We have been trained to the 9-5 (or rather more realistically 8-7 including some weekends) lifestyle. Our education systems, social systems, are all designed around this.

We budget our lives around a short term pay cycle. We design our holidays around 2-5 weeks of annual leave. The easiest way to get a loan or mortgage is by having a 9-5 job. The smoothest path to the next job is to have a history of consistently employment in the same work.

It thus comes as no surprise when someone leaves full time employment for self employment, they leave with completely unrealistic expectations about the very different rhythms.

“Pay” cycles can run into months (especially with clients above a certain size). The money can be great, as long as you can budget well to even out the lumpy periods. Work doesn’t just appear initially; it can take months to build up a network of referrals. And it can take years to establish a respectable and solid online presence.

But this doesn’t necessarily make self employment hopeless or not worthwhile. We just need to go into it with our eyes wide open. And be prepared for hard work.