It seems I start each new year with one work project already up and running with three others in the “they might materialize” pipeline. I’ve been self-employed most of my life, so one would think I’d know the Positive Psychology mindset by now. There are some normal ups and downs with self-employment.
My thoughts going into January and February fluctuate between “Things will be just fine” to “Oh my gawd, we’re going to be homeless!” It’s a roller coaster ride until March. And it’s not for the faint of heart. One day I’m planning a luxurious March break in southern climes and on the next, I’m checking the location for the nearest food bank. Dramatic – I know. When my son was growing up, he had figured it out very early on. “Are we rich or poor today?” he’d ask. He was trying to gauge how he might strategically advance his newest request. As a single working mom, I could sometimes find some extra money. Sometimes there was none. Self-employment does provide challenge, variety and more personal freedom. It can provide motivation but it isn’t always the gateway to a financially abundant lifestyle. Thankfully, I’ve mellowed over the years. Although it’s not obvious to most, I did develop strategies to endure some these challenges. I learned it was important to simplify my lifestyle, adjust my expectations and to stop comparing myself to others.
Eckhart Tolle helps me with the waiting game. During the Dog Days of Winter, it seems like it can take forever to hear about approvals, funding or sponsorship announcements for new projects. If I stay grounded, I do well. Walks, work outs, art and meditation help a lot. It’s one day at a time.
I’m a multi-tasker. Normally I can juggle three different projects simultaneously but four stresses me out. Welcome to to my kind of gig economy and I’ve been doing this since, like…… FOREVER! My contract jobs range from 6 months to 2 years but most are 12 months. At this point in my career, I don’t want to expand or grow a business. In 2019, I will most-likely end up with one cultural project and two seniors’ projects.
Even when the new projects are launched, an ongoing commitment to self-employment requires lots of networking and cold calls. I’m currently tracking possibilities that might take shape over the next four or five years. My work is mostly in the non-profit/social enterprise world where ageism is alive and well but not blatantly obvious. That’s better than most sectors. When you’re older, people expect you to volunteer your time. There is an assumption that people shouldn’t need to or want to earn income after a certain age.
In 2019 I’m setting my sights on a few larger organizations and institutions. In the past, I’ve done highly acclaimed provincial projects so if industry rumours are true, there may be some opportunities for me or someone with my skills and experience in 2020. My printed promo information will be strategically distributed in the winter (old skool) and I’ll conduct information interviews in the spring. By mid summer, I should know where there is mutual interest to move forward with more creative collaborations in the following year.
- For presentations and workshops about older workers and self-employment opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org