A lot of times young people in their twenties and thirties confuse unemployment with self-employment. Just because you have a dream in your head doesn’t mean you are self-employed. It is difficult to get to terms with how difficult life becomes when you are financially struggling and dependent.
And technically, until you create a clear pathway to growing your income and becoming financially independent, you are still unemployed.
Most employed people know what they have to do on Monday. Even self-employed folks, with clientele and a portfolio, have a schedule.
Read my book – Create Work that Matters, for help with portfolio building and identifying a profitable niche as a freelancer.
But if you are unemployed and you have no Monday plans, that’s when you’ll definitely have mummy sending you errands, or friends offering you menial jobs that are “beneath you”. You will be easy target for all kinds of distraction and might even find that you are so busy without a clear direction.
Then you might receive a lot of unnecessary advice. In fact, distant family or friends would randomly seek you out to give you life advice about your choices.
When you see this happening often, consider the possibility that you are still unemployed.
Some young folks will tell you that they hate 9-5 work because of how hectic it is so they’ll be self-employed. They truly believe that the easier option is having to work on your own timeline. Wait until your bills pile up, you’ve got no client, and you start praying for deadlines and urgent business requests. The fact that your income depends on regular business and the volume of work you do can mount incredible pressure that being employed couldn’t.
Some times, the reason many families don’t support self-employed folks is because they can see you sitting around, watching movies, and doing little on a Monday. They see you talk about how being self-employed means that now you are the boss of your own time and you don’t need to work like employed folks in order to make it in life. All you need is that big break.
The truth is, when you are just starting as a self-employed person, you’ll have to live off of other people’s income and that will reasonably make others worried. You look like an unemployed person and the difference isn’t clear.
Everyone has a right to be left alone on their life choices.
I believe that the only place your right to be left alone can be problematic is when you are not pursuing a career and making income from it. Because it makes you economically dependent on others as an adult who has a right to not listen to others, or be told what to do. What this means is that the person who pays the bills has another adult they’ve got to split their income with but who has no incentive to cooperate with them so the income they are sharing can grow.
How would you like it if you had your income distributed to other adults who don’t care how your dreams are impacted by that sharing? I believe it is only decent that self-employed folks:
1. Get the discipline to work on their business.
2. They stay reasonably accountable to their support system.
3. They work hard to achieve financial independence.
4. Commit to asking for help so that they don’t undermine the help they get.
It is disappointing to hear young self-employed folks say things like, “I didn’t ask for your help”. In a lot of cases, building a business means that you will have to rely on or use other people’s resources for a while. Even if they are family, especially if they are, remember that nobody owes you that as an adult.
There are some things that family and friends might bother you about and it would sound unfair. Some examples are:
1. Whether you are married or not.
2. How many children you’ll have.
3. Whether you go to church or not.
4. The persons you like to sleep with.
5. How you spend your money.
6. When you’ll buy a car.
But when it comes to becoming financially stable, those who must take up the bills where you are slacking will have an opinion and you may not like most of it.
I am not saying they should be unkind. I think we all owe each other kindness even when a person is slacking. But a self-employed person who’s not busy can easily start looking like an unemployed person.
So you must expect that people will advice you, taunt you, question your choices, especially when they know that you financial inability will be theirs to carry. We all spend on people we love and it is cute when we do that just for love and periodically. But when we have to consistently cater for adults, it becomes urgent for us to get them off their feet. That urgency can easily become overbearing and insensitive. Advice for those supporting self-employed folks, please have faith and caution your panic responses. Hopefully, they’ll grow their business soon and you’ll feel happy that you helped.
For the self-employed person, put a timeline to your financial projections. If you are not making an income, ask yourself, what do I need to change so that I can earn X amount of money in X amount of time.
And commit yourself to that plan. Be crazy about it until you earn something. The truth is that people are spending everyday. You need to know why your customers should spend into your pocket and make it your routine to be that reason.
And this is why not working on a Monday, or not hustling is not always your “personal choice”. If you are still living at home with your parents and they still pick your bills or your University is on strike and you are not learning how to earn an income on a daily basis, you are opening the door for a lot of talks that you would normally prefer not to have.
Even people who don’t know you will have something to say. So, how do you stop this? Get busy and make sure your family and friends don’t feel like you are about to ask them for money every time you call.
In some cases, you might not even be asking but when people see your needs, they just have to provide. Imagine living with your parents and they have to hide the food in the house so that you can understand how much of their food you are eating for free. And they know that you’ll hate them if they complain. You’ll say that it is because they don’t love you enough. Many of us are so entitled to love and care that we don’t think about the financial implications of our “startup lifestyle”.
Living at home with your parents at no cost is like they are issuing you free grants every year. And you are not showing them proof that the business is worth their investment but they still have no choice than to invest. Find any way you can contribute to things and commit to your career like crazy. Let people around you see that you are not sitting around waiting for opportunities to find you.
– Volunteer often.
– Apply to internships everyday.
– Learn skills you can do at no cost.
– Daily execute your plans.
– Find organizations doing what you love.
– Research and execute.
– Create service or product offers daily.
– Network with people who work and need that service. Add them to your socials.
– Apply for grants and scholarships.
– You can even register for further funded studies so your skills are growing while you are building a career.
Don’t just be blindly optimistic about your career. If after 2 or 3 years, things are still not working in that field, switch fields and learn something else. One final thought. Lower your bar of what you think you know, what you think you can do or cannot do, or what skills you think you must learn. Sometimes, it is those things you’ve talked down on that will eventually save you from empty Mondays. Do you know any self-employed/unemployed person looking to learn how to build a career as a writer or freelance creative? Send them this article for their growth.
Please take a minute to share my blog content if you loved the read. I’d love to hear from you and help you think through your marketing.
I train writers and freelancers. You can find my most recent Work From Fiverr course here: https://jonathanoladeji.com/work-with-fiverr/. Also find all my most valuable resources here: https://linktr.ee/damilolajonathanoladeji. Or go straight to my ebooks here: https://jonathanoladeji.com/downloads/. Send me a message if you have any business content or writing needs you’d like to discuss.