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Self-Employed with Ants in My Pants

by J. Money on Monday, July 29, 2013

I got ants in my pants and I need to dance

I don’t know if it’s the weather around us right now, the fact I’m getting bored working at home all by myself, or because I’m coming off a natural high from all the major changes we’ve been implementing lately (my wife’s guess), but either way I’m feeling damn antsy. And that’s not a good place to be when you need to be hustlin’ up a storm and bringing back up that income :)

So lately I’ve been throwing around ways I could fix this, even if temporarily, and so far these are the ones that have come to mind:

  • Start working away from home – like at a coffee shop or shared office space
  • Find a project I can work on with OTHER people, preferably face-to-face
  • Find a fun “real” job chock full of office gossip and new challenges (of which you don’t bring home!)
  • Start working down my list of top 10 jobs to try one day :)
  • Pitch companies to *create* a job for me and/or hire me as a consultant. Places like USAA, but perhaps a bit less corporate so I don’t get in trouble “being me”?
  • Take a vacation and don’t do anything drastic

I’m sure the answer is that last one, but I gotta admit I’m starting to like the idea of maybe working for someone else again too. While still rockin’ BudgetsAreSexy of course like back in the good ol’ days :) A weird reversal of side hustles! Haha… It would probably feel like going backwards a little in the career department, but really who cares in the end if it makes you happy.

Truth is, I suffer from the effects of growing up in a military household. My brain still works like this: “Bored? Move!” “Already moved? Get a new job!” “Already have a new job? Get a new ____!” :) That ____, btw, used to be “girlfriend” but for good measure that’s now out of the options, haha…. There’s a reason why I used to change jobs every 2 years and go from wanting to live in a Houseboat to a Hotel, and then recently, an RV. Change = excitement!!

Just for $hits and giggles, though, I spent 2 hours last night scouring the job boards for stuff I found interesting. I started with “etc” jobs on Craigslist just cuz there’s always hilarious ways to make some side money there, then moved on to bartender gigs open in the area (which I have no experience in, but figured there’s gotta be a way to wiggle in?), and then stumbled across some social media opportunities. Which a) never existed 10 years ago when I last job searched, and b) would probably be the best use of my time and assets if I was being smart about the whole thing :)

I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time so I didn’t apply to any of them or anything, but it was a fun way to pass the time and get my brain to be *open* again and not so adamant that working for yourself is the ultimate end all be all. Yeah self-employment has a ton of great perks, but it also has its set of drawbacks too. And I’ve been just as happy working for other people as I have myself (just maybe not as well compensated or given as much freedom as I please ;)) It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.

I think the trick is just figuring out *what* in life actually makes you happy, and then working to achieve it no matter how many times it changes. Remember that post I did on how I really wanted a Nintendo Game Boy back in the day, but then once I had the money to get one I wanted something else different? I feel like it’s a lot like that. One day you want X and another you can want Y. It’s when you *don’t go after it* that you start having problems.

Anywho, another thought I had – which I alluded to above – was maybe reaching out to companies I like or whom I think I could help, and then pitching my own job or consulting their way. And starting it off with some sort of lunch or taking them out for beers/coffee to get to know each other more :) I was never one to get a job by merely submitting a resume anyways, and since I don’t think the “perfect job” exists online (mainly cuz I don’t even know what that is! Haha… other than blogging, of course), it may be a fun test to try. Worst case they ignore you or you even meet some cool people. Who may or may not keep you in mind for the future.

Reminds me of the time I wanted to intern at an Advertising agency back in the college days, but everyone said the only way to get their attention is to be creative. (Which makes sense, right? Being that you’re reaching out to ad folks?). Well, the best thing I could think of was shooting a note to all the presidents of the agencies on my list (ranging from LA to NYC), that went something along the lines of a Mission Impossible theme:

[Subject:] Your mission, if you choose to accept it.

Who: J. Money (not what I really put)
What: An internship this Summer at your agency
Where: Your agency
When: This Summer

Why: Because I’m awesome…. (actually don’t remember exactly what I put there, but I know it was something good and listed all my qualifications cuz I got a decent number of responses back ;))

You have 24 hours to email me or this message will self-destruct…

Now that I read it out loud it does come come off kinda cheesy, haha, but if I recall correctly I got a personal message back from 3 pretty decent firms back then. One said something like “Already staffed, but good job getting my attention”, the other “let’s set up an interview” (not sure how that one ended because I don’t remember doing the interview?) and the third one, “You have 24 hours to call me back and the job is yours.”

It was that last one that made me happiest :) Now unfortunately I didn’t check my email until a few hours after those 24 expired (I was probably out partying or doing something equally non-productive), and when I heard back the second time it wasn’t as exciting. It went something like, “Too late – you missed your chance” and that was that.

Woops.

But I did learn an important lesson that day: It’s all about getting people’s attention. Whether for a job interview, a hot date, or any other type of opportunity you’re shooting for. You’ve got to stand out one way or the other from the crowd and do so in a way that closely fits their style. Else you’ll just go right into that pile with all the other hopefuls on standby…

I think I’ve digressed from the point of today’s post :) Which I’m guessing is this: when you find yourself antsy, do something about it. It applies to your career as much as with finances, and the worst thing you can do is sit and wallow in it. (Well, first I advise wallowing at least for a few hours, but then after THAT sucking it up and doing something about it,  haha… you can’t be “on” all the time!)

We’ll see what all this job searching leads to, but for now it feels good to be at least talking about it. If you know of a place that can use some J. Money up in that biz, give your boy a shout!

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(Photo by romantm)


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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Free Money Minute July 29, 2013 at 6:12 am

Don’t head back into a traditional job working for someone else! You have so much more income potential working for yourself, plus you set your own hours and can take on whatever else you want to. I can’t wait to actually jump off the dock onto that ship. Still trying to make that happen.

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2 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

Well you did a good job of listing out all the pros, but don’t forget about the cons too – like for me, getting antsy sometimes.

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3 Aimee July 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

Have you checked out the Chamber of Commerce in your area? There are several where I live that offer regular networking events. They often involve food and/or booze. It could satisfy your itch, give you the opportunity to pitch your consulting, get you out and social meeting new people (you seem social, which could cause the antsy-ness of working alone all the time), and will make fun tax deductible!

If you’re just antsy in general maybe just pick up free/cheap hobby like running or something.

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4 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 10:19 am

No! I haven’t checked out our chamber yet – GREAT idea thank you!! Going right now to find the site and look at their calendar of events. Rock on.

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5 Thomas | Your Daily Finance July 29, 2013 at 6:50 am

I don’t think I would head back to the typical 8-5 but in the end its whats going to keep you at ease and not so antsy. You may start working and realize heck this is not something I want to really being doing. However until you do it you may second guess not doing it. I like the reaching out to companies as a consultant. A lot of them need people like you and don’t know where to look. Make it easy for them and go to them. I like the mission impossible email. Hey the want creative minds so be creative.

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6 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

Exactly. There’s nothing saying you can’t go and get a job and then X months/years in decide it’s not what you want anymore and go back to killin’ it 24/7 by yourself again. I mean, it’s not good to screw over any companies or relationships by just changing your mind all the time, but you can certainly work things out as your goals change.

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7 John S @ Frugal Rules July 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

“Which I’m guessing is this: when you find yourself antsy, do something about it.” I could not agree more J$! If you allow yourself to wallow in it then it can take you a number of ways that may not be good. I enjoy the perks of being self-employed as well, but those drawbacks can suck too! I think the consulting idea could have some decent potential, especially if you’re able to dictate the terms. That said, maybe a nice vacation or working away from home could really help. I try and work away from home every once in a while and it can do wonders.

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8 Lance @ Money Life and More July 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

I’ve heard some companies like to hire bartenders with 0 experience because that means the company gets to train you in their ways and you’re less likely to steal from them or overpour, etc.

On another note, have you considered joining your local chamber of commerce? Will get you out of the house and maybe get you some ideas for your blog while networking and hanging out with people.

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9 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

Oooh that makes sense for the bartending stuff! I bet a lot of them are totally set in their ways and know how to dish stuff out for free without getting caught/etc, haha… Would be interesting to figure out how to not do it yourself when your own friends/family comes by :) Maybe you’re allowed to give them some discounts or something.

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10 Holly@ClubThrifty July 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

Working from home can be super boring! Sometimes there are a million other things I would rather be doing than working. To stay focused, I usually turn off all distractions and force myself to get started. Once I actually start working, I’m able to get things done!

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11 Pauline July 29, 2013 at 8:41 am

Move to Guatemala already! You can put your RV there while your houseboat is being build then turn it into a hotel :)
I have a perpetual need for change too, it is good to stay busy and interested in stuff.

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12 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

Hahahaha… don’t keep tempting me!!

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13 David Hunter July 29, 2013 at 8:55 am

Go for it! That is… With what ever you want to do.

Heck, you’re in a position that if you don’t like what you’re doing you can change it.

Also, who knows what you’ll learn if you get a job working for someone else. It’s not like you’re stuck there. You can quit at any time.

Live Life Adventurously!

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14 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

Yeah, that’s the other beauty of working for someone else again, or doing fresher partnerships – gives me a chance to learn more and polish up the ol’ brain.

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15 David Hunter July 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Yep! Plus, you never know who you’ll meet. It’s not what you know but WHO you know.

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16 Brian July 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

If you want to be a Barnes and Noble employee, you might want to get on that soon. I’m not sure how much longer you have to do that. Think about the disappointment and regret you will have on your death bed if you let that opportunity slip away because B&N is going the way of the dinosaur.

Want some excitement? Start a daycare in your home. You won’t be bored that much I can promise!

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17 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

Don’t you jinx B&N!!! I need them in my life! :)

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18 David Hunter July 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I think B&N will be around for awhile. They are the only brick & mortar bookstores that are still around.

Also, J., take up Brian’s idea about the daycare. You’ll be able to play all day!

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19 Financial Samurai July 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

Yo J, I’ve felt the same way many times before. It would be fun to work since we don’t have to work or work as much now that we have our online business.

Finally, I took a solo 4 week trip to NYC and Europe in June/July and it was a summer to remember. Go for an adventure and run the biz from elsewhere. It’ll do wonders!

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20 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 11:41 am

nice! good for you man. I’m pretty sure my wife would kill me though if I left her alone w/ the baby for that long ;) luckily we’re doing a week long family beach week here later in August so hopefully that’s a nice change of pace.

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21 Michelle July 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

I’m going to start working from home soon. I cannot wait, but I hope I don’t start to get antsy! :)

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22 EJ July 29, 2013 at 9:13 am

I vote you mentor newbies one on one to blogging full time and help them launch their businesses so they can have the option to never work for someone else again! :) if only I could afford it!

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23 J. Money July 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

I do that now for a few people and really enjoy it :) Wouldn’t mind doing more of it.

http://jmoney.biz/mentoring

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24 No Waste July 29, 2013 at 10:26 am

Very clever response (you have 24 hours to respond) in keeping with the MI theme, but I would expect no less from an ad industry professional.

After all, they spend their entire professional lives trying to find clever ways to get us to part with our money!

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25 Romanian July 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

It’s difficult to work from home and indeed the human interaction (REAL human interaction) is what I miss the most. But really, I wouldn’t give working for home for anything right how. Well… never say never, but I really don’t think that I could find a salary motivational enough to make me quit my working from home routine. After 5 years of doing it, of getting a bunch of habits you can’t have back in the office, working from home does sound like the best thing to do so… maybe go and write from the coffee shop a few time (I couldn’t do it, but maybe helps you get your mind of getting a new traditional job) :)

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26 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Yeah, it would be pretty interesting to see how/if I could adapt to a “real” job again, haha… I haven’t formed *too* many habits in the past two years, but I’m sure it would be a pretty big change.

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27 Jake @ Common Cents Wealth July 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I totally understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think I’d be able to work from home for my full time job. I’d get stir crazy. I like the face to face interaction, so I’d probably need to set up some meetings or go work in a public place every once and a while.

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28 Done by Forty July 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It’s kind of refreshing to hear someone honestly considering all options, even going back to the traditional employment model, simply because it might be the best option for him.

I left teaching a while back but I think when I hit FI I’ll probably give it another go. I’m sure I’ll run into the same pros & cons, but maybe I’ll be a different person then and the crazy highs & lows will fit my lifestyle better then than they did in my 20′s…

Good luck finding the thing that fits!

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29 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Thanks! Glad you found the article refreshing :) All I usually hear/read myself is all the awesome benefits of working for yourself and/or at home, and it’s not always everything people seem. Though I do think people have to experience it for themselves to see if it fits them or not – I would have never thought I’d be considering a 9-5 again, but time and situations change! Always gotta be paying attention to what makes you happy and not over the years and work on adjusting. Even when it’s annoying, haha…

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30 JennaB July 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I am actually struggling with this right now, but not with ants in my pants.

I LOVE the job I have working from home. It rolls in at around 35 hours a week. (I’m trying to supplement it with side hustles but haven’t found the right on yet).

HOWEVER… it is not quite and much $moolah$ as I used to make when I was working in an office full time.

But of course, no fancy clothing, no gas or train money, no lunch money SAVES me $$$.

What do you think the magic number would be to leave my lovely work at home situation. 10k? 20k? 30k more a year? My expenses are covered but I need to save for retirement. Every dollar helps.

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31 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Oh man, I hear ya. Don’t know all your details so can’t guess as to what type of money you’d need to leave your home, but I’d def. run the numbers and figure it out before trying so ;) It’s great your expenses are already covered! That’s usually the hardest part.

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32 Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) July 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Ooh yeah I can totally see how you could get antsy working for yourself (even for an introvert like me!) It sounds like you just need to get out and do something fun and crazy to spice things up!!! I bet you would be a really charming public speaker but then you wouldn’t be so anonymous maybe? Anyway I know you will figure it out! The fact that you want to change and find something new and sparkly is a good thing!

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33 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm

That’s funny – you’re the second person to tell me within 24 hours to think about public speaking :) I do think I’d actually be good at it, but it’s just the farthest thing I really want to do to be honest… partially out of the anonymous thing, but more so that it just doesn’t sound interesting to me, haha… I guess I prefer typing things out :)

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34 Elena @ Personal Finance July 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Working out of home can have its own challenges. You will always miss interaction with people. The only fix is to leave the office and start doing something else for a few hours a week: whether it’s working out of a coffee shop or meeting up with friends and family members or even getting a fun part-time job somewhere where you can meet up some new people and make friends!

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35 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Actually ended up going to a coffee shop yesterday for a couple of hours – loved it!! Plan on going again tomorrow and seeing how things progress.

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36 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Oooh that list of jobs you want to try out might be fun to cross off another! It’ll get you out of the house and if you do B&N you get to interact with tons of people! Some you might not want to interact with of course. It’ll probably make you appreciate working for yourself even more too!

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37 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm

That’s what I’m thinking too :) Just not sure if I can be totally cool with such a low hourly wage?? Would be an interesting experiment at the very least… maybe I could do it at Xmas or something when it’s on a temporary basis?

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38 Renee s July 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

I’ve also recently gotten pretty complacent with my job/side hustles. So, I started a Mary Kay business! haha It’s been fun learning about it and I am excited to see how it goes. Another time that I got antsy, I started mystery shopping. That is fun too and I still do it so that I can get to see free movies and eat free dinner :)

When I get antsy again, I want to go to a bar tending school and learn how to be a great bartender. That would be a fun side gig, I think :) Good luck with the ants in your pants! I’m sure you’ll find something awesome to do! Im glad that I am not the only one who gets antsy and then finds another job. lol

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39 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Haha thanks. Love it that you just go out there do DO NEW THINGS!! If you beat me to the bartending stuff, please let me know what you think of it all :)

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40 Kevin @ RewardBoost.com July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm

You should find a really awesome side job on Craigslist like I did one time. Back when Spider-Man 3 was coming out in theaters, I was hired to be Spider-Man in Wal-Mart as they launched the line of toys. I was there for like 4 hours, and at one point a little boy (probably 5) walked up to me and said, “I drew a picture of your Spider-Man.” Not only was it the cutest thing ever, but the picture was even pretty good!

Summary: If you wanna have fun, be Spider-Man!

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41 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Awwww SO COOL!! Good one!

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