A few weeks ago I tried to open a new bank account with First Direct and I was mortified when they called to check I hadn’t made a mistake when filling in the application form.
“It says here that you earn just £5,000 a year. Is that correct, Miss Hill?” The voice said on the other end of the line. I could feel my cheeks burning.
“That’s correct,” I replied, wishing I’d missed a 0 off by mistake. “I’m newly self-employed so I’m not making much yet.” I felt so embarrassed – as if my inability to quickly get my business off the ground was something to be ashamed of.
This embarrassment is just one of many reasons I started job hunting a few weeks ago. Rather than returning to the world of digital marketing, I’ve been looking for part time roles in shops, bars and restaurants. That way, I figured I can release some of the financial pressure that comes with self-employment without having to commit to full-time work. I know that if I’m ever to get a full-time job again, I’ll struggle to find time to focus on my own projects. I therefore want to delay that for as long as possible.
After sending dozens of applications, getting my fair share of rejections and going for a few interviews, I was offered a 13-hour-a-week job in a supermarket.
When the manager said the words: “Your interview was successful and I’d like to offer you the job,” I almost burst into tears. “Oh my God. Thank you so much!” I yelled down the phone. She seemed surprised but pleased with my enthusiasm.
I know it might sound weird to get emotional over a job stacking shelves and selling cigs, but the news felt like a weight off my shoulders.
The money I earn from this will pay for my mortgage and some of my bills. If I do enough overtime, I might even be able to cover *all* my bills with this money.
My savings & freelance writing income will cover everything else.
I still want to turn my love for writing and money and writing about money into an empire as big as Beyonce’s but I’ve had to be realistic about how quickly I can achieve that. When I get a writing gig, it’s usually reasonably well paid, but I’m just not getting enough of them yet.
Another reason I’m excited about my new job is that I’ll actually be getting out the house and SEEING PEOPLE. In the interview I told the manager about how I’d been for a haircut and felt jealous of the hairdressers’ shared banter and in-jokes. I wanted that too. It’s something I’ve really missed since leaving my last job. Being forced to spend so much time alone over the last few months has taken some getting used to.
I can see the funny side of teaching people to be better with money while struggling to make it myself. The internet has us thinking that everyone else is thriving and doing well in their businesses but in reality, making enough to get by can be a struggle.
That’s why there’s nothing wrong with taking on part time work to tide yourself over. It’s much better to do that than to plunge yourself into debt in an attempt to keep up appearances.
When I was working full time, I’d look at full time bloggers and freelance writers with envy. I wanted what they had. I wanted the freedom and fulfilment that I assumed came from getting paid to do what they loved. I’d heard that freelancing was hard and that you have to tackle late payments, a non-existent pension, and an inability to switch off at the end of the day, but I didn’t think it’d be this hard.
A few weeks ago I hired a personal trainer. I know, I know. That might sound like a financially reckless decision considering I don’t have much money coming in right now. But I have savings I can use for this and I deserve some joy in my life.
During my consultation with my new trainer, we talked about the struggle of self-employment and he mentioned that when he’s not training clients or working in the gym, he works nights stacking shelves. I respected his willingness to do what it takes to pay the bills. It was then that I had this strange “Oh shit! I’m trying to do the same thing so maybe I should cut myself some slack!” realisation.
Knowing that other people are supporting their dreams with completely irrelevant work reassured me that I’m doing something I should be proud of. I hope that if you’re reading this in a why-am-i-not-earning-enough-money-yet panic, I can do the same for you!