Being Self Employed & A Father

Oh and renovating your own house at the same time. It’s fucking hard work.

When I decided to pack in my job two years ago and try my luck at running a company, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a couple of grand in the bank and the best of intentions — but that seemed like enough if it meant I didn’t have to do that same old shitty job any more. A child was something we had talked about then, but it was one of those things that seemed like a long way away.

Then, six months later I woke up to the sound of “We did it!” and Carol running out of the bathroom of our attic flat holding a pissy stick with some blue lines on it. I was excited, but also terrified — no stable income and no idea what I was doing (and I’m pretty sure you can’t support a family on good intentions).

As I know now though, it was fine. Jobs came in, I got paid, we bought a house and moved in just before the birth. Everything’s been working out for the best. That’s not to say it’s been easy though, oh no. Trying to balance a work life that requires regular networking, socials, business development and squeezing in tutorials on udemy when I can; and a home life that includes a tiny baby and steadily ripping apart every room in the house and building it back up to how we want it. It takes more out of you than you could ever imagine.

I’m seriously tired about 50% of the time. When I’m not tired I try to work out what’s more important — spending time with my baby or earning money so I can feed my baby. When I’m doing one I feel guilty about not doing the other, and trying to do both at the same time just doesn’t work out. Those hours when I am tired and doing either one can sometimes feel like a dissociative state of absence from what’s going on around me, which then fuels the guilt in the remaining 50% where I’m trying the good old balancing act of life.

However, having done this for quite a while now, I really don’t know how I would have coped otherwise. I can’t even imagine how people with ‘real’ jobs cope. If I’m feeling tired, sod it — let’s have an extra hour in bed. If I’m feeling guilty about not spending enough time with Lottie, balls to it, I’m finishing early to go home and blow raspberries on her tummy, I’ll just get that work stuff done tonight or over the weekend.

Running my own company means I get to choose my working location, and it’s helped with Carol getting back to work too. I work four weekdays and pick up any slack on weekends. One of those weekdays I drive to Swansea where we rent an office so I can drop Lottie off with her Grandmother. I get to do some networking, Carol gets a day back in the office — I can’t think of many ‘proper’ job situations where this would be possible.

Running a company and being a father can be hard, but seriously, I wouldn’t know how to cope if I did it any other way.



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