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On a recent visit to Japan, my wife Lilian and I visited a few Japanese gardens of distinction and I thought to myself, “I can do that”.  I began to take photos, paid more attention to the tour guide and made some notes.

When we returned home I surveyed the corner of our front garden that I thought would look impressive if it was converted to Japanese style.  Then I went onto the Internet and did some research about Japanese garden culture, design and suppliers of the relevant kit, all of which was spread over a couple of weeks.

It was well into July by this time and as I needed to fell a tree as part of the plan and all of the roses and many other flowers, plants and bushes were in full bloom, I decided I would have to shelve the idea until the autumn, or maybe winter.

Will it ever materialise?  Who knows?  If it does, my blog readers will be the first know and I promise a photo.

I use this story as a link between 4 very short words, ‘I CAN DO THAT’ and reality.  Not so much in the instance of my ‘hoped-for’ Japanese garden but the much more significant situation where people apply this very simple 4-word statement to the life-changing decision of becoming self-employed.

Some people do it because they want to get-rich-quick and enjoy an ‘easy life’ just working when they feel like it.  I would not be surprised if that was the reason why most people go for it, I know I did. Sadly, very few, well actually very, very, very few people achieve that objective, I know I didn’t.

Some people just want more flexible working with a work/life balance that they can be in control of, with financial rewards being of secondary importance.  A much higher percentage of people can achieve this objective and are very happy.

Some people who are unemployed or who may have been made redundant, consider SE as a viable way of becoming re-employed.  Almost being forced into self-employment, which is possibly not the best reason for taking it on.

In all of these cases the person involved must have thought, “I can do that”.  If they didn’t, then maybe they should not have gone for it.

I have met many Self-employed people over the years, some successful, some very successful and some who have ultimately failed to survive.  Almost all of them were unanimous about some things.  It’s not easy, on the contrary, it’s usually very hard.  Rarely do you achieve a situation where you are totally in control of your time, with your customers’ demands dictating how, where and when you spend your time, or you tend to lose some business as a consequence of wanting to do things your way.

Some financial facts that have been published over the last year regarding self-employed people in the UK are pretty startling and somewhat off-putting.  They are that……

The level of earnings among the self-employed is lower than among employees. The distribution of self-employed income appears centered around £240 a week, much lower than that for employees, which is centered around £400 a week. Not surprisingly therefore, self-employed families are more likely to be in poverty, than families where all adults are employed.  One survey even suggested that around 80% of self-employed people in the UK have only £100 or less in savings.

Something else that the self-employed people I have spoken to all agreed with:- DISCIPLINE, DETERMINATION, DEDICATION and DURABILITY are just some of the many vital actions someone who is self-employed must apply, if they are going to succeed in business, or indeed anything.