How to Work for Yourself!


This is the Evanston Public Library and they have partnered with the City of Evanston to provide free training seminars to interested citizens interested in entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Free education? YES PLEASE!

The first seminar I attended was called “How to be Self-Employed”.  I cannot remember this man’s name and I can’t find his business card to save my life. Sorry Mr. Incredible. Anyway, he was in the sales industry so there wasn’t a ton of overlap but he definitely made a few points that stuck with me.

One of the best things he said was that everything is about sales. He sold products (shoes mostly) but stressed that the most important thing to sell is yourself.  This really hit home.  I am talented but so are a lot of people. My clients want to work with me not only for what I can do but for who I am. Fact is I’m no good at selling myself to persons that don’t already know my work. This has been fine in the past because the majority of my clients have reached out to me because they already saw and liked a space I designed but it’s time to level up. You know, like Super Mario.

The second thing he said that changed my life? (Ok maybe not my entire life…) “Success means getting checks.” So simple. So true. I design because I love to. You know what else I love? Food and shelter. I can’t work for free, I need to make money and until I do, I will continue to work a full time job in a field that I’m capable but not in love with.

Thirdly, commission work is hard but worth it. He drew this little table on the board to illustrate:

Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual Income
Self-Employed 0 5000 7000 7000 5000 2000 2000 5000 7000 7000 4000 0 51000
Salaried 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000 36000


In the top row you have a fictitious self-employed person whose income fluctuates on a monthly basis. You’ll even notice that no money was made at all in January and December, which are months that are notoriously slow for certain businesses. Still, even with the up and down, this person still nets almost $20,000 MORE than their salaried counterpart.  The key is money management and working your butt off to compensate for the months when you’re making nothing. But I was thinking, why not just think of it as having a job that you only work 10 months (or whatever applies) out of the year. Teachers do this, some faculty in the education system do this. So can me! Also, why not take this time for personal and business assessment and reflection. Take a class, take a vacation, set goals, and watch copious amounts of daytime television.  This sounds like my kind of life!

That’s about it. I took another class called Mastering the Art of Networking with the lovely Althea McIntyre. I’ll be discussing this class in all its splendor and glory on my next round.  Spoiler alert: She’s awesome.

Tagged ,

2 thoughts on “How to Work for Yourself!

  1. chor says:

    That chart was a very interesting illustration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: