3 Reasons Working for Yourself is Harder than Working for Someone Else

Book Signing at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, downtown Chicago, circa 2014

It is more challenging to work for yourself in my opinion than someone else. My husband and I both run our own businesses. Here’s why it’s more of a challenge:

  • You Can’t Be Lazy

I know, you work for yourself, why can’t you? The truth is that though it’s more freedom, this freedom is a doubled edged sword. Having and running your own business is different than working a 9-5. When you work a 9-5 you’re expected to be there every day and on time and you can have paid times off or vacations or just decide not to come into work today. Pull that when you’re your own boss and it’s the difference between buying groceries and going hungry. The truth is that when you work for yourself you can’t be lazy. Instead of getting paid per hour, you’re getting paid per client and it is how you pay your bills and provide for your family. Not putting in work means to literally not get paid that day.

  • More Discipline

This goes hand in hand with not being lazy. Working for yourself requires more discipline. The reason is because when you work a 9-5 you have days off. When you work for yourself, however, you have to create those days and it’s tempting to procrastinate or put things off. Even though I work from home I still must discipline myself to get up early. There are only so many hours in a day and the earlier you get up the more you can get done. First of all, I need to get a good workout in to get the juices pumping and then I have to get to work which works well if I get up early enough. For my personal business, it’s more so building. Since I don’t have any “clients” yet what I don’t spend in money I spend in time. Researching, writing, blogging, sending off packages, marketing, promotion, and organizing.

However, since I am also the Vice President for my husband’s contracting business, I only have a certain amount of time to do certain things so I do not neglect any key responsibilities. My husband calls it “clocking in”. I call it walking into the office with a cup of coffee in my PJs. Though liberating, I have to constantly remind myself to take breaks and because I make my own schedule I have to incorporate my own vacations. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because when you work for yourself you’re never off. Your phone is constantly ringing from clients, your email and text messages are overflowing with new messages, and you’re just overall always locked in. My husband had to literally talk me into writing last weeks Black History Fun Fact Friday article. If it was not for him you all would not have had a BHFFF article for real. After grocery shopping, putting up food, and cleaning the kitchen I certainly didn’t feel like researching on the computer. But my husband’s work ethic is amazing and he does not let me slack off.  Truth is, people think that not having a “job” means you have all the time in the world and that you spend your days staring at the wall. In reality, I rarely have time to watch TV. (My version of TV is CNN as background noise). So, breaks such as movie night is something that we create.

  • Taking Breaks

10603772_720596317976228_4749338203801196478_nSince I mentioned breaks, I figured I should go ahead and list this one for the last bullet point. When you work for yourself you must schedule your own breaks. This sounds simple, but it’s not. Entrepreneurs are largely made up of what people call workaholics. The truth is not everyone is a workaholic, it’s just that when you make your own money you’re constantly working (as I’ve just mentioned) because nothing is guaranteed and every cent is earned. Therefore, business owners must create schedules to ensure they don’t lose their minds. We must create our own days off and vacations (mine is coming up, whoo hoo!) When we return, we’re reminded of why working for yourself is so much more mentally challenging. Everything we put off has piled up and so the grind continues but….

I would do it all again in another lifetime.

When you own your own business, you don’t just have more control but you gain so many more valuable skills, such as being more accountable for your actions and being more attentive to your surroundings and the behavior of people. You learn to do things like take the initiative (doing what needs to be done without being told) which is a great leadership skill. There’s something about doing the work yourself that gives you a different way of looking at the world, a new perspective, and a higher level of discipline and responsibility. In addition, the reward for all of this work is well worth it. The benefits of entrepreneurship certainly outweigh the challenges.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release summer, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release (coming soon) for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Struggling authors, please read.

Fav Post Quote: ” If you can connect with one person a day, even one person a week as an author, you are doing fantastic. Being an author isn’t a race, and if you treat it like one, you’re setting yourself up for failure, because we don’t all run at the same speeds. Instead, take it slow, build real connections with real people, and they will love you as an author and be your fan for life. Hollow Facebook “likes” mean nothing over a true fan that admires you and your work, trust me.”

That’s what matters to me frfr. If I’ve reached ONE of you, I’ve done my job. Cheers. I’ll toast to that.

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Author Kyle Perkins

By Kyle Perkins.

So lately I have heard from a few people that they feel like they should just give up on writing because for whatever reason, they are feeling like it just isn’t worth it anymore. Whether they feel like they aren’t getting enough attention, don’t have enough fans, or whatever the case may be, they are wrong, and here’s why.

Writers and authors have a gift, and because we have that gift, we have an obligation, a responsibility to use it. We may “just” arrange words in such a fashion that people enjoy reading them, but a heart surgeon “just” transplants hearts, and astronauts “just” go to space. We need to stop treating writing like it is simply a hobby that “anyone” can do, because that’s not the case. We “just” take people to places they can’t go on their own, and give them a form of escapism…

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Resume Writing

This post was prompted by a friend who contacted me because she needed help writing a resume. Before I started fiction writing full time, which I am really only able to do financially because of my husband’s financial support and our collective investment, I was an administrative specialist at a community center. One of my primary duties included helping people to write resumes, complete job applications, mock interviews, and basically the overall job search campaign which included sometimes adult tutoring, especially in the area of computers.

The increase in technology has changed the way that we view everything. From book publishing, printing, and even resume writing. Thing is, you don’t have to do so much writing anymore. What happens now is that your resume will go through a screening process by a computer, which looks up Keywords as it relates to that particular market. If your resume “passes”, that is to say those keywords were found, it will move on to the recruiters’ desk. If your resume “fails” however, it will not even be seen by the employer. Sounds unfair I know but that’s the world we live in.

To make matters easy, you really only need a few sections and minimal writing skills to build a presentable resume:

• Objective OR Professional Profile
• Career History
• Educational Background
• Skills

You can add references as well but that’s even becoming extinct in the area of most importance on a resume (most places want your references during the interview or post resume process). What’s the most important bullet point here? It’s not your educational background, not even your employment history. These days, employers want to hire people they can train and mold into their ideal company representative so there’s a lot of people being rejected because of being “overqualified”. That’s because employers are not really looking for the most intelligent anymore. They are looking for someone who knows how to follow basic instructions and who will not challenge the company’s authority more so than how many degrees someone has. Even when it comes to experience, someone with these basic skills can be hired in a larger capacity than someone with years of job experience in that area. The most important section of your resume today is the “Skills” section.

Depending on what kind of job you’re looking for, make a list of your skills as it relates to that particular position. Write it on a spare piece of paper or whatever but just write down as many as you can. Go to your resume and under “Skills” list them all. Here’s an example of someone applying to a job in the area of Social Media Specialist:

• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Brand Identity
• Twitter Management
• Digital Asset Management
• Media Planning /Buying
• Facebook Advertising
• Market Research
• Technology Implementation
• Project Management
• Blogging /Blog Commenting

You may notice I included terms like “Blogging”, “Facebook Advertising”, and “Twitter Management”. This may not seem important but it is, leave nothing out. Any skill you have can be listed here. Sometimes people are looking for employment without really having had a job before and they think they have no skills. You’re alive and breathing aren’t you? Then you have skills! Everyone has something they can do or that they are good at. I don’t care if it’s babysitting, that’s something you can write down. It’s all about understanding the language. Turn “I watch my sister’s children” into keywords like:

• Child Care Development                    < you are responsible for their well-being
• Cooking / Meal Preparation               < you cook for the children
• Creative Initiative                               < you have to find something for them to do
• Cleaning / Antiseptic Management   < you clean up after the children

This will ensure your resume gets through the computer screening process. Now all you really have to do is polish up the other parts of the resume. It is also important, in my opinion, to have more than one resume for the different jobs to which you are applying. This is because a resume for Lead Cook at a restaurant will not look the same, or have the same keywords, as a resume for a school teacher. It is also important to update your resume at least yearly. If you change jobs often, every six months.

Remember, the resume is not designed to get you the job which is a truth I think many of us lose sight of. If you aren’t hired it’s not because your resume was bad, it’s because of other key factors that play a role. Your resume’s job is not to get you the job, its job is to get your foot in the door and by foot in the door I mean: past the screening, into the recruiters’ hands and your butt in the Interview chair.

Note: Oh, and if you can, try to limit your resume to one page. It looks more professional. Here’s a sample:

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Choices

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The Story

 
When enrolling in college was one of the most important and exciting times in my life, I couldn’t make it to her office fast enough. I cannot recall her name, only the exciting rush of anxiety that ignited in my heart and up to the creases of my face. She wasn’t anyone of particular specialty or significance, but what she represented was indeed important. She was my academic adviser and seeing her meant that I was on the road to something great. If I had not “made it” it was the step in the right direction. Little did I know the kind of revelations choosing this particular institution would cough up for me. Little did I know how much my life would change from this seemingly unimportant choice, which would have nothing to do with school, academia, or some fancy certificate to prove to the world how much I actually lacked in knowledge.

 
But on that day, I was deeply troubled to find a need to rush home immediately, shortly after my excited arrival to her door, (though I had not registered my classes), which ran me the risk of not being able to attend the classes I was so excited to be a part of. As I sat in front of her I quickly chose the additional courses required of me which I had not deeply thought about, I was just anxious to leave due my intense emergency. Thus, for that reason (which I am not apt to mention here because it’s just none of your business 🙂 ),  I discontinued my journey for the solemn one back home.

 
When I returned to the source of my redemption (so I thought back then), I found to my great disappointment the closing of one of my classes. Pieces of my day had so perfectly fit into its own schedule like the perfect puzzle, each class ending in time for the next one to begin, all in order like the perfect lyric over a tight beat—all was well. Except, now a word was out of place, a sentence incomplete; fragments of a schedule now off beat. “Why?” I asked myself, “…did I have to take a class so off schedule?” Unlike the rest, this African American studies course was the only class I had that day in the middle of the day (and it wasn’t even one of my primary classes, it was the one I rushed and chose the day before). I would now have to take public transportation (as I did not drive then), to this now dreadful place for one single class; this I did not have the bus fare for, and so you can imagine my discontent. However, seeing it was the only available course left I settled, and took the class anyway.

 
It didn’t turn out so bad though, and the first day of class would change my life forever. It would be the day I would actually meet my husband, and I would hear the voice of truth for the first time in 19 years. Instead of it being a dreadful one, this day would instead be something like the night before a revolution.

The Message

Choice

The purpose of this story is to show you the value in each decision we make. No matter how small or minute it may seem, each decision creates for us the next path like a molding of clay does a new form. Whether it is our desire to pursue a new career, attend a class or decide to take the bus North instead of South, every single decision you make puts you on the path to your tomorrow. It sounds cliche, but most cliches are such because of the depth of its truth. As each way has already been determined from the foundation of the world, we nonetheless make manifest that which has been done with the decisions we make. The irony in foresight is that we don’t have to be given the gift of hearing a doorbell ring before it does to possess this gift. But it exists naturally already in those who choose to acknowledge it. We may not be able to physically see the glass vase fall before it does, but we can choose to move it away from the edge of the counter, seeing that it may fall. We can decide what the next day will be like simply by carefully paying attention to each choice presented before us, letting truth lead, but choosing truth in the first place.

 

If we can choose our thoughts carefully, molding them into the right words and transforming these words into the exact representation of the action necessary for obedience; if faith can become works and works can produce righteousness, then maybe, just maybe we can develop a sense of foresight we didn’t know we had. Giving birth to a gift whose seed was already planted inside of us, but that we didn’t realize we had because we thought choosing to have cereal instead of oatmeal this morning was just about breakfast.

Why Poets Are Poor

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I am NOT your Sonia Sanchez, your Langston Hughes, your James Baldwin or Maya Angelou. In fact, my name may never find itself uttered among the world greats. And I’m fine with that. No, I LOVE that.

Not ALL poets are poor, but I think the best ones are. They are the people who still keep notebooks, who carry life, love, frustration, and pain; an endless conglomerate of emotions, a pencil and pad in their purses and suitcases. These people write during lunch, on blog posts, and between rocks and hard places. They are not baptized by the lens of cameras and they publish books because they want to read them.

Yes indeed, poor poets are the best. Though money can be made, I wouldn’t recommend someone dedicate poetry to a career that forces one to write or be restricted to certain topics. I think a good poem takes patience. That one must wait and listen. As a career, this may require one to write on demand. This, I believe, robs the poet of all sincerity, and degrades the passion of his piece. Rainer Maria Rilke said it  best:

“To be an artist means not to compute or count; it means to ripen as the tree, which does not force its sap, but stands unshaken in the storms of spring with no fear that summer might not follow. It will come regardless. But it comes only to those who live as though eternity stretches before them, carefree, silent, and endless. I learn it daily, learn it with many pains for which I am grateful: Patience is all.” – Rainer Maria Rilke