How I Became Self-Employed

This title sounds self-involved. I don’t intend it to be. It’s just that I remember how it used to seem impossible, so unlike I. Now that circumstances have changed it seems like the new normal. I have a hard time imagining going back. The thought of doing so feels like stepping back into a box. Not being able to sit up fully straight or relax your shoulders too much.

The truth is it happened by accident on my part. And in increments. There wasn’t really an inspirational moment of truth or boldness. Rather, there was a moment of insight that it was now the best course of action to take. Not to mention a surprisingly deep-seated preference for it I might add. It’s funny how you think these parts of you are lost forever or grown out of, and then they turn out to have just been sleeping and come back in full force.

It all started about 11 months ago with my first “graduate type” job. Working with Salesforce. It was as much or more to do with my father as it was to my personal quality. A bit of worthiness and nepotism both. It’s always about both suitablility and knowing someone in some measures though. Society prefers those who are high on the first and low on the last. As for suitability, my demonstrated ability to learn and self-teach new things (notably physics) was the most important part and I’ve come to see why. The entire 11 months has been a non-stop learning experience. It seems that not once have I sat back, sipped some tea by the fire and said that this is what the job description said it would be. Relaxed that I needn’t learn anything new to perform my job. As someone who very nearly went to medical school but chose this instead (due to lifestyle reasons), believe me when I say it’s no walk in the park intellectually.

A voice hidden amongst that preceding paragraph speaks the first essential part of having a business: actually having a service to offer people.

The next step wasn’t even my own. I called up a contact in the industry asking about his business and blog, then he offered me a job. Such is a high growth industry. But it wasn’t a job, it was an independent contracting role. Probably so he had less responsibility on his part. This required me to get an Australian Business Number.

A month later I connected the dots and decided that I was indeed self-employed. My Facebook employment status changing to self-employed was actually the only known event of something happening faster than the speed of light – the change occurring faster than the electrons which transmitted the signal. I’ve made sure to remind all of my Facebook contacts at least twice a week since then. My whole air changed.I decided that I was of a higher caliber than most (since they were employed rather than owning a successful business) and deserving of more space on public transport.

I decided that since it was the same work being done anyway and merely a different legal arrangement, I would insist on an independent contracting agreement in all of my roles henceforth. This may have been the happiest and most expansive month of my whole life. Such a shock it’s been to my system that it’s the only known event of a change in personality type in my life: from INTP to INTJ.

I’ve slowly and steadily inched forward in various ways. The moment to make a new move usually at the time that I’ve become grounded enough in the changes of the last round of “expansion”. Changing the business name to something sexy, setting up a business account, experimenting with bookkeeping, starting a website, getting G-suite. Today I started using Simpleology again because I found myself lacking a “dream catcher”: somewhere to catch my fleeting thoughts about what it would be good to do next. To my delight they now have an iPhone app but to my ire they have intensified the marketing psychology/influence aspect of it to monumental proportions.

One good thing about running a business is that it presents virtually unlimited potential for expansion. At least it feels that way. I’ve felt it deeply satisfying to be a jack of all trades: writing blog posts one minute, thinking about accounting the next, putting your public relations hat on when posting on Facebook, interacting from a place of greater groundedness and initiative with others. This is all in addition to the core work itself. It does seem to get a bit sickly when it stops presenting an opportunity for growth. It’s like an extension of who you are, a conceptual machine that molds like putty in your hands and seems real every time it edges forth into the world. Capable of dealing with it in ways that one never truly could, as only an idea can. All at once intoxicating and rousing, liberating and grounding.