The Self-Employed Rollercoaster

By Mike Cupit


As a decorator, from the moment you decide to go it alone until you retire, you’re on what I like to call, the self-employed rollercoaster.


Let’s face it, in a strange sort of way, it isn’t a proper job is it. You don’t have an employer; you can’t guarantee you’ll have work and you make everything else up as you go along. There are always going to be doubts from time to time due to the uncertain nature of our job.


Not just that, but if the success of your work life was recorded on a graph, there wouldn’t be single straight line on it!! One minute you’re flying, the next you feel like jacking it all in.


There are absolutely loads of things that can go wrong. First there are the things out of your control like nightmare customers, none payers, delayed jobs, f**king builders, bad weather and a million and one other things!! Then there are the mistakes we all make from time to time. Jobs running over, mistakes whilst pricing, breakages, forgetting to make an appointment, taking too much on and so on.


There’s so much pressure too!! Dealing with these problems as they arise whilst there are a dozen other things going on. Staying on top of quoting, keeping in contact with every other client, cash flow, insurance, staffing and the like. It is relentless.


If you let this pressure get to you (which we all do at times) and lose motivation, or start to become unorganised, then it feels like you’re drowning! You’re not on your own, we all feel this on the self-employed rollercoaster. It can be hard going and if you’ve tasted it, then you will understand why it is too much for some. Mental health issues can easily take hold.


So Why do we Bother Going Self-Employed?


The other side of the coin is amazing. When things are going well and it’s all down to you, there is nothing more rewarding. Sometimes things just to fall into place and seem easy. You can make great money as a decorator when things are going well. You’re your own boss, in a trade you love and you make peoples’ homes look absolutely stunning with your own two hands. I couldn’t imagine working for someone else now. I’ve been self-employed over 10 years and most of the time I love it.


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the self-employed rollercoater