Today marks the first anniversary of Mallon:Tax opening for business and it’s been an enjoyable, rewarding and unexpected 12 months. Who could have possibly imagined that when I decided to become self-employed, the year would finish with three months of Government-enforced isolation?
Even at the ripe old age of 57, I’ve learned a lot in the last 12 months and as some businesses emerge cautiously into this new environment, I think many of us will view their futures differently. Events in the last four months have re-shaped the working environment for many in the same way that family circumstances re-shaped my view of working life 18 months ago. So what have I learned?
I’ve spent many hours over the last 35 years wondering whether the networking event that I have just attended was a good use of my time. No new contacts, no prospects to follow up. But I kept at it nonetheless and guess what? Once you get into the right environment, those hours spent talking about foreign holidays (can just about remember those), the kids, and what you do, comes up trumps. Thanks to all those who have referred work to me over the last 12 months.
Make the leap
I’d often thought about becoming self-employed over the last 20 years but always had a reason not to do it. As Joey said to Rachel in an episode of Friends when she was complaining about her waitressing job; “You need the fear”! Some will have experienced a different way of working over the last three months, perhaps you have been furloughed, perhaps you have worked from home. If you’ve realised over the last three months that you’ve been living to work rather than working to live then take that first step.
All about the people
It’s enjoyable to work with people you like. That’s not to say of course that I haven’t enjoyed working with others in the past; indeed some of my closest friends are ex-colleagues, but being self-employed gives you a freedom to work with customers and suppliers on your own terms. It’s hugely empowering.
Smell the flowers
I’m working harder now that I expected I would 12 months in, but again on my terms. If the sun is shining the likelihood is that you’ll find me in the back garden with the family and my work fits in around that. My clients get a better service because I am more focused when I work, there are fewer distractions and I find I can concentrate much better in intense periods knowing that I can take the dog for a walk in an hour’s time.
So, I can thoroughly recommend self-employment. I know that I am in the fortunate position of starting this business relatively late in life with an established network and some clients that I have worked with for many years. But I enjoy work more now than I ever have and that means I’m happy doing more of it. That keeps clients happy and since many of them are now good friends, what can be better than making your friends happy and getting paid for doing so!