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Are You Working Today

Are you working today? Quite a standard question we hear, isn’t it? But for some reason I have never been able to answer this with a straight yes or no answer and I’m fairly certain most self-employed people will feel the same.
The truth is in the last 7 years there hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t done some kind of work. The job as a self-employed cake maker and tutor goes far beyond the job title. Any self-employed person will understand this.

Social media plays a huge and vital role in today’s society in building any global business especially in the creative sector like my business. Creating regular content for this alone is a massive task and something that needs maintaining daily. Now let’s talk about my “inboxes”. How many inboxes can one have? Every single day without fail I get multiple messages across Facebook, Instagram, email, TikTok and WhatsApp. The more my social media grows the more messages I receive. Unfortunately, this includes hundreds of spam messages weekly. These need to be weeded out and deleted before I can see my genuine enquiries. This alone is a huge task and quite simply never ending. Believe me the internet and social media never sleeps! I have learnt to be kind to myself as has Mr Bouqcakes, We, now both turn off our phones at bedtime because being a global business someone else is just waking up and not everyone realises, we are based in the UK and will ring or message us whilst we are asleep. So, I apologise if you don’t get a speedy response but I also hope you understand why.

During the day, I find myself checking my inboxes whenever I have a spare moment. In the waiting room at the doctors or the dentist, when in the supermarket queue or waiting for my children to come out of school, work follows me wherever I go. This is the price we all pay for being a successful business, so I’m not complaining, just highlighting it.

So, what else am I managing alongside the obvious cake making and tutoring and social media? Well, there is stock purchases and stock control, the payroll, designing of new online classes, customer service, managing my online student groups, writing blogs, the list is quite literally endless but guess what, I love it!

I’m lucky enough to now have a few trusted staff members who I can happily delegate to and I really wouldn’t be without them plus obviously my Mum who is always in the background supporting me.

I do believe that you need to be a certain kind of person to be successfully self-employed. It takes a great deal of mental energy and commitment. You have to be proactive to keep your business growing and advancing. If you had asked in my early 20’s I would have said I wasn’t that kind of person but we all have hidden strengths that you just have to learn to tap into. I don’t think I had even heard of TikTok when I first opened my business but now it is one of the largest growing social media platforms and plays a huge role in my business today. Evolving with the times is probably one of my biggest challenges, as IT is not my strong point but yet without it, I would not be where I am today, not even close!

Yes, there are days where I feel overwhelmed, yes there are days when I don’t really want to face my inbox but we are only human and we are allowed to have days like that. Take them for what they are, a reminder that we are human and get drained sometimes, so step back and press the refresh button, go and have a spa day or a cup of tea (a very English occupation “having a cuppa”) with your friend. It is normal, so be kind to yourself. Then bounce back full of renewed enthusiasm.

Although I work every day to some extent, I do still make family time a big focus and make sure when I go on holidays I switch off as much as possible. I always need to keep an overview on things but I’m OK with that. My business is too precious to let slip so I have learnt (still learning!!) to balance and manage both.

So, would I change being self-employed for employment? Absolutely not! I am doing a job that I love, following a dream and a passion at the same time as being my own boss. It’s exciting and fulfilling and I am in many ways excited to see what other opportunities might come my way. I get to set my own goals, rules, manage my own schedule and for that I feel so incredibly fortunate. I nearly used the word lucky but I really don’t see it as luck, I see it as hard work, self-discipline and determination.

It’s amazing to see so many of my students making their own paths into self-employment. I am honest and transparent with all of my students and they know first hand what it takes to make a business work and I have huge respect for them all. My best piece of advice to the newly self-employed is to effectively manage your work life balance from day one. You want to avoid reaching burnout as this can be damaging to not only your mental health and personal relationships but ultimately it can negatively impact the productivity of your business. I learnt the hard way!

This is my story of an ongoing journey and the rest is still unwritten. I am excited about what new challenges will land at my door.
Keep moving forward.