My First Steps in the Business World | Part 1
In the “My first steps in the business world” series, Bosspac talks with self-employed people about what it is like to be your own boss. We spoke to Liva from LivaSews who is a self-employed stay at home mum raising two kids and has turned her hobby into a small business that helps to pay the mortgage.
What’s the best part about being self-employed?
I highly value the time that I can spend with my kids, but I still want to bring some income to help the family pay the bills, not just rely on my husband’s earnings. I sew baby clothes and it’s a very flexible type of business that I can do from home and even if I just have 10 minutes of free time.
Liva in her handmade dress and scarf in Malta
How did you start your business?
I started with silk painting and sold my works to relatives and friends, then I added silk painting classes. I quickly realized that I want to learn more skills to expand my offer. I decided to learn how to sew, because then I’d be able to combine sewing and silk painting. I joined sewing classes and started sewing clothes for my kids. Other mothers around me saw the clothes and also wanted such unique clothing for their kids that can’t be found in shops and are made from a fabric of their choice.
What’s the key to becoming self-employed?
I’d say you definitely need to be self-motivated, because you don’t really have a boss and you have to do everything yourself (even find the clients). Of course, some of the work can be outsourced, but then you have to get to that income level to be able to afford it. You also have to be confident you can live without having the certainty of when and what you will earn. First two years are the most challenging, because it takes time to find the niche and build your own client base.
How do you make sure you’re on the right side with the government?
Even though I’m very well organized, I am always worried about getting government obligations right. I try to follow the changes in legislation that could affect me. I’m very lucky, because my mum is an accountant and she can always help me with her experience and explain things I find complicated. But I still do all my accounting myself and do a lot of reading online. I also try to set aside 20% of what I earn for taxes, but it’s always a bit of a guessing game.
How did you feel when earned income from self-employment for the first time?
Actually, it is such an amazing feeling to have this flexibility over the working hours! When I received income from the sale of a silk painting work for the first time I was over the moon! I felt like all the hard work has paid off. But it was just a beginning of the colourful journey…
What would you tell other people who are considering to take the self-employment path?
Just give it a go, because if you never try, you’ll never know! There are always ups and downs, but you can’t have the ups without falling. And the highs are the most rewarding part of the job. Sometimes being self-employed can also be lonely. But remember that you are not alone — there are other self-employed people like you and there are ways how you can engage and meet them. I personally use Facebook groups to communicate with other self-employed people and have met with amazing people from Meetup groups.
Thank you, Liva, for chatting with us!
Have an interesting self-employment story to share? Have a topic that you want to hear about? We’d love to hear from you!
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