Thus my friend tells me: the beginning of your business, your self-employment, will be the hardest part. I surely hope so. I hope that in a year’s time, I shall look back on today and chuckle at just how difficult I felt things to be. Of discovering that the hardest boss I ever had is myself. Casting out self-doubt in the face of trickling, not stampeding, business. Wearing a dozen hats, and knowing that marketing and administrative work are in no way exciting to me. Self-employment is much more than “doing your own thing.” It’s doing EVERYTHING. All at once.

I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard, and my brain is always ticking away. But then again, things matter more now. Life has more meaning and priority, and I find myself hanging about business entrepreneurs. Which is scary considering I identified always with artists and creative types. Now I talk about “unique selling points” and “conversion rates”. Who is this person emerging? Self-employment has been and continues to involve delving deep inside, producing an emotional ride. So much of my time is spent controlling my emotions and focusing on what’s in front of me. To push aside the ego, the bickering inner voices, the procrastination, and try to get to that place of detachment and gratitude. To distinguish that feelings are only that: feelings. Nothing more. It’s almost like trying to attain Nirvana.

 

Despite all this inner work, I can see that each time I put myself out there (that’s every meeting or networking gig I attend), it toughens me. Every email I answer. Every phone inquiry. Every bit of asking I do. Every stranger I deal with. Negotiations. Every time I have to explain my business, and what I do, and what work I’m looking for. It’s these experiences that I hope will make me flinty. A Kundalini Yoga teacher, Hari Har, said, “In order to create a crystal, there must be pressure placed on the elements.” That was her response after I’d spent 5 hours at morning Sadhana, after I’d said, “The fish pose is always hard for me.” And I know about pressure because I place that on myself, every day.

Erica, 34, London UK

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