First Person: Self-Employment Most Stable Option in Troubled Economy

by on November 3rd, 2014
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It’s always been my goal to work for myself. As a child, I quickly realized the freedom (and burdens) of self-employment and business ownership by watching my father, who worked in the real estate industry. I am now a full-time freelance writer also involved in multiple side businesses and odd jobs.

While I’d always wanted to be my own boss, I never thought I’d find it more stable than working in an office. However, the current economic climate has caused many companies to seek out freelancers as a cost-cutting measure, making my self-employment more stable than any office position I’ve held in the last decade.

My Story

I started freelancing in 2003, while I was still in college. I was hired by an auctioneer who was experienced in his field but had little understanding of computers or the Internet. I wrote brochure copy for him, which led to a website design gig and light customer service work. I enjoyed having set due dates with no scheduled work hours.

I continued freelancing (primarily as a writer) after obtaining a series of full-time jobs at publishing companies and as a barista at Starbucks. My job at Starbucks enabled me to meet many small business owners and further my own goals of writing for a living.

When I married in July of 2009, my husband and I talked about our goals. I realized that I could make enough money freelancing as long as he could provide health insurance from his job. By November, I was making plans to freelance full time. Days before I was about to give a month’s notice at my publishing gig, I was involved in two separate car accidents.

Though injured, I could still type. I decided to continue with my plan and pursue my goal of freelancing-just a few weeks earlier than I had intended.

My Personality

I have the right type of personality for my business. I enjoy making deadlines and receiving feedback on my work. I find peace by organizing my work and keeping to a schedule, yet I need enough space in my work for fun and creativity.

While I dislike a lack of structure when it comes to set work hours, I do enjoy scheduling a minimal amount of phone calls and business meetings through my week. It helps me project myself in a professional way (even though I do sometimes write in my pajamas).

If you don’t have the right type of personality for your business, it’s hard to succeed and not enjoyable.

My Biggest Challenge: Feeding the Muse

As a creative professional, I love starting new projects and nurturing new ideas. However, I constantly need to remind myself to focus on my core business at TaraWrites (freelance writing and editing) before branching out into other areas.

In addition to my core business, I serve as Seventh Kingdom IGE Marketing Director, spreading the word about immersive live action role play in New Jersey. Additionally, I sell wickless candles, jewelry and crafts at small fairs and community yard sales.

I’ve learned to separate hobbies from business interests. While it’s okay to have hobbies, I can’t heavily invest time or money in them if they do not create a return. This is important as I love writing and every other money-making opportunity with which I am involved.

In this economic climate, I’ve learned that everyone fights for her own survival first. For this reason, I’m glad to be my own boss.


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