Introducing Do What You Love, a weekly series on the good, the bad and yes, maybe even the ugly side of self-employment (is that where the un-showered pajama wearing part comes in?)

Taking the leap into creative self-employment is a huge, often scary decision, and unfortunately, it's a decision that will most certainly seal your fate as a work-a-holic.

Before I quit my day job, I had an idealized picture in my head of what my self-employed life would look like. Oh, how much easier it would be! I would no longer have to answer to anyone, I could set my own schedule, take leisurely breaks mid-day, have time to cook! And all the while, to actually be making a living doing what I love? That's something most people can only dream about!

But then came the not quite so rosy reality. The long looooong hours, the distractions, the need to set schedules, the no money coming in, the isolation, the lack of motivation, the forgetting to eat, the not taking breaks, the bookkeeping, the organizing, the still dirty house, ugh! I was prepared for a lot of hard work, but damn! This is not just work, this is my life now.

Still, it's the life I've chosen for myself because, for all its drawbacks, it has a major plus: I can honestly say "I love what I do." I get to go to sleep exhausted from spilling out ideas. The more work I put into something, the more I get in return. I set my own agenda. My success is wholly dependent on me. It's a bit overwhelming at times, but I wouldn't give it up for any other job at this point in my life.

This series is dedicated to those of you who've chosen this path too, so we can talk openly about the downsides and also help remind each other about all the upsides. (Speaking of which, why don't you step outside for a little break after you read this, hmm?)

It's also for those of you who are seriously considering leaving the 9-5 grind, whether you have a creative business on the side already or would like to start one. Hopefully this will help you decide if self-employment is really for you and if so, it'll help you navigate through the ups and downs you may encounter.

So, on with the first installment! Coming up next: an interview with Grace Bonney, editor of design*sponge, about what self-employed life is like for her. Stay tuned!

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