November 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm #245
My boyfriend is a self employed professional musician. He works a fairly even split of performing and teaching. Teaching is split between contracts at schools and private individual clients.
However he has what I call ‘The Fear’. He went self employed about 10 years ago and is now very busy and successful.
He suffers anxiety and depression anyway and following a return from holiday has crashed badly.
He is super busy and often works 9am-8pm almost non stop for 6 days a week- later if he has a gig. He is getting down because he is so exhausted (understandably) and has no time/energy for the things he enjoys such as swimming or doing things like paperwork or seeing family. He is scared of losing work and how the music scene is dying down and that it may not be a sustainable long term career when he loves what he does and would struggle to adapt to employed work (including having to start at the bottom and work up). Hence working crazy hours to stash money away now. (Until he met me he was perhaps not too organised, had a bit of debt, resigned to not owning a house (where we are is virtually unaffordable for first time buyers) he has now cleared th debt and got himself into a good position financially and wanting to save for a house etc)
I’m really worried about him. I totally understand his viewpoint and can see his concerns are valid. I don’t know how I can help him or if there’s anything we can do to help him feel more secure. I’m worried for his health – physically and mentally- if he continues working the hours he does.
Anyone who is either self employed or a partner to someone who is got any advice?
November 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm #246
Other than telling him to get another career – it’s difficult. My ex-husbandwas a self employed musician, reasonably successful, but buying a house and not living hand to mouth was only achieved by my work.
Best advice is for him to get health insurance – if he can’t work due to illness he can’t earn. Get good advice from an accountant to see what he can claim on expenses, that will reduce his tax burden. Make sure he keeps up his NI payments, so he can claim a pension when he is older. Make sure his accounts are up to date and accurate.
Good luck – it’s a tough life xx
November 30, 2017 at 4:36 pm #247
I totally totally understand where your boyfriend is coming from, not only have i experienced the same thing but i believe its not that uncommon in the self employed.
My best friend has also been down the same route. It feels like the whole world is on your shoulders and no matter what you do it is never enough. I would liken it to a solid brick wall that there is no getting over, or around.
I felt so unhappy that i have now sold my business and i have a factory job. A lot of folk dont understand what i have done but my god the relief is unreal. At work there is a bell at the end of shift and everyone is out of there like rats deserting a sinking ship…i love that bit.
Leading up to the point where i decided to sell there was a few periods of peaks and troughs where one minute i could nt imagine what else i would do with my life and the next i felt so trapped. like your lucky husband i have a very supportive other half it made all the difference ,but keep your eye on him..and dont let him carry on too long if its making him so unhappy . life really is too short.
November 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm #248
My daughter is self employed and I have been, but had another job. My best suggestion if he can bare it is to get a part time job working for someone else, which seem counter intuitive. Just 12-16 hours, something perhaps less stress full in a big supermarket, if will give him a basic wage, cut out the feast and famine syndrome, pay some NI and pension. When he is not worried about money he can take less or higher paid other jobs and enjoy them more.
I know someone who did this just to add to his pension, and loved it. My daughter worked for a high street retailer and did her own work part time and I think she wouldn’t think twice about doing it again, but you have to accept not being in control.
Men often see themselves as being defined by their jobs, so you he has to see change as a positive step.
November 30, 2017 at 4:38 pm #249
A lot of people don’t realise how stressful being self employed is. I’m self employed as are Mr EM and our son and we have to be in a position to bouy up each other if one of us get down. It’s especially a worry as Mr EM and I get older and don’t have the energy we used to. I would definitely recommend having an income protection policy that would cover some income were he to become ill, even if it just covered any regular payments going out eg car payments etc.
However with many self employed jobs there is the advantage that you can decide on when you are available to work, it takes confidence to say “sorry I’m not working that day” and offer an alternative, however surprisingly, if you have that confidence many clients will actually value you more. Both Mr EM and our son (joiner and EDT respectively) get people phoning wanting an appointment in a couple of days time and although they seem surprised there’s no availability they will usually accept an appointment in a couple of weeks time or so, being busy is usually a good recommendation (obviously they will try and attend emergencies). The clients that won’t accept you are busy and in demand probably won’t be loyal clients anyway. It’s hard in the begining but as you go on confidence grows – our son still works crazy hours but has now got to the point where he will block days off in his diary at times so he can have some downtime and he doesn’t get upset if a client tries to be too demanding.
November 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm #250
I was self employed for years but once that retail business was sold I’ve diversified… Now an a partner with my husband in a small franchise business, help my husband with his other business which is really booming, and I also have two ’employed’ jobs, one standardised hours in a health centre and the other as a Parish Clerk, 10 hours a week from home. the Parish Clerk job is awesome!
November 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm #251
I am self employed, but also have another job. At first the other job was full time, so I could be really picky on clients. Strangely enough that seemed to make me more popular, not less.
I now work part time and my self employed job. I also blank out days that are days off. I think it is the regular wage that gives me peace of mind to do that. Otherwise, I would be concerned that if I turned down a client then they would not book me again.
November 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm #252
Going for 3rd time lucky responding to this.
He is very fussy about what work he accepts – as he has a good reputation he is always recommended by people and so acquires business that way usually. It also means he can and does turn away clients who are bad payers or that don’t fit into a suitable slot or even that he just doesn’t like. It also means that if he doesn’t work his students/schools/bands don’t generally bog off and it doesn’t cost him beyond that particular amount of time off usually.
He genuinely loves what he does, it’s the instability and long term that worries him and stresses him. I think he’d struggle to cut down on what he does to do p/t employed work but it’s certainly an idea and when he is more stable and the time is right I think I’ll bring it up. The issue with going into employed work or re-training is both the enjoyment aspect and financial – as much as I’d love to be able to financially support the pair of us I just physically can’t (he hasn’t asked me to either)
I do get a good benefits package at work so may see about what I can add him into. I agree income protection is a good idea and one I’d not thought about.
His depression has come and hit him hard (as it always does – but it’s been a few months so as much as I was expecting it it’s also a shock) so he’s in a bad way right now so just trying to sit tight and keep everything together for now.
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