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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Working For Myself

#REALTALK

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Next month will mark the five year anniversary of me leaving my job in beauty editorial to work on my blog ‘Vivianna Does Makeup’ as it was then – full-time. I can’t believe we’ve bloody made it to five years. How mad is that? Growing up, working for myself was never really on the cards. No one in my family owned a business and most were in office work or trades, and at school I did those tests with the Career Advisor that flashed up results that said I was a good candidate for teaching or HR work. Working in the HR department at MAC Cosmetics was the dream.

Things took a turn at Uni when the fire in my belly for beauty took over and I started this blog, back in March 2010. Of course it makes sense now – I was always going to do this, it just didn’t exist then. When I was younger I would pretend I was a fashion designer and write magazines with my sister at the weekends. I had a barbie head that I’d spend the evenings smoothing blue eyeshadow up to her eyebrows and I even started an AOL chatroom for girls-only to talk about beauty, boys and fashion (it only lasted a couple of days before they informed my Dad and it got taken down – damn parental controls!).

My jump into the full-time blogging world was a gradual one thanks to me cutting down my hours of work to part-time in editorial first (have a listen to Lizzy’s podcast for more on that), but it was a still a bit of a shock to the system when I dived in headfirst with little savings to back me up and a ridiculously expensive/ridiculously small London flat to rent. Here are 10 nuggets that I would pass on to my early twenties self if I was to do it all over again…

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The first years require GRAFT, but it’s a hell of a ride. I don’t like to moan, nor do I like to make out that bloggers are martyrs, but whenever you give up a secure salary for a new business venture that could earn you a big fat zero one month, it’s a risky move – whatever industry you’re in. Now I can’t believe I did it! I was so young and naive and had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into, just some kind of innocent belief that I could make it work. But I wouldn’t change those early days and mistakes for anything. Character building and all that.

Daytime TV is a slippery slope. I learnt this one pretty early on, so now I just don’t switch on the TV during the day. It was never really daytime TV that was the issue, but more Friends being on E4 constantly and then when I found How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, I watched the whole series in about four days. I used to just put it on in the background but found myself glued to it for hours. So if Jeremy Kyle is trending on Twitter, resist the urge.

You have a new found respect for those who work a 9-5 and still manage to schedule appointments. Seriously – how do you do it? How the hell did I ever do it? I have mad respect for those that still manage to go keep up with regular visits to the dentist every six months and hold down a 9 to 5.

Lap up your colleagues (even the kinda annoying ones). Setting yourself up as a one woman band can be lonely at times and I often find myself leaning over the banister watching the front door for Mark to come home (HOW LAME AM I?), so if you currently have colleagues lap ’em up. Share lunches with them, go for after-work drinks and tart yourself up in the loos together before. I was lucky to work with some really lovely ladies and lads throughout my office work days and I still miss them (AGAIN – HOW LAME AM I?).

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Delegating is everything. In the early days of your business you do everything, but as things grow it’s time to delegate to ensure that you’re running things to the best quality level that you can and at the most efficient capacity. Chances are that you’re a control freak like me and the idea of somebody else doing a task that you usually do is terrifying; but learning that you’re not the best at everything and to loosen the control a little is a big step forward.

Explaining your job is strangers is interesting. With jobs in the digital industry being more prevalent these days, sometimes when I explain that I’m a blogger/YouTuber/Instagramer/Podcaster hybrid, people get it. Other times they’ll misunderstand and think that I run an eBay page, which I’m still convinced is what my Grandparents think I do. It makes meeting people at weddings a very interesting experience.

Get help with your finances. Thankfully I had my Dad on hand during the early days of setting myself up telling me to get on board with an Accountant even though at the time I really couldn’t afford it, but I’m so bloomin glad I did. So I’m throwing this one in there as a word of advice for any fellow freelancers or business peeps; Accountants aren’t the cheapest thing in the world, but they make the backend of running an operation run SO. MUCH. SMOOTHER. It’s worth the investment for sure.

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Everyone will think you are free and available 24/7. Whilst it’s sometimes a nice distraction to have your parents pop over mid-afternoon or to be able to go for lunch with a mate who’s got the day off, contrary to popular belief I often am not available for social engagements during classic working hours. I wish I was (don’t we all?), but this post ain’t gonna finish itself, you know?

Office Christmas parties are hilarious. My first ever Christmas party was when I worked in retail when I was 17 and my older colleagues managed to sneak me into a PROPER CLUB and it was possibly the coolest day of my life. I also remember one office Xmas shindig where I had to spend the whole train journey back to Brighton locked in the loo because I’d had way too many raspberry sambucas. It’s the one time of year that always brings back a little twinge and yearn for colleagues.

There are pros and cons. The moral of the story is that there are pros and cons to both sides of the career coin and I’ve tried my best to soak up all the juicy bits of both because you never know where you’ll end up in the future. In the meantime if you currently work in a office in the city, then have a Pret Prosciutto and Cheese Baguette for me at lunch because man where they the highlight of my day when I worked in London. Slip in a Chocolate Mousse whilst you’re there too because let me tell you, the tin of baked beans in my cupboard just don’t look so appealing…

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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Comments

  • Love this, great shirt!

    http://www.themollyellis.com

  • Great advice. I’ve only recently launched my blog after wanting to do so for ages! Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Can be scary though!

    http://www.girlybookworm.com

  • Yay to accountants! 😉

  • Loved this some of them I can already relate to and I have only been doing this a few months! 😂👌🏻

    Sophie Kate // sophiekate.co.uk

  • theblackblush blog

    Love your shoes here!
    xx

    The Black Blush

  • Love how honest and helpful this post is! I don’t work for myself, but spending the last summer working from home on my dissertation definitely made me realize how easy it is to get stuck into the Friends/Parks and Rec/ Gilmore Girls and other feel good shows binge watching!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

  • Laura Emilia

    This was such an interesting post to read! I wish to work for myself one day so I loved getting a little window into your life. I need to keep these things in mind – especially going to try my best to enjoy the upcoming Christmas party! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • zldn

    Hi Anna, there’s a typo here: “Explaining your job is strangers is interesting”

  • In times of Netflix working from home must have gotten so much harder! I have dabbled in the thought of becoming self-employed, but with two kids and lots of responsibilities it just is too risky right now.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Working at home and turning on the telly is something you are right about, productivity is low and the time just disappears, defo a tip not to induldge in! Frankie x

    http://www.joieandthevivre.com

  • I work from home and I am such a sucker for This Morning and Loose Women… I always get to lunchtime and realise I’ve definitely spent the majority of time watching the TV rather than doing my work.

    Jaynie Shannon*

    xx

  • Em

    Love these realistic and honest tips. So true that both situations have pros and cons. Congrats on 5 years!
    xo,
    Em
    http://www.organicallyemily.com

  • Man alive do I miss Christmas parties… I’m working in-house for a client three times a week and I get such pangs of envy when they’re all discussing their festive fiesta plans!

  • Loved this post Anna! I’m totally with you about daytime TV being a slippery slope – whenever I put it on ‘in the background’, I always end up being engrossed with whatever programme is on and I get hardly anything done, so I’ve learnt it’s definitely best to keep it switched off x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

  • Samantha

    All very valid points! I am still trying to figure out a way to manage my time and going from corporate to working myself I too think- how do they do it! lol!
    X
    Samantha
    http://www.thenewyorkblonde.com

  • I’m looking to go freelance and work for myself soon so I will keep these in mind for the future 🙂

    http://champagne-lifestyle.com

  • It’s definitely a lifestyle decision but sometimes you just gotta do it….otherwise you will be left wondering. I think the corporate world is not quite the same. In your younger days, like mine, I certainly had some very good times, but as you get older and want to move up the career ladder it gets difficult. I think it’s important to just adapt to whatever situation you are in and embrace it. If it doesn’t work then there are other options. Working from home and not having a conventional 9-5 seems like more of the norm now. Even those who work in an office are opting to work from home.

    Great tips

    franklyflawless.com

  • Erin Russell

    I honestly don’t know if I could stay motivated! And the money side of things is absolutely terrifying! I’m not sure if I would be able to do it all!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  • Emily (byemily)

    Loved this post ! I’ve lost many hours to daytime TV haha

  • I’m struggle with the thoght about reducing my works our at the pharmacy so I can write and work for my blog… Thank You for sharing with us your struggle in back days. Hello and hugges from România 😗

  • Getting an accountant is such great advice! I’m shocking with numbers and finances so it’s the first thing I’ll be doing should I ever decide to take this blog full time.

    Sharni xo
    A Girl & Grey

  • Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I have a 9 – 5 but my dream is to be my own boss. I’m starting my own blog.. with little success but lots of enthusiasm and perseverance.

  • Ali Findlay

    As a freelancer/wannabe blogger in my early 20s this post was so useful and entertaining to read! Thanks for always being so real – your blog is one of my biggest inspirations 🙂 Love from Cape Town, South Africa (psssst, come and visit!) 🙂

  • I wish I could work from home!!
    Miki x

    https://littletasteofbeauty.blogspot.it/

  • Paulina Garin

    Thank you for sharing!! I’m a freelancer/wannabe blogger en México & was so helpful! I’m a big fan of your blogs, videos & everything in general.

    Xo,
    Paulina.

  • These are such great tips! x http://www.justsavxnnah.com

  • I relate to pretty much everything you’ve got in this post! Especially the part about having respect for those who work 9-5, like how do they ever find time to go to appointments!? Also every single time I tell someone what my job is, I am so amused. People always have a million questions and often think I just sit on my vanity all day and play with makeup. Not so much, as I’m sure you know 😉 Though being an entrepreneur is difficult, stressful, and often a complete pain in the rear…. It is SO very worth it. Keep hustling girl!

    xoxo – Lauren from LaurensLipGlossary.com

  • Lisa Autumn

    Adored this post Anna! I don’t know if I can consider myself working for myself but I am a student and blogger so I do spend 90% of my time at home, either writing, taking pictures or studying. So I can relate with a lot of these points here..

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  • Alex Rhead

    Such a wonderful post Anna! I love hearing you insights into the blogging world – i truly admire you work and strive to develop my blog and writing style as you have xx

    Alex https://rheadallaboutit.blogspot.com.au/

  • Hannah Joy

    Such an interesting post. I am in the process of leaving my job which is a secure career of 14 years and am not sure what I am going to do next but am interested in the idea of working for myself. It’s great to hear your advice and opinions on the working for yourself. Keep up the good work x

    Hannah https://littleblifestyle.wordpress.com/

  • ella ryder

    So funny! I’d love to work for myself one day but I do get there are good and bad points to both!

    Ella xx

    http://www.ellaryder.com

  • HarrisonBeach

    It really is the dream to have my blog allow me to work for myself!
    http://www.byharrison.com

  • Caroline

    Oh, I found your blog after watching you at youtube for some months. You are very interesting, you studied psicchology, like me, but now I am photographer. I wish to know what do you delegate as a blogger, I still cannot delegate too much in my job. Oh and I had to say you remember me a lot a girl from my school, I think she is your doppelhanger at the other side of the ocean and that is one reason why I begun to watch you on youtub, and please excuse my english because I don’t speak it very well.

  • Noor Gidwani

    Love the post. I’ve an avid follower of your youtube channel and really admire what you do. I’m a lawyer by profession but i’ve recently set up a beauty and travel blog. I’m really trying to make a go of it but sometimes it just gets the better of me. Your post has made me feel so much better and very positive about my blog. Would love for you to check out my blog – http://www.alifeextraordinaire.com. You’re such an inspiration, Anna!

  • Thanks for sharing your advice Anna, I’ve found this really useful! I also love the outfit here too 🙂

    VioletDaffodils
    xx