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Why Working for Yourself is the Best (& the Worst)

The hustle is constant.


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Joelle Mumley

2 years ago | 3 min read

Working for yourself means having all the control, all the creative liberty, all the independence… oh, and all the responsibility.

I started my business because I was no longer interested in a “traditional” job.

After initially applying to organizations where I knew I would have only a few weeks of holiday time, be required to go into an office every day, and have limited control over the type of work I could do, I realized how much I craved flexibility and the chance to be my own boss.

Now that I’ve experienced how control over my schedule impacts my life, there’s no way I can ever go back. I can go on all kinds of adventures and take very little time off work. I just bring my laptop and find a phone signal or wifi wherever I go.

In this instance, I had to take a little hike to get a phone signal. I brought a blanket and sat against a rock with this beautiful view.

I also knew I had a unique combination of skills to offer. I’m a writer and entrepreneur, soI understand how businesses work and how writing can help businesses grow — whether it’s building internal structures through policies that are clear and make sense, keeping up a regular blog, or publishing articles in order to become a thought leader in their field.

I was pretty sure (and so far I’ve been right) that businesses need this help, but don’t always prioritize it because it’s more of a long-term investment. Nobody puts out fires with an essay or a clearly worded vision statement — but that doesn’t mean it’s not an essential part of running a successful business.

And because I write my own job description, I get to choose what projects to choose and what projects to turn down so that my work stays interesting and enjoyable.

However… after taking the self-employment plunge, I can totally understand why this is not for everyone. It’s exhausting and scary. It’s so easy to get discouraged and off track.

It takes a willingness to put in significant amounts of work without immediate financial benefit. It means being organized and structured and pushing through when I don’t feel like working. I’ve been forced to grow in creativity and have had to be willing to put myself out there when all I want to do is stay behind the scenes.

And I have a very long way to go. I’m over a year in and still feel like I’m working so hard to just get by, not quite getting to the point where I can relax. The hustle is constant.

And that whole saying yes and no to projects? That sounds a lot easier than it is. It’s hard to know what a good job versus a bad one is sometimes — and it’s hard to say no! And, although bringing work on vacations means that I can go on a lot more vacations, it also means that I’m basically working all the time. I’m still figuring out how and when to fully switch off and relax.

Working for yourself means life is a continual tug of war, pulling you from self-care to work too much and back again. But I have discovered that, while it’s not for everyone, it is for me. I’m willing to struggle through the work-life balance, learn how to deal with the uncertainty, and find out the hard way what a bad job is — because of the type of life I get to live, with lots of adventure, flexibility, and independence.

And working for yourself could be for you too — or maybe not. Either way, I hope you have the chance to figure out the kind of work and life you want and really go for it, even with all the risks.

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Joelle Mumley


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