Steff: I don’t often include guest posts on this site (hence the name “Steff” in the title) but for friends and awesome folk like Ali of Aliventures, I make an exception. Ali is an author, writing coach and metalhead, and Steff Metal is but one stop on a virtual book tour to promote to her debut novel, Lycopolis – a supernatural thriller about a group of roleplayers who accidentally summon a demon. Over to you, Ali!
Back in summer 2008, I quit my day job.
This was also the exact same time I started listening to metal. After a lifetime of being convinced I just wasn’t into music (I loved Blackmore’s Night and that was about it) – I’d finally found a genre I couldn’t get enough of.
That summer was a great chance for trying new things. I suddenly had much more free time (after working a full-time day job and freelancing on the side for months). I was starting a creative writing masters, and working on a new novel, Lycopolis. And, after years of school, university, and work, I was finally my own boss.
I loved it. I’ve never looked back. And if you’re a metalhead, here’s why working for yourself just might be a perfect fit for you too:
#1: You Can Crank the Volume Up as Loud as You Want
In most offices, even less-than-conventional ones, you’re not going to get away with blasting music at suitably epic volumes. If you work for yourself, from home, you can listen to whatever you want, whenever you want, as loud as you want.
If you want to listen to one album – or one track – on repeat, you won’t be annoying anyone except the cat. And if a spot of headbanging or flailing around the room wildly (my version of dancing) gets you motivated, no-one’s going to call for the men in white coats…
#2: You Can Be Yourself
One of the things I found toughest about my brief spell in regular 9-5 employment was having to wear a “professional” hat. I felt like 90% of my personality had to be left at home.
When you work for yourself, you can be yourself. You can wear what you like (whether that’s PJs, jeans and a band t-shirt, steampunk attire, or anything in between). You can tweet about the bands you love. You can be chatty and friendly and silly with your clients.
#3: You Can Set Your Own Parameters
If you struggle to fit into the 9 – 5 world, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with you. Most regular jobs don’t give you much autonomy. You can’t choose when you work. You can’t choose where you work. You can’t choose your colleagues, or your clients.
When you work for yourself, you get to make the rules. That can be tough at times – sure, no-one’s telling you when to show up for work, but no-one’s making sure you stop at a sane hour either. But the freedom you gain is absolutely worth it. You can cut through all the usual red tape of the working world, and do things in your own way.
#4: You Can Create Something
Being creative is hugely fulfilling. Whether you’re painting a masterpiece or writing website content, you’re making something that would never have existed without you. That’s way more inspiring than feeling like a little replaceable cog in a very big machine.
Plus, you get to decide what work you want to do. That might mean writing an epic blog about metal, or knitting monsters, or designing eye-catching business cards, or pretty much anything you want. I love all my work, but especially my novel Lycopolis; I got to throw in all sorts of things I love (metal, roleplaying games, internet geekery…) and it was hugely fun to write.
#5: You Can Meet Great People
There are lots of fantastic people in regular employment. The problem is, it’s tough to really connect when most people are just keeping their heads down and hoping something better will eventually show up.
In the world of self-employment, there are a ton of awesome people, being themselves. Creative, driven, inspiring, fun people, who’ll be there to celebrate your triumphs and support you through any struggles. They won’t all be metalheads, but they will be people who can get you.
Maybe you’re in school or college, and you’ve no idea what you want to do in the future. Don’t get stuck into the 9 – 5 mindset: think how you could start up a business (small or large) doing something you love.
Maybe you’re unemployed, or in part-time work, and you’re anxious about the future. Don’t just apply for jobs: look for ways to use your skills to start making some money as your own boss.
Maybe you’re in a regular day job that’s okay, but you’ve always dreamt of more. Don’t let those dreams die: find time for them, in the evenings, or at the weekends, or by dropping down to part-time hours at work.
Working for myself is one of the biggest, and best, decisions I’ve ever made. It changed my life (and not just by getting me into metal ;-)).
It could well change your life too.
Ali Luke is currently on a virtual book tour for her novel Lycopolis, a fast-paced supernatural thriller centered on a group of online roleplayers who summon a demon into their game … and into the world. Described by readers as “a fast and furious, addictive piece of escapism” and “absolutely gripping”, Lycopolis is available in print and e-book form. Find out more at www.lycopolis.co.uk.