I’m often asked how I made the switch to self-employment. Here’s a snapshot of that time in my life in 2004/05.
I was working as “publications officer” for Myeloma UK, a cancer charity in Edinburgh. My responsibilities included all print design, print buying, and managing the website.
In 2004 I resigned so I could travel the world. I had no intention of returning to my previous role, and was actually thinking about life as an English teacher in Asia, but in 2005 after months of eye-opening experiences abroad, and when I made it back to Edinburgh, Myeloma UK hadn’t found a replacement designer. So I asked chief executive Eric Low to hire me as a part-time contractor, working three days per week and invoicing at the end of each month.
He agreed, and we worked together again for around 18 months — until the charity eventually needed someone full-time.
Starting out with a retainer client was vital, and while those three days a week brought in just enough cash to get me by, they gave me plenty of time to work on the build of my website and blog (my main self-promotion tool).
My speciality has since changed from publications to identity design, and although it’s been a number of years since I worked with Myeloma UK, I still keep track of how the company’s doing. It’s brilliant to see the difference it makes to myeloma patients.
Don’t let the naysayers win
When I talked to friends about starting a business, a few said I wasn’t experienced enough, that I should stay in employment until later in life. If you’re considering making the switch from full-time employment, you’ll probably hear people say the same, but don’t let them stop you.
If it’s what you really want, you can make a success of anything you set your mind to.