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As both a therapist and a workplace consultant I have been heavily involved in helping people improve their quality of working lives and their workplace relationships for over 20 years. I’m also someone who has been self-employed most of my working life, and a serial entrepreneur. I also learned a huge amount from my father, who was self-employed too.

I have been reading a lot lately about how people are responding to the uncertainty of our times by creating so-called ‘lifestyle jobs’ that allow more freedom and satisfaction, as an alternative to the daily grind.

At one time it was older people who opted for the entrepreneurial route, but increasingly younger ones are choosing to earn a living their own way; I read this week about a couple straight out of university who have set up a dog-walking company. According to the same articles in the UK media dog-walkers earn an average of £26,500 a year.

It makes sense to take matters into your own hands and construct a career you like. Apparently, only about 5% of people pick the job that is right for them at the fist try, and even if you are lucky enough to find the right fit for you in terms of the work you are expected to do, the pressure of how you are expected to do it can be at best unpleasant, at worst, devastating.

If you are thinking of opting out of the rat-race I recommend it, but check first if you are cut out for it; self-employment don’t suit everyone. We also need reliable people to keep our organisations running (where would we be if we were all working for ourselves?).

Perhaps you are tempted to create your own career by following your dream, or maybe circumstances force you to be self-reliant in earning a living. If either is the case for you it has never been easier, thanks to the Internet, and you can quite literally set up a business with associated bank account in under an hour. You can also find unlimited business help and advice. What you won’t find though, is sensible advice and support about the psychological and emotional factors involved in working for yourself.

Self employment is not for the faint-hearted. It requires optimism, faith, trust in oneself, ingenuity, belief, and much more. It needs the ability to take risks and try new things. There are plenty of times when it means you have to work without reward, approval or recognition. In short, you’ll be doing what you first and foremost for yourself alone, and  do because you believe you can (though there’ll be plenty of times when you doubt that as well).

As you can see, I truly believe that working for yourself and relying on your own talents is a great way to go, just be prepared.


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