What I Wish I Could Tell You: Being Self-Employed
I love talking about how I’m a Chicago wedding planner. Going to networking events is fun because almost everyone has an anecdote or a question about what it means to be in the wedding world (and I will totally write a post about that some day; about how weird and cool, interesting and tough the wedding industry is). Today, is for the questions I get about being self-employed.
People have amazing questions. Almost everyone is curious about the structure of my work or the seemingly unlimited vacation days. Most times, we are not in a place fit for a Ted talk so I do the best I can to give a real idea of what it means to be self-employed. Nonetheless there are some things I wish I could say, but do not have the right avenue. So I hope this gives you a look into the life of the creative-industry-self-employed folk you know (ya know, like me).
Our work hours are funky. In the wedding industry, because we are so service oriented, that means we’ll have a lot of meetings and phone calls when people are no longer at work. Weekends are no longer weekends, Mondays are our days off and sometimes we’ll be up until midnight just cranking out work. I promise, we do not like saying no to dinner or missing group outings, but we love being able to serve our couples in ways that are convenient for them.
We are our biggest competition. I am full-time self-employed, so my work goals are drastically different than those who do this part-time as a mom, or as a side-hustle. We each have our own benchmarks and our own inner drive because there are no comparable businesses to the ones we own. So trust me when I say I really am busting my booty.
It’s all personal. While I work endlessly to feel like my business is not a reflection of myself, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. I write every blog post, I write every Instagram caption, copy on my website and then of course, I am the one who makes sure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. While I have a team of helpers, it’s still me through and through.
It can be lonely. I’ve learned to love working alone when I didn’t think I would, and I talk about that here, but I still work alone. When I don’t know how to do something, it’s me googling and researching. When I’m having a bad day, it’s me picking myself up to keep working. Celebrations, yeah, just me. Sometimes, I want that built in mentorship/affirmation system that goes with a team or a manager people have in corporate. But, I don’t, and that’s an extra challenge for self-love and balance.
On the flip side, I am so grateful for those who show up to support me. There are people I expected to be there and fell short. It stings. You hope those that say they love and support you will be your cheerleaders, and it is the opposite. But then one day, you get a random DM from a high school classmate cheering you on, and it all goes away. The genuine support from those who were not expected to care, fills my heart with so much gratitude.
One last thing before we continue on with our days. I get a lot of “let me know how I can help.” Well folks, Let. Me. Tell. You. SHARE! I once booked a wedding simply because we had 4 mutual friends on Facebook. FOUR, only FOUR. If you’re curious how you can support your self-employed friends…when someone gets engaged, a simple “Oh hey, I have this friend, let me send you her website.” does WONDERS. Word of mouth referrals are the best way to gain trust and support and I promise your friend will feel so supported.
I hope this helps you all understand why I’m extremely excited to talk to real humans at night, because I’m usually just talking to my Instagram Stories.