Amongst lots of changes since moving to Spain, working from home full-time has been a very big change to get used to. Becoming self-employed is something I dreamed about for years!
In the UK I was working 30 hours a week in my job, and then a couple of hours a night on my blogs and freelance work. To move to Spain I obviously gave up going into an office every day and have gone 100% freelance.
I had expectations of how this was going to be, and already knew there were lots of pros and cons of being a freelancer, but I don’t really think I was fully prepared to be my own boss!
Here are a few things that have changed in my working life since going freelance…
Choosing my own hours
One of the best things about being your own boss is getting to choose your own working hours.
Some days I do really long hours – two days this week I’ve worked from 8:30am until around 8pm with only a short lunch break. Today I started at about 8:45am, finished at 6pm and now it’s 7pm and I’m writing this blog post. Tomorrow will probably be another long day to try and get everything finished so I don’t have to think about work over the weekend.
However, I had a whole day off yesterday so we could have a day out and if we need to do errands or the food shop I can just take a break whenever suits us.
With school starting next week I’ll be trying to get everything finished before Little H comes home but will probably have to do a mix of long and shorter days.
I do look forward to being able to go to any school event or meeting without having to ask to leave early or come in late – definitely a big reason that many working mums want to work from home.
I’ve actually surprised myself with how good I’ve been at getting up and in front of my laptop by around 8:30am most days. I used to hate getting up in the morning but now it seems like a lie-in when I was having to get up at 6:30am every day for work in the UK.
I find if I don’t get up as soon as I wake up then I’ll lie in bed looking at my phone for an hour, so I’ve been really strict with just getting up and heading downstairs.
I’ll obviously have to get up a bit earlier when school starts next week and get a bit more organised but there’s two of us to do the school run and it’s not as crazy as school runs in the UK as most kids walk to school.
Getting ready for work
I do get dressed otherwise I know I’ll still be sat in my PJs in the afternoon. But apart from quickly throwing on a t-shirt and pair of shorts, I don’t have to spend ages putting on make-up or straightening my hair anymore. It’s lovely not to have that stress of worrying about what to wear or remembering to wash your hair the night before a big meeting or event.
No rush hour
This is one of the best bits! I used to spend 30-40 minutes every morning driving 5 miles to work and the same on the way home on the days I didn’t do the school run. Working from home there’s no traffic (to be honest I’m not even sure rush hour exists in Spain!) so I can spend that 40 minutes working.
Although I do put pressure on myself to get things done and there’s no one to help or delegate to, I do find being a freelancer a lot less stressful than working for an employer. I have no one else to answer to, no one to put the pressure on, and no office politics getting in the way.
Work is more fun
I’m enjoying the work I do. I only pick projects or clients that I’m interested in and honestly can’t think of any tasks that I don’t enjoy – I wouldn’t take them on if I didn’t enjoy doing them. I guess that might change if I ended up with a difficult client but I think I’m quite good at spotting them a mile off now as I have been freelancing for a while.
Tax and invoicing – the Spanish way!
Learning how to do invoices and pay tax and everything else that a Spanish freelancer needs to do has been interesting. It’s totally different from the UK where I was already doing my own tax returns for my freelance and blogging work, and is surprisingly strict. Luckily I’ve made friends with a great company who have helped me get set up and answer all my questions about tax and accounting. It’s quite scary to be responsible for paying social security, tax and vat though!
More worries about money
One of the downsides to being self-employed is the worry about earning enough and clients paying on time. When you’re employed you know how much you’ll earn every month and what day you’ll get paid. When you’re freelance you have to rely on your clients paying on time. I’m lucky that mine do all pay quickly without me having to chase, though sometimes you never know when you’ll actually have money in your bank account.
There’s also the worry at the back of your mind that a client could want to cancel at any time and you’d lose some of your income.
All in all becoming self-employed has been a great decision and one I don’t think I’d ever have been brave enough to make if we’d stayed in the UK – moving kind of forced my hand.
If you’re thinking of giving up the 9-5 and becoming your own boss then I’d definitely say do it! Let me know if you have any questions about taking the step to becoming self-employed.