There are a lot of things about being self-employed that are hard. You can find lots of writing about how much it sucks, because all of us self-employed people have the luxury of writing about how hard our jobs are as a way of procrastinating whatever big project is looming over our collective shoulders. Of course, if I wasn’t self-employed, it would be my boss looming at the cubicle wall, and I wouldn’t be typing this right now while watching clouds gather behind the big-leaf maple tree in my back yard. It’s true that I will probably regret this current decision tomorrow when the e-commerce retailer calls me to find out why their pending orders aren’t updating to paid when payment is received. But it’s a matter of scale. I’m pretty sure I won’t regret is as much as I would sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week.
Even if she fires me (which she probably won’t; freelancers are masters of doing exactly what is needed at the last possible second), I’ll still be fine. She’s one of several people who regularly give me money for my time. I’d like her to keep giving me money, for sure, but I won’t have to worry about who will pay the house payment if she doesn’t. I recognize this as an incredible luxury, and it is far more valuable to me than a 401k or health insurance. Particularly since enough people give me money on a pretty regular basis that I actually have a retirement account and health insurance, unlike many of my more traditionally employed friends. This too is an incredible luxury.
I live a very simple life. My office is in a small shed that I built with my own two hands in my back yard. I had friends come over one day for a couple hours to help me put the roof on, like an old-fashioned barn-raising done in miniature. I bought my computer for a steal off eBay. I don’t have fancy equipment or lots of tech-y doodads. When I need to scan a document for something, I take a picture of it with my phone and email it to myself, since I don’t have a scanner. Those small luxuries are all things I am willing (happy!) to do without, in exchange for the much much greater luxury of watching my cat hunt for voles in the backyard while I type this.
Also, I’m pretty sure I still have time to weed the garden and still fix the pending order problem before my client wakes up tomorrow morning. And maybe I should just knit a row on this sweater I’m making too, while I’m at it. I’ve got a good 12 more hours before she’ll start calling.