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How I've Changed After 1 Year of Self Employment

July 27, 2016

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Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? Kayla outlines everything that's changed for her over the past year of self-employment. What questions do you have about being your own boss?Last year, I was getting ready to walk out the door at my full-time job for the last time.

I was experiencing a rainbow of emotions as I packed up my office and put everything into my car to go home. I felt everything from excitement and joy, to complete and utter fear.

Over the next few days, I spent my days having the highest highs and lowest lows I’d ever experienced in my life.

I went from “This feels like a vacation. I hope I never have to go back to work at a “real job”!” to “Is it too late to get my job back?” all in the same day.

Nearly every afternoon for the first week of self-employment I cried and worried that I wouldn’t make it.

I have a lot of pride and I knew having to go back and look for a traditional job again would feel like the biggest defeat. Even if no one said so, I would feel shame and embarrassment for having failed at running my own business.

Although everyone said how brave it was to quit my job to pursue the unknowns of self-employment, I didn’t feel brave. I felt scared.

Now I’ve been running my business full-time for 1 year and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.

How I’ve Changed

I’ve experienced some huge successes, like increasing my income by over 3X what I was once earning and getting published on The Huffington Post last week. My business has also had some serious growing pains. I’ve gotten new clients, secured raises, and hired on contractors to help me with my workload.

But even with all these awesome things, I still feel self-doubt sometimes and I wonder if I’ll ever stop wanting to “get to the next level” with my business.

This drive to succeed is a good thing, but it can also take over your life if you let it.

Sometimes I look back at myself pre-self employment and I feel like a completely different person. I feel like now I’m Kayla 2.0.

Going from employee to #girlboss has helped me grow so much as a person. I know I have a greater understanding of myself, what I enjoy, and what I don’t want to do.

I’ve had to make hard decisions about letting clients go, valuing things other than just money, and the ethics of some things people do to earn money online.

What I’ve Learned

A lot of self-employed people I know often say they would never want to go back to a “traditional” job, and I used to feel that way too. But while reflecting on this during a recent recording for my podcast, I realized that’s not entirely true.

I might at some point decide to go back to a traditional job. If I do, I know what type of job I thrive at. I think a lot of the unhappiness people feel at work is because they take jobs they are not suited for. Instead of continuing to look for a better fit, they just remain where they are and continue to be more and more unhappy.

Maybe some of these life realizations and changes would have happened even if I hadn’t quit my job to be self-employed, but I don’t think one can truly know themselves until they’ve pushed themselves to do what truly scares them. Last year that meant quitting my job to be self-employed. I’m not sure what’s next, but if I want to keep growing, I have to find ways to push my comfort zone.

A conversation I had with a friend a few years ago about comfort zones has stuck with me ever since. What I learned is that your comfort zone is not static. If you don’t continue to push yourself and try new things, your comfort zone will shrink. Now that I’ve pushed myself a few times by doing things that scare me, I don’t want to go back to my little box. I want to keep growing and changing.

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Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? Kayla outlines everything that's changed for her over the past year of self-employment. What questions do you have about being your own boss?

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13 responses to “How I've Changed After 1 Year of Self Employment

  1. I will have to say that this is pretty encouraging. Setting a goal on when to leave your day job has a stream of mixed emotions. For the most part it’s exciting yet scary as there is a fear of the unknown. I appreciate that you have stayed determined and stuck it out to be example to others.

    1. Thanks Lorin! It’s VERY scary to leave a secure paycheck for the unknown. I’m very happy with my decision to do so, even though there are times when I miss being able to be just an employee instead of the boss.

  2. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary! I felt similar highs and lows immediately after I quit my job too. The first couple months were the hardest for me. I struggled with confidence to make it on my own and worried I wasn’t good enough to go for it! Thanks for sharing this – not many people write about the low’s that come with the high’s. It’s super exciting to follow your journey!

    1. Thanks Kristin! I do love being self-employed, but it’s definitely a walk in the park. I have a better routine now, but I still have tough days now and then. You’re doing awesome with your business too. 🙂

  3. It’s so great to hear from others who have increased their income – sometimes drastically – by quitting their full-time jobs to be self-employed. It’s a route that I’m considering taking “one day” (for sure not until my wife is done with grad school, so 2+ years minimum). It’s nice to see others succeed because it shows you it’s possible. Congrats on 1 year and all your success!

    1. Thanks DC! My business income (gross) is about 3X my old take-home pay at my job. After business expenses and savings, I’m still making about 2X as much as before and I’m always looking for ways to increase it. The sky is the limit, which is what I like the most. I don’t have to wait for an annual performance review to get a small raise. I can raise rates at any point as my skills continue to grow or by obtaining higher paying clients. I love the control that being self employed gives me.

    1. Thanks Tonya! Yes, I’ve seen you post about it. I’m so glad you are enjoying your full-time job. Being more at peace with your work situation is important no matter if you are self employed or work for someone else.

  4. Wow, this is a great reflection! Your honesty and straightforwardness is refreshing. I also think you make a really good point about people taking traditional jobs that aren’t a good fit and being unhappy with them, or staying in traditional jobs that slowly become a bad fit. Traditional jobs can be very freeing in many ways when they’re a good fit!

    I often find myself torn between two opposite beliefs: life is short and life is long. When I’m embracing the ‘life is short’ belief, I am reluctant to settle for a job I don’t feel is perfect in most ways and I am impatient to reach my life goals, but I often feel most energized and engaged in life. When I embrace the ‘life is long’ belief, I have the perspective to remember that there is room in my professional life for many changes, left turns, and adjustments, but sometimes feel I have to sacrifice my daily happiness (ie, staying in a job that isn’t a good fit to save for a transition). I don’t think either perspective is entirely correct or entirely incorrect, but it seems to align with your great comment about comfort zones not being static!

    Sorry for the wordiness 🙂 this was a great post and really got me thinking!

    1. I love hearing from readers about this kind of thing. I totally get what you are saying about life being short and life being long. I think the reason we go back and forth between those types of thinking is because in some ways, they are both correct. I think life can be what you make of it, and I truly believe people have a lot more control over their life circumstances and happiness than they think. But I know there are times when life can throw some tough curveballs to people and there is a distinct difference between people who have the means to change their life easily and those who have to work so much harder to overcome their life circumstances.

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