Could I be self-employed? Yoga teacher Jenny considered this for a long time. Doubting, calculating, hesitating. We always feel anxious before making big decisions we’re afraid to regret later. And so it was with her. Today, Jenny is her own boss. Her story is inspirational and her joy is simply contagious—so much so that you even feel like starting your own project. Jenny beams,”I thought to myself: Show the world what you can do”. What are we waiting for?
Jenny is happy. Very much so—and speaks all the more openly about difficult times. “I was more afraid of the fear,” she says, sipping tea. “Many people know the feeling: You don’t want to take the wrong steps, so you don’t change anything.” Her job was her job. For many years she had an office job, which gave her security, but she wasn’t fulfilled.
Wasted years? “No,” Jenny says assuredly. “I needed time to find out what I wanted to do,” she says, leaning against the cozy corner bench in the café. The trained yoga- and reiki teacher has just opened her own studio and radiates happiness. “I just love to do something for my money that makes me happy.” Sounds super easy—but the path wasn’t so simple. “It was a process, not a question,” she finds important to point out. “But also a nice experience!”
Doubt, Stress and an Aha-Moment
The dream of living off her hobby had been simmering in Jenny for some time. “I wanted to pass on my knowledge, at first for just a few hours a week.” She negotiated with her boss, reduced her working hours in the office and began to give yoga classes at various studios in Hamburg. In addition, she created an online presence with her Jimdo website. “I tried a lot of colors, different fonts, and photos. It’s awesome that I can create my own website. So I can convey exactly what I stand for: Spirituality without being too esoteric.”
The yoga and reiki courses alongside her profession was incredibly fun. But the 33-year-old also felt a great deal of uncertainty: “How do I do this with less of a fixed salary, in an expensive city like Hamburg?” She pushed her doubts aside, but the stress increased. Finally, workdays started at 8am in the office and ended at 11pm in her home office with the last reply to an appointment request via e-mail.
More and more Jenny began to feel the office work was a strenuous duty—alongside the free-spirited yoga and reiki with her clients. “It was always important for me to be balanced with yoga, reiki, and shiatsu. I couldn’t do everything simultaneously and still practice what I preached in a credible way” says Jenny.
To relax, she flew with her boyfriend Markus to Bali: Sun, sea and quality time. This made something click. It was a key moment for Jenny—though a painful one.
“I came back from vacation with a mosquito bite that was infected, ” says Jenny with a smile on her face. Back in Hamburg, the doctor wanted her to call in sick immediately. “At that moment I realized that I was afraid to miss work because of a mosquito bite. That was my ‘aha’ moment.” It couldn’t go on. The next day, she went to the office and handed in her resignation.
Considering self-employment? “You can do it!”
You really don’t worry about the decision. “I already had experience with my courses, my own website, great client, and friends, whom I could count on.” And what else? “It’s not so wild,” says Jenny. “I already had a small business.” And for questions about legal formalities she turns to acquaintances, reads books or goes online. “The knowledge that you need, everyone can find”. The exception: “You may prefer to consult a tax adviser about your tax returns…”
Jenny was much more worried about what her parents would say. “My parents prefer something safe, too safe rather than not safe enough.” Inwardly prepared for opposition, she finally tells them about her decision. “And my parents said, ‘Jenny, we see how happy you are with your idea. Do it, we’ll be there for you!” She didn’t expect that. She also listened without exception to friends and relatives. “I can’t count the amount of times I heard: ‘You can do it, Jenny, do it!’ It almost surprised me—but it was incredibly powerful,” says Jenny, sipping her tea.
When your hobby becomes your profession
Fast forward to now: Jenny shares a studio with three friends in the heart of Hamburg. The days before the opening were exhausting with getting the renovation and preparation sorted—not to mention the last working days at her old job. “But the anticipation was bigger than the actual effort,” says Jenny.
So what happens when a personal passion becomes a profession—do you lose something? “No, it’s totally cool,” says Jenny, radiating enthusiasm. It is important to keep the joy of the activity with a little self-discipline. “For example, I take for granted certain working times. I can answer an email that comes in after 6 o’clock the next day.” In addition, she intends to plan two days off her schedule during the week.
Self-employed people know a lot about sleepless nights, thoughts about switching profession spinning around in their head, doubts, worries about responsibility, uncertain finances. Jenny has overcome this “fear of fear” step by step. Today, she is convinced of herself, of her own project. Because it just makes her happy!
5 tips to becoming self-employed from Jenny:
- Find yourself: What do you do well? And what makes you happy?
- Start gradually: Begin your project next to work or from home (e.g. with an online shop)
- Financial buffer: Prepare a safety net for the transitional phase.
- Get support: Ask friends and acquaintances with specialized knowledge about registering a business, for example.
- Create a website: Present yourself and what you have to offer online—preferably with a stylish logo!
Have you ever thought about turning your project into a profession? Or have you already taken the step into self-employment? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!