Is self-employment all it is cracked up to be?

Is self-employment all it is cracked up to be?

Self-employed working is what many people dream of doing, being your own boss, working hours to suit you and basically being in control. The flipside though, is that it can be very isolating as you do not have the social interaction with work colleagues or people to help you with any problems.

The feeling of isolation is very prevalent in our industry for massage therapists as many work from home or do mobile massage as opposed to working in a team at a hotel spa or in a salon or clinic. It also applies to many other businesses too, so what can you do to get the support you need?

Why not set up a support group with some local business people you get on well with and who you know you can talk to easily and trust to give you honest opinions? Several years ago, I was part of a group and we called it our Power Group. We had all met through local networking, working on our own and with completely different businesses. There were six of us, a social media guru, image and colour consultant, personal trainer, conference rooms owner, HR specialist and me a massage therapist.

At our initial meeting we all set our goals for 5 years, 1 year and 3 months and then we would meet every 3 months to review our action plans and discuss if we had met them, if anything had changed, or why we may have failed to meet our targets. The good thing about this was the accountability but also receiving input from people outside of your industry. Sometimes when you are so involved with your business it is difficult to step back and review things objectively. It is often said that it is easier to sell someone else’s business than to sell your own and I think this is why, and so to have a group of people who are in business but also willing to give you their honest opinions and see things from an outside perspective is invaluable.

Needless to say, over time, it became more than business goals as we all became good friends and so life goals were also discussed but why not? Being in business is a big part of life. It was also interesting to see how our initial goals changed over time too, either through the businesses or our lives taking unexpected turns.

At the moment, with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is difficult to meet up, but virtual meetings could be arranged with like-minded people. It’s also good from a mental health point of view, not feeling that you are on your own and that if you need help with anything there is someone there who can either help you themselves or know someone who can. It is also uplifting and motivational to speak with other people you can feel comfortable with at the same time as getting business done.