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Do you have appointments on Saturdays?

Oh, if I only had a penny for every new client who asks if I do weekends. Or appointments before 8am. Or after 8pm.

I’ve pretty much always drawn the line at working weekends, and I’ve just never been any kind of morning person, but when I started my practice, I used to work till 10pm.

I would go home every day shattered.

I’ve noticed that I find each hour of working after 7pm about twice as exhausting as each hour before.

Seduced by the lifestyle of self employment

Julie* has been an insurance broker for fifteen years, and three years ago she decided to work for herself. Since then she’s been gently seduced by the freedoms of working for herself.

“I was very good to begin with, I used to work from my office in the City. I’d go in and do a normal working day and then I thought I can be a little bit flexible with my time."

"Then I got a puppy.”

It’s so tempting not to declare ALL my income (and I think I'd get away with it too)

I find it’s easy to feel resentful about paying so much tax, or about the ways in which the government ends up spending some of it.

Working for myself, without a fixed salary and someone else calculating my PAYE, I have a lot more freedom in what I declare on my tax returns. It’s definitely tempting to shave a bit off here and there.

I don’t know how good the tax man is at catching people who are diddling their taxes, but I imagine you’ve got an odds-on chance of not being caught.

Making time for family by working for herself

It was when she had her first baby that Mary Madeline Day decided to work for herself.

“It was the US laws of maternity leave. I disagree that six weeks is enough to be home with the baby. When we decided to start a family, I also decided I’m going to be home, so that’s how it all started.”

Back then, Mary Madeline was a graphic artist, and initially she freelanced. “We lived up in Illinois and I actually had a lot of freelance work. It was perfect for me because with the baby I could create my own schedule basically.”

Ways of knowing that your work is good

When you have a job, you have staff appraisals, pay rises and promotions. You might even have clients, colleagues or bosses who say thank you, and tell you what a great job you’re doing. When you work for yourself, it’s a more complex thing, to feel that the quality of what you’re doing is recognised.

When what you’re doing is art, it’s even more difficult.

Five steps to delegation

Having too much to do seems to be a permanent feature of working for yourself.

Oops, hang on a tick while I just answer the phone, send three emails and find a cure for cancer. OK, now where was I?

Oh yes. If you’re way too busy, but you’re lucky enough to have a helper, here are five steps to delegation, and giving yourself space to think.