Self-employment breakdown

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Original Post

I am having a really REALLY hard time with being self-employed. It's only been recently that I've taken this whole Etsy thing, and various other arty endeavors, somewhat seriously.

This weekend I worked all friday night, slept for about five hours, proceeded to work for 16ish hours on Saturday (I stopped for about 15 minutes to eat one meal), crashed on the couch for a few hours, then got up to work all day today.

Right now I feel like I just got hit by a bus, and I look even worse. I'm in school right now, too, and need to not spend every single minute of my weekend working. I need to take breaks. But if I take breaks, then I'm not being productive, and if I'm not being productive, then it's going to be even longer before I actually break even on this business.

Any tips on balancing your life while self-employed? I really need to finish putting my shop together and then develop a decent marketing strategy... but I also need to take breaks and have a social life and, you know, not fail all my classes.

Posted at 1:42am Oct 5, 2009 EDT


I'm marking this. Hoping you get some good responses because I have the same problem!

Posted at 1:44am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

I struggle with this too, I find that I have to have a certain amount of time to myself. I work on a lot of different projects, but I also try to take breaks and only work at a pace that is sustainable. I try to give myself at least a few hours away from anything business related each day. Burnout is NOT good, especially with creative work.

Posted at 1:51am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

cmu55 says

Your work is stunning!!! I have been self employed for a very long time and have yet to figure out how to balance everything. It is kinda like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at some point everything actually works out:)

Posted at 1:55am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

I've worked about 12-16 hours a day non-stop for the past month. But now that things are sort of balancing out, I don't have to do that anymore.

I have no idea how far behind I'd be if I hadn't worked my tail off ... but maybe someone can give you some good advice. I still work too much, LOL.

Posted at 1:55am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

It's so nice to know I'm not alone. It definitely gets especially tricky when you have lots of different projects going on. It almost seems like taking a break when you just bounce over to a different creative project, but I mustn't let myself be decieved! I kept trying to pull myself away from things today. I would pick up a book, read about two sentences, then put it down and start making prints or some such thing. Arg!

Thanks cmu55!

I wonder if anyone has any good advice, or if the only option is to just keep on working like a fiend until things start actually coming together. I'm just not sure I'll ever feel like things have come together...

Posted at 1:58am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

I've done this my entire life (never had a real job) and... well, it's always like that. Every once in a while you just have to say 'screw it' and take a day off. Or, you know, sleep for 18 hours. Of course I always feel really guilty afterwards, but I just figure that one day isn't going to make a difference in the long run. Sometimes mental health days are a must.

Posted at 1:59am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

I quit my job and started doing this full time at the start of June, and it's only just now that I feel some semblance of sanity. The key for me is to come up with a work schedule and daily/weekly goals and stick to it as best I can. Of course I completely ignore it sometimes, but I find in doing this I feel like I'm getting things accomplished, even though there is always more to do. Setting realistic goals is important too, so you don't feel so overwhelmed and behind all the time. Be sure to get enough rest. I still get only 6 hours or so of sleep a night, but I take an afternoon nap almost every day. Yay naps!

One thing I know for sure, I don't think anyone that is self-employed works only 40 hours a week. That's why you want to be sure you really love what you're doing, because you will be spending much of your time doing it. Ok, it's almost 11pm on Sunday night so my break is over - I've got to get back to making stuff now. It's totally worth it though, not having to go back to the day job I hated.

Posted at 2:02am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

I dont have a life for about 6 months a year.

Posted at 2:02am Oct 5, 2009 EDT

AiClay says

wow what a treasure of a shop! all those hours of work really paid off, your work is how beautiful! :)

Anyway, i just want you to know you're not alone too. I don't really know what advice to give, but just HUGS! (and I'm off to check out more in ur shop!)

Posted at 2:03am Oct 5, 2009 EDT