to freelance, temp and do anything else I could find to scratch a living.
Here is what I learned.
1. Never resign without savings as a safety net.
As soon as I quit my job I crashed, had virus after virus and no sick pay to fall back on. It was truly miserable.
2. Network, network, network.
Not just online, but in person. There is an entire world outside of the internet. Yes, I know this is hard to believe.
3. Invest in some merchandise.
I left postcards with eye catching images and slogans everywhere for my business, Virtual Confidential. People loved them.
4. Taking on salaried work is not failure.
I returned to salaried work on 20 August 2018. Prior to that I temped for three months. I realised I needed a stable income after my time out and there was no shame in that.
5. Keep regular hours.
I was good once I started, but the problem was starting in the first place. Be strict about your start time, lunchbreak and end time.
6. Keep a log of your earnings.
It can be motivating and demotivating but keep a record and every now and then, calculate your hourly rate. You need to know what you are actually earning.
I had a video done for my website wildbareraw.com on Fiverr. I loved it. It was short but made it look professional and showed investment.
8. Never stop learning.
While self employed I took on Counselling Training. I continued to keep my brain active and my knowledge fresh.
9. Never stop listening.
When customers give you feedback, listen. When potential customers message you, reply as quickly as you can with a considered response. Pay attention.
10. Take care of yourself.
Sleep, rest, relax and eat well. Being self-employed is hard. Job hunting is stressful. Any life change will take its toll and all stress will affect you, good and bad. Take time for yourself.