Have you ever seen the movie Modern Times? With and by Charlie Chaplin? This movie is from 1936, and the current economic state feels much the same. It has entered my minds eye many times the last few weeks.
I feel like I have just returned from La La Land. This journey started about 10 years ago, when I felt the need for turning my passion into work. My love for animals, nature, natural remedies got me to run into an intense study on becoming a naturopath for animals, and consequently stepping out of my paid job and into the world of being self employed. And I feel I have just stepped out of this being self employed again, and lots of hopes and dreams have been shattered and bubbles burst.
I am on the hunt for a paid job again, and it is not easy. Everything I’ve done the past 10 years seems to not have any value, the things that matter to me, the person I am seems to not be important in the corporate world. The only thing I have official qualifications for have also been developing (fast) over the last years, using programs I have never heard of and apparently nowadays you have to be a pressure-tiger to get a job. You have to do well under pressure, or even love working under pressure, and I can’t. And I am not ambitious and competitive. All my core values don’t seem to mean shit in the search for a job. And I am done trusting that it will all work out, because I am down to my very last 1000 euro’s and it’s not just coming to me. And if there’s something I definitely can’t is fake it.
But, of course the journey hasn’t all been bad, and I’ve done amazing things, met amazing people, stayed in my beloved country for a few months, but in my case, it maybe always was doomed to fail. I’ll explain why in this blog and hope that anybody who is struggling with self-employment or wanting to start on this path will get something out of reading this. So that all that I’ve learned and been through hasn’t been in vain. And this is not about pointing fingers to others, I take full responsibility for my own life and choices. As always. But there are things that have been bothering me a lot. And I no longer believe in the what you send out you will get in return, because in my case that hasn’t been true at all times.
Point 1: Make absolutely sure WHY you want to do this. Make sure that your passion is big enough to put in many hours of study and work, and loads of money that might not always come back to you. I had fallen for the trap that I would be most happy if I would turn my passion into my work. I know now that that is not always a good idea. In my case, it took away much of the joy I had when I still did this from a place of “hobby”. If you truly care, are a giver, a dreamer and idealist, like I am, be prepared for some disappointments along the way. No matter what everybody says, they will come. So, if your why is strong enough to start or persevere on this journey, then by all means, go for it.
Point 2: Make sure you have the right support around you, it doesn’t have to be your partner or family, but at least your friends or people that are on the same path. Have people around you that believe in you, will be honest with you (but not because you have woken some kind of fear in them of missing out), and truly care for you. They want to see you succeed. And, that has maybe been one of my biggest flaws, dare to reach out for help. I don’t mean professional help, but when things are not working for some reason, that people are there for you. Not only when everything seems to be all shiny. People that will be there for you during the ugly days. But also will celebrate with you when it does work out. Or cry with you when you need it. That know what to do, know how to listen without replying, give a hug when you need it most, laugh with you at your most stupid moments, or let you just be when you also need that. And don’t feel like they are the cause of it. I had the privilege of living with someone like that for a few months, and it made me realise how much I have missed people like that on my journey, and in my life to be honest.
Point 3: If you have a steady income from a daytime job, don’t give up on that immediately, especially if you don’t have anything to fall back on (partner with steady income, savings, rich parents). It might mean working even harder, but it will help you relax and not put the strain on your (starting) business to make you all the money you need. Also, if you are in the business of delivering services, try to create some form of passive income. There will be months when people will not buy your services, so either create passive income or have some other back up for those times.
Point 4: Work on your beliefs, your self-confidence and presence. I should have known better on this point, even though I told myself I could do it, there probably has always been a voice in the background that didn’t believe. That wasn’t able to “sell” myself, and also didn’t like it. That wasn’t able to think from the clients perspective but only wanted to do what I liked creating. I know now that this will give you crickets. Do market research, and make sure that what you want to create is also wanted/needed. And if that doesn’t bring you joy, maybe being self-employed is not for you.
Point 5: Work on trusting your intuition, or common sense. Either one will do. Because there are a lot of predators out there that will see your insecurities and will want to feed off them. They will use some sort of spiritual blackmail on you, like if you are not investing in yourself you have low self-worth. It is not much different from the corporate world in that sense, everybody is always very ready to point you to your weak points instead of honouring your strong points. In my case, I have been constantly looking for outside recognition of my being, of conformation that I was a good person and was on the right path. Even up to the point that I now feel lost. Because without a certain goal or life-purpose, I don’t know why I still get out of bed in the morning. For what, for who? It should be enough to get out of bed for life itself, or just for myself, but I’ve lost that. And I am done living my life for others. To always be in service. So, make sure you work with people that want to help you, and not just themselves or their bank account. It is okay to pay for it, because they too are often self-employed, but be careful. Look for wordings like: if you don’t invest in yourself you are not loving yourself. If they try to feed off your insecurities in any way, then get the hell out of there. If it feels like some sort of blackmail it probably is. It doesn’t mean that they always do it consciously, but still. Stay away from them. Look for those who will help you build your business by emphasising your strong points. And look for those who are truly authentic, that will show all sides of being in business, not just the successes. Let’s get real.
Point 6: If you are a caring and giving person, then don’t friend your clients on Facebook. Protect yourself. Because, if your client has in some way “tricked” you into a discount or barter, you don’t want to see their shiny holiday pictures or their newest gadgets, while you are struggling to get food on the table. I’ve seen them, being all like, I can’t afford this right now, but you so want to help them (or their animals in my case), that you will try your best to make it possible. So, you don’t then want to see that they apparently have no financial problems. And because you are so caring and giving, you don’t try to judge and you forgive them. So, either stay away from giving discounts or bartering, or don’t befriend them. And watch out for the freeloaders, that will do everything you offer for free, but never will take the next step into working with you on a paid basis. It’s why I hardly ever do free stuff anymore, because I know how that feels. People often don’t know what it takes to be self-employed.
Point 7: Never stop taking good care of yourself and know your limits. Don’t step outside of those if it doesn’t feel right. Don’t fall for the trap of life happens outside of your comfort zone. Yes, if you are addicted to a lot of stress and love uncertainties, then go for it, but if not? Maybe it’s not such a good idea to do this. And again, don’t fall into the “but then you don’t love yourself” trap. You ARE loving yourself by knowing your limits. Don’t let it get as far as I have let it come.
Point 8: Stay realistic. Really, this is my biggest mistake. Up until maybe even a month ago, I never stopped believing in my dreams, I’ve worked on my (limiting) beliefs, I’ve worked with law of attraction, done EFT, and so much more that is offered out there. And although they’ve helped me grow as a person, they didn’t help my business grow. If I had known that I would end up where I am now, I would have given up much sooner. Because coming back from La La Land is not easy I can tell you. As long as this world is run by money and economics, as long as countries are run by politicians that only have their best interests in themselves and their corporate buddies, you cannot step out of the system. At one point you will run into rules and regulations, there is no such thing as freedom, we are all caught up in this. And we have co-created it ourselves and we keep that system going by continuing to vote for them and buying their products. I have tried to step out of the system, and failed. And all those people who are trying to find alternative ways, they too keep running into the system. Always. Because, right now, even though I don’t need and want much, I still need some money to survive. I still need proof of income to be able to get a place of my own. And even the standards for a humble life are enormous at this time. It will mean in my case that I probably will have to get a full-time job to even get an income to be able to live that humble life. Based on what I am qualified for. And, don’t fall for the heart-centred crap, it is still business, and if you are loving and caring, living from the heart, it’s almost impossible to build a heart-centred business in this current economic environment. And, another quote I love (enter sarcasm): money follows joy. I hate that one, because it means that the people with the most money love what they are doing. And that makes human society even more shit to me. Because I see people who genuinely care, who want to make a change, who create beauty in this world (artists), who make sure it all stays neat and clean, struggle to even get by. And people who don’t care about you or the planet or the environment are enriching themselves even more. In my eyes, this is wrong. On every part.
So, I do feel like Charlie Chaplin caught up in the cogs of the wheel of the system. And even crushed by them. I am not even going into my worries and concern about the environment and the planet at this time, because that too is a part of my inner darkness. And boo to all those nay-sayers about climate change. If you don’t believe in it or don’t want to take any form of action, please unfriend me. Literally.
I still love writing, and I will continue doing that, but I will not make the mistake again of thinking I will be able to get a full income from that. Because I love writing. And I don’t want to put the pressure on my writing just to make enough money to even get by at the most basic level. You really have to have an extraordinary talent (or the right connections) nowadays to “make” it. Or the right looks. And I haven’t got any of those. I am just “average” and I am not ashamed of that. I will go back to my average life. And maybe I will start to enjoy life on a basic level again one day.
p.s. the only real victim from all of this is my dog Cheyenne, and before the other pets Scotty, Luna and Toendra, who are suddenly left by themselves, all alone. I hate having to do this to them.