This is a collaborative post.
Regular readers will know that I left my full time job with the council in May 2019, taking the opportunity for voluntary redundancy very happily. I had had my fill of local government, especially watching and feeling the impact of services being slashed as budgets were cut over several years. I decided to take my redundancy money and try self-employed life.
At the end of my first year, I have learned some lessons for sure! I never expected it to be easy, nor to make a fortune out of my chosen path. However, I also did not expect a pandemic to create such a bumpy ride!
Even with the current situation and the inevitable economic fall out, I don’t regret the decision I took. Self-employed life suits me. At this point, I will only go back to working for someone else if there is no possible way to make enough money myself.
I love that I can get up when I like and work when I want. If I prefer to work early morning or into the evening I can. When I need time off I can take it. I ask the boss (me) and she almost always says yes… On a sunny day, I can even take my laptop in the garden!
I also enjoy working at home. As I like my own company, being alone a lot of the time is a blessed relief after 10 years of a loud and busy open plan office. I do sometimes miss my colleagues, but still see them. I have also found a network of supportive fellow bloggers and resellers to chat to and consult with.
Another bonus of self-employed life is that we have finally been able to get a dog! Lovely Archie, the cocker poo puppy, who is the new love of my life (sorry, Mr S). It’s been lovely having him trotting around after me all day, even if he does have a habit of chewing anything you are silly enough to leave within his reach…
I have a few sources of income, but the two main ones are blogging and selling on eBay.
How do you make money from blogging? There are various different possibilities. You can allow advertisements, you can accept paid collaborations and sponsored posts and you can do affiliate marketing.
I do a mix of all of these, although a lot of the time I am still writing posts just because I want to. Early on, I decided I didn’t want my blog to become simply a series of sponsored posts. After all, I wrote it for years before I attempted to monetise it in any way. I didn’t want to lose my voice and the readership I had built up, even if it meant making less money.
Everyone wants something for nothing
I could make a lot more money if I accepted work from payday loan companies, gambling and ‘adult’ brands, etc., but I don’t want to! It wouldn’t sit well with a blog about saving money and frugality at all.
I have also learned that when you blog you get a lot of companies wanting you to give them something for nothing. Every day my inbox is filled with badly written and matey emails from PR people offering me a ‘valuable free resource’ for my readers. This is often in the form of an infographic or article giving them free publicity, rather than offering anything my readership would be interested in.
I used to offer a polite apology, but now these go straight into the bin.
One up from those wanting something for nothing are those who offer an undisclosed fee, but when you go back to them with a reasonable price for the amount of work they expect you to do, frequently come back with ‘I’m sorry, but my budget is $20. $20 is about £16 at the time of writing, and I’m not about to fill up my blog with rubbish for any money, let alone £16!
The other trick of some companies is to tell you that they will pay you a fee but that you cannot disclose this to your readers. As this is illegal, going against ASA rules, they get a standard ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response.
I would rather peruse the opportunities available with companies such as Get Blogged, where I can look on their website for opportunities to work with brands on and choose which I would like to apply for. This way I can select companies to write about that actually fit the subject areas I cover.
If you are a blogger looking for opportunities, you can sign up through their blogger outreach UK page.
I also get paid promptly rather than having to chase for payment – another annoyance for bloggers. Having said that, I have only had a couple of instances of late payment. If you are a blogger looking for opportunities, you can sign up through their blogger outreach UK page.
There are other ways for bloggers to make money, of course. Many offer e-books, online courses, their own merchandise, have You Tube channels or offer coaching on their specialist subjects. These are some areas I am exploring.
Alongside the blogging, I am also a eBay reseller (see my post on the best UK resellers to watch on You Tube here). This does involve filling your home with ‘stuff’, but luckily I have an office and good storage. However, I do also have clothing permanently hanging around the living room waiting to be washed, ironed or photographed!
This is doing really well at the moment, as people can’t get out to the shops so are buying more and more online. Long may it continue! However, I do miss the boot sales and charity shops that make this job interesting.
Fortunately, I had quite a lot of stock before the pandemic, so am a long way from running out. However, in the future I will make sure I have even more! Those resellers who don’t believe in ‘death piles’ – that is, masses of unlisted stock that sometimes sits there for years – are kicking themselves now.
If you want to make a little extra money selling your old stuff, check out this post.
Moving forward with self-employed life
My plans for this year are to be a little braver. To be more active in approaching brands that I admire. I always want to finish the book I started a while back – more hours in the day would certainly help with that!
And as soon as those boot sales and charity shops are up and running, you know where you will find me!
Are you living a self-employed life? What do you love or dislike about working for yourself?