I have wanted for so long to be able to be my own boss. To set my own hours, travel freely, do what I want to do, but still pay the bills.
It seems like a lofty goal, but I know it is possible.
Given that I am working a comfortable day job (40 hours a week, top-notch health insurance, 401k, the works) my whole family thinks I’m crazy, I’m sure.
There are dozens of reasons I want to be self-employed, but now is not the time to divulge on that.
The problem now is that I moved ~400 miles away for this job that pays the bills and not much else. Recuperating from a move, adjusting to new tax rates, and unplanned expenses are not setting me up for success. (It costs $120 per month for my fiance and I just to park our cars here. Landlord left that bit out when I signed the lease).
There are several things that I will need to learn in order to make this happen, and maybe they’ll help you as well. Then I can look back on this at the end of the year and see how much I’ve learned.
1. How to do taxes for self-employment
I can tell you the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs of credit, but I don’t know a darned thing about filing taxes. Thank goodness for the free edition of TurboTax. (I’m only 22, so I haven’t been filing my own taxes for very long, ok?). I do know that I should save my receipts for all business expenses and keep track of what I earn. Other than that… not a clue. I’m sure there are plenty of online resources to research on that, I know it’ll be a long time before I can hire an accountant.
2. Effective Budgeting
I’ve tried just about every budgeting software out there. I just can’t stick to it, but still manage to [barely] not overspend. I was considering the cash envelope system, but I feel it would be too much hassle, since everything is done electronically. Except my electric and parking bills…. *evil glare*
Next payday I’m going to try putting away my debit card and relying on a separate prepaid card for purchases. My bank has a prepaid card that I can log into the app and transfer money onto. The reason the cash system works so well is that you physically see the money leaving instead of just swiping a card, but with the prepaid card I would have to log into the app every time I make a purchase and transfer the money. Or at least only transfer the amount I have available to spend, so it will be impossible to overspend as it doesn’t allow over-drafting. This will also prevent another incident of my debit card being compromised…
I was just thinking the other day, 5 years ago it was safer to carry a debit/credit card than cash. Now I’m more likely to get my card electronically compromised than I would be to get mugged and have cash stolen. If anyone has never had their account “hacked” please let me know which bank you use, because I want to be sure it’s not just mine that gets hit!
I’m planning to document my experiences with paying off debt and saving on my YouTube channel Loving Minimalist.
I want to have an emergency fund saved up before I even think about leaving my current job. I should probably also figure out what happens to my 401k and life insurance….
3. Establishing a cleaning routine
While I dream of a clean, uncluttered apartment – it just isn’t happening. The only closet I have is a tiny coat closet, so the extra boxes I had crammed in the closets of my old apartment are stacked into about 7 different corners. If I haven’t used that stuff by now, I probably don’t need it. The only thing that is somewhat organized is my desk.
Once I get stuff put away/sold/tossed, I want to make a schedule of when and what to clean each day. If I’m going to be working from home, I surely don’t want the leaning tower of moving boxes looming over me.
This worked well when I was younger, we had a “chore chart”. Although, that one resulted in an allowance if I finished everything. I guess all I will get now is the satisfaction of a clean apartment. Hooray.
4. How to make better content, regularly
I’ve been at the YouTube and blogging thing for a few years. My forte has not been consistency. Aside from the idea that more posts = more views = more followers = more $, readers and subscribers trust someone more that devotes their time to producing quality content and knows what they’re talking about. Are you going to take advice from a channel with 200 subscribers and 50 videos on the subject, or a channel with a million subscribers and maybe 2 or 3 videos?
Just like starting a “real business,” content creators need to have a solid plan for what they’re producing. It is much better, in my experience, to have a list of video ideas and a schedule versus just making something up when it’s time to film.
Maybe you’re reading and not going to be a content creator (i.e. YouTuber or blogger). The idea is to have a plan and a schedule as to when this plan will be executed, no matter what you are producing.
There are a lot of factors that go into content creation (videos or blog posts). First, you need an idea. Then, the actual content (words). Pictures or demonstrations, charts, graphs, maps, the featured product or service, final editing, uploading, the description, thumbnail… it goes on and on. Not to mention, it is insanely beneficial to promote your new post.
This can sometimes be daunting. To combat this, I film, edit, and upload in batches. That way I don’t have to do all the videos start-to-finish, and it is more efficient, so I don’t have to keep moving around my work space.
5. Overcoming the anxiety of selling at craft fairs
What if they deny my application? What if I can’t make enough stock? What if they kick me out because I sell out too fast? What if I don’t sell anything at all? What if there’s someone at the fair that is selling similar items?
This is going to be a tough one, because I legitimately have anxiety. I’ve learned over the years that I just need to jump into things before I give myself a chance to worry and I’m perfectly fine.
I have a sizable amount of things made up, all of which are currently listed on my Etsy shop… so either I would have to remove those listings, or just make more on top of that. I think I would rather sell at fairs because packing and shipping is a pain, especially the larger items I’ve been making.
There is a farmers market around the corner. The catch is, they’re open on Saturdays from 8am to noon…. and I go to bed around 5am. Yay for night shift. Maybe that’ll be a project for later on. And I’ll have time to make up some stock in the meantime. Look at me, figuring stuff out as I’m writing about it.
I hope this was somewhat helpful. If not, at least I can look back on it like I mentioned earlier.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
With love and yarn,