I’ve been my own boss for a year now. A year and a day, actually, given the existence of 29 February. A whole 366 days without pointless meetings, petty office politics, red tape, commuter hell and overpriced coffee. As you can probably tell, I don’t miss my old existence at all. It was making me stressed, tired and bordering on ill. Going it alone was still a gamble though. There was no guarantee that I would make enough to support the family and, as the only earner, I was taking a massive risk. A different kind of leap year, if you will.
I got a few looks from people in my old job who thought I was mad for turning down another year with a pay rise that would have taken me to around the £40k mark. It was pleasing to tell them that I was going to Berlin as a guest of Coca-Cola the following week! So my year got off to a good start and, to be honest, I haven’t looked back.
Since taking the leap, I’ve gone from being a freelancer to a professional blogger. More by accident than design, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since writing my first post in 2010. The freelance opportunities have diminished but the work that has come my way thanks to this blog has increased sharply.
Finally, I have a job that I love and get to spend much more time with my family than I used to. This takes me to another major plus of my decision to go it alone – being around more following the birth of Amelie.
As my own boss, I didn’t have to worry about arranging paternity leave or taking extra holiday. Given her dramatic arrival and the extra time Kate needed to recover, I would have needed to take extra time. And this wouldn’t have been popular where I worked! I’m happy that I’ve had plenty of opportunity to bond with Amelie and, of course, to spend more time with Kate, Dylan and Xander.
Just in case ‘professional blogger’ sounds lucrative and glamorous, I can promise you that it isn’t! It’s hard work like any other job I’ve had. I’ve earned well below the average UK salary since going pro, but it’s been enough to pay for five of us – and the cat! – without slipping into debt. And that’s why I believe that anyone can do what I’ve done if they put their mind to it.
So, if you’re like I was a year ago and thinking about making a big change, go for it. Life is simply too short for misery and regrets. I may be financially poorer than I was, but I’m so much happier and money can’t buy that.
Just don’t wait for the next leap year to do it!