The UX Hive Founder and seasoned entrepreneur Carl Borg Bartolo has emphasised that self-employment is a “lonely path” that needs to be backed up by a group of individuals who are ready to offer support to push through even the most troubling times.
Mr Borg Bartolo was reflecting on his first full year in the world of self-employment, having founded The UX Hive in November 2022 with the aim of helping businesses improve their user experiences (UX) while using their apps or websites. His venture into solopreneurship came after he gained over 20 years of experience in building and optimising digital products in various industries.
Commenting on the past year, he said that there are many things that he is grateful for and many lessons that he has learnt. “More importantly is that I get to take it to year two with new perspectives and learnings to help me keep this momentum going,” he explained.
As he looked back on the past 12 months, he wanted to identify the key elements of self-employment that took him by surprise.
First of all, Mr Borg Bartolo said that getting the elevator pitch for the business right has proven to be more difficult than he initially thought.
“Explaining what value I may bring to clients in a clear and concise manner took a dozen of iterations to get to and I believe it’s still not simple enough,” he remarked.
He pointed out that finding the right pitch is “key to reaching wider prospective clients”, particularly if the self-employed individuals is seeking to be “industry agnostic”, delving into more than one area.
Another vital lesson he learnt was the absence of guaranteed, regular income.
Contrary to regular employees, solopreneurs must depend on the income that they generate, which tends to fluctuate on a monthly basis.
“Embracing the rollercoaster of irregular payments, but always keeping a financial safety net,” Mr Borg Bartolo said, stressing the importance of maintaining a backup of funds.
He also emphasised that there are also a number of business expenses that he was not fully aware of when delving into the world of self-employment.
Advising individuals seeking to make the shift, he said that learning more about these business expenses, including tangible asset depreciation, will have an impact on taxable income, and thus aspiring entrepreneurs need to “take full advantage here”.
“An accountant will guide you better, but a DIY crash course doesn’t hurt,” he suggested.
Lastly, Mr Borg Bartolo remarked that solopreneurship is a “lonely path”.
Many make the switch to self-employment in a bid to push forward with their innovative ideas, while also striking a healthy work-life balance. However, despite the increased flexibility that this brings, solopreneurship can still take a toll on one’s mental health, as aside from having to focus on every single part of the business, they are doing so on their own. This is a complete change from the daily interactions one has at the workplace of a regular company.
In this respect, the “power of social bonds” which are naturally created in an office should not be underestimated.
“If you’re thinking of making the switch to solopreneurship, it really helps to have a strong support system – my amazing wife – and a network of individuals following a similar path, or even better, friends in this path,” he explained. Mr Borg Bartolo said that these individuals are ultimately the people who encourage the solopreneur to “push ahead even in rainy days”.
Wrapping up, he wished every solopreneurs, as well as those still embarking on the journey, an “amazing” and “prosperous” 2024.
The UX Hive Founder Carl Borg Bartolo / The UX Hive
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