It’s famine. You need work.  There is rent to pay, children to feed, car to tax – you are worried.  You phone around your contacts.  You network. You work on your website.  Days and weeks go by.  Nothing.  Then thank heavens – someone offers you a job.  It’s not well paid, in fact it’s half what you usually charge.  Then again it’s something.  It would at least pay half next month’s rent.  Maybe it won’t take so long…you hope – some jobs go really smoothly!  You take it.  Phew at least I’ve got some work.  The moment you do, someone else calls.  Another job – not brilliant pay, but better.  Great, the work is starting to come in! I’ll take it, I’m on a roll!

The first job starts.  Oh dear, it isn’t going to go smoothly, you can tell straight away.  Oh well you think, I had to take it, I had no work.  Now your networking pays off.  Someone calls with a great job.  It’s good pay and the right kind of work.  The only trouble is that with job one and two, you know it’s more than you can handle really, not with the deadlines people have asked for.  Then again, can you afford to turn it down?  The first job isn’t well paid so you could still really do with the money.  Plus, it was really scary for a while back there in famine, you definitely don’t want to go back there.  You take it.  You’ll have to work weekends and evenings but hey, it’ll work out.  You strategise ways of breaking this to the family.

Then would you believe it, someone else calls.  You’re annoyed.  Why couldn’t they have called last month you ask yourself?  It is now feast. You have more work than you can handle.  You tell them you’ll call back next week to see if you can squeeze it in.  Maybe if the other jobs go super quickly, you could do it.  You work twelve hour shifts.  You know there are people who might be emailing you but you have not a hope of doing your emails as well.   Even phone calls get in the way, you start to hope it never rings.  The weeks go by.  You forget call number four that you were going to call back, you couldn’t even think about another job.  You battle your deadlines.  You win, you do a good job.  Finally job number three is completed.  They are delighted. You are delighted.  This is surely the big break.  It will just naturally flow from here.  Your family have hardly seen you.  You spend some time with them.  You check your emails… at last.   There is nothing in the diary again, but hey you just worked your socks off and finances will handle it for a while so the first week you’re not too worried.  Then your tax bill arrives.  You need work.  There is rent to pay, children to feed, a tax bill to pay.  Yes – it’s back!  It’s famine!

Sound familiar?  There aren’t many self-employed people who don’t recognise that pattern.  In my next blog I’ll be suggesting some ways to start to address the issue.