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A really honest guide to the reality of working for yourself

by Shelly Horton
Posted: June 21, 2017

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Working for yourself is one of the best, and hardest, things you’ll ever do, writes TV Personality and Business Owner, Shelly Horton.

I started my video production company, ShellShocked Media, one year ago and this is what I’ve learned. Some of it is awesome, and some, not so pretty.

1.    You’ll feel invincible

Instagram: @shellyhorton1 / Image via


I look back at my career and realise most of my clashes at work came from the fact that I have a real problem with authority and I’d argue with my bosses all the time.  

So I figured the best way to solve that problem was to BECOME the boss. I LOVE it! Being in charge of your own destiny and charting your own course is thrilling.  Sometimes I feel like wearing a superhero cape to work.

2. You’ll feel vulnerable

However, it's not all roses! I like being my own boss but that also means the buck stops with me. It’s a lot of pressure. If you don’t win a client it’s really hard to not take that rejection personally because your business is you.  

You have to hustle for work and that means putting yourself out there for judgment. There have been plenty of times I’ve shed tears. If you’re passionate about what you do, it’s hard to take knock backs. But I say feeling vulnerable means you care.

3. You’ll panic about income

Woman working for yourself checking money contents of wallet

After two decades of being an employee, it’s been hard for me to let go of that regular guaranteed income. In fact, it’s terrifying. Most people who run their own business laugh and nod saying that panic doesn’t leave for a few years.  

In the past year, my income has been up and down. So this is where you need to have a long-term view. Write a business plan and some income projections that will make you feel a bit calmer.

4. You need a good mentor

You can’t be an expert at everything. Do a small business course. Learn some new skills. 

Then get a great mentor to help guide you for the first year or so. In her small business book Counting Potatoes, Trudi Yip says, “If you own a business you’ll know the rollercoaster-ride feeling it gives you – the thrilling ups and terrifying downs. A mentor can help guide you through the various aspects of business because it’s not always all about your numbers. 

“Mentors understand people get into business because they are passionate and talented and they want to help. So don’t be afraid to put your hand up for some help in the areas that worry you. That way all bases are covered.”

5. You’ll be so proud of yourself

Instagram: @shellyhorton1 / Via


It may be a struggle and it’s difficult but it’s YOURS. Running your own business is incredibly satisfying. For me personally, running my own business is not easy but it feels like a huge achievement.  

Plenty of people talk about launching out on their own but not many people actually do it. I say buy a ticket for the ride!

Ready to get the skills you need to work for yourself? Find out how.


Shelly Horton

Known for fronting up to uncomfortable conversations and never sitting on the fence, Shelly is a well-known voice in the area of pop culture, women's issues and health. She’s interviewed everyone from Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian to the Dalai Lama.

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