Working for yourself is no easy task. No, honestly. It is not an easy thing.
That may come as a bit of a surprise to those of you who receive their income from an employer and gaze jealously on the perceived lifestyle of their self-employed counterparts – shorter working hours, higher earnings, no boss.
I say perceived lifestyle because the reality of self-employment can be very different, as anyone who has attempted it knows….the constant search for work, chasing for payment, building of new relationships, delivering work at un-godly hours of the night and weekends to meet a deadline. Need I continue?
It is not for the faint-hearted, that is for sure, and I have seen many of my self-employed PR and Marketing peers crumble under the pressure, lose their nerve and return to the comparative comfort of an employed job.
A few years ago I saw a documentary, Man On Wire, about a young French circus-style performer, Philippe Petit, who gained fame in 1974 for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. His story was aired again recently.
It had a profound effect on me, one that I have never forgotten.
Phillipe was relentless in the pursuit of his dream, performed a seemingly impossible act, assessed the risks associated with the tightrope walk and committed himself to it despite the possibility of losing his life.
There are similarities with the world of self-employment, maybe not a matter of life and death, but of happiness and quality of life. But the most important aspects of Philippe’s daredevil antics is that his motivation was to feel alive, to fulfil his dream no matter what the consequence, to live life on the edge and to seize the challenges presented everyday.
Life as a self-employed professional is indeed like walking on a tightrope….but equally as exhilarating, rewarding, and a life that I wouldn’t exchange for anything.
“Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge – and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.” ~ Philippe Petit