Author Topic: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond  (Read 1488 times)


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Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« on: December 15, 2020, 01:02:21 PM »
I'm a hustler baby, I just want you to know...

Currently I consider two careers to be what I "do for a living": acupuncture and music.
Last year the split was 70% acu 30% music.  This year it's changed, although even with the pandemic it's looking like I still made half of 2019 numbers for music (many of my friends who are full time are sitting on/near $0 for 2020).  Super grateful!  Anyway most of $$ is from acu.

In 2019 my acu #'s started to increase.  Bc of the pandemic and my partner being out of work without UE eligibility I started applying for every job I saw in the area.  Applied for 4, got 2 of them, with another that they ended up not hiring bc the person didn't leave after all (she told me tho she will tell them to hire me if she does ever leave.  I count that a win).

One of my old jobs hung in there so I am working the 3 jobs over 5 offices. One job is 3 half days every other week; the other is 2 6 hour shifts a week, and last one is one 2 to 6 hour shift (I never know until day of). I also have been seeing a couple patients on the side with house calls, but that is ending as of this week.

I have been invited to join another practice where they would want me 2 days a week- half days that would fill eventually.  It's a great learning and probably financial opportunity (in early stages of negotiating, part of it is figuring out if I will get a %- maybe lucrative as there's a lot of insurance patients- or a flat rate).  He is hoping to have someone long term there.  One of my good acu friends said that this dude's mentor and my mentor have VERY similar treatment styles/thinking and general mannerisms, she thinks it could be a really good fit for me.

In the meantime an old colleague let me know how to get in with this insurance plan I've been wanting to be in network with for years.  A lot of my friends are on that plan and would gladly use the benefit if I was a practitioner.  None of the places I work take it so I can't see these people without getting in network and doing my own place.  People don't like it since it pays relatively less- $60/patient.  It's a medicaid plan.  I actually feel good about this since asking for money is very hard for me sometimes and this is an underserved population that somehow has access to acupuncture, wouldn't normally be able to afford cash rates.  The few people I know who ARE in network said that it was a huge pain to get in, but once they were (aided by this fast track person I am in contact with) it was easy to submit and get paid.

This is making me think about longer term goals- I hope to get out of the rat race within 5 years (FIRE) if not sooner (coastFIRE- I think basically I'm there?).  When I'm "FIRE'd" I want to still do a little acu but it needs to be WAY more flexible- I want to get back to thru hiking couple weeks at a time and a flexible practice is what I'd need.  Also even in the last few years I've had to say no to music work way more than I would have liked (including 2 tours).  It's hard to know what to expect in the post-COVID world with music- but I've been gigging couple times a month since August even with the pandemic so IDK. 

IDK if I should say no to new opportunity and put my energy into building this other thing that I'm meh about (I want to treat through the insurance, and care about people getting well, but am not super into networking/advertising- I don't have some burning drive to have My Own Practice like a lot of my colleagues do) or if I should take the more set opportunity which will give me more guaranteed $ in the shorter term, but probably be more work- in both a good and bad way, and then be faced with leaving it potentially in a few years since I doubt it will be flexible enough.

I am working with a money/life coach (through Capital One!  it's a free and surprisingly cool service) and freedom is a big, big, big value to me.  I was hoping for some feedback tho from others here who understand the FIRE but budgety mindset.


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Re: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 01:03:31 PM »
BTW all of my income is 1099 or self-employed except the one job that is 12 hours every other week- that's W2.


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Re: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 01:08:07 PM »
Also I forgot that the other job that I used to work (1099) which I haven't worked since the pandemic started- it was community acupuncture at this refugee services place- has written to me about restarting, but with a higher level of service.  They contacted me about doing a half day shift once a week and what I'd like to get paid in a more traditional one on one setting.  They're waiting for grants to come through.  I have no idea when this would start, but they said it's a priority- a lot of their other services will be online from now on, they want to use the physical office space more for medical.  If I can I hope to keep this too.  It's rewarding and used to be flexible with swapping shifts with the other acupuncturist.


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Re: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2020, 04:01:49 PM »
No special expertise from my end, just reading sympathetically and figuring you deserve an answer.

It sounds like you are a person who seeks to have meaningful engagement with their work, even if a driver of the work is financial need/desire. Having reached a partial FU stage, something approaching CoastFIRE, you need/want work that combines pay and meaning.

As such, congrats on reaching the current stage. Clearly you've done well by establishing real income in fields often inhabited by passionate people who work but receive little income. I applaud the idea of responding to particularly good opportunities when they come, such as the insurance network you wanted to get into, and the grant-driven acupuncture office for the low income clients.

It seems there are tradeoffs in balancing the different work sources and also in choosing the exact level of work volume at any given moment. It looks like you are clarifying your thoughts well by focusing on the right timeframe - you expect to work regularly when possible for several more years, and are sorting out the opportunities based on how your goals are likely to be best filled during that time.

Where you wonder how to balance several different factors, some of which are impossible to quantify in advance, one idea might be to focus first on the most important thing, then the next most important, and limit the number of criteria you consider at once. That would simplify the decision making so that you don't have a confusion of multiple factors at once. For example, you could decide that:

1. You will do the special opportunities that you recognize as fulfilling your real goals/passions. When in doubt, you will accept anything you've "been thinking about for several years" or "been wanting for several years" as something that's important - respect your persistent thoughts as a good sign.

2. In the time that remains, you do will do the other paying work that you like up to the limit of your ability. No exhausting yourself, but up to the limit of your energy, do the remaining work available because you're not FIRE yet and it's stuff that fundamentally you do like. When in doubt, go ahead and work, just work with dignity and care. You never know when such opportunities will dry up, or extra money will come in handy - for now, do good work. 

3. However, these second string activities will be cut if they become "too much". You are grateful they're there, but confident you have enough good work, so rather than overload for long, pass them to the next good practitioner.

Congrats on being in the zone of healthy success. And if I'm off in my reading of your situation, feel free to clarify. It's your life! Best wishes, @dizzy!
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 04:03:39 PM by BicycleB »


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Re: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2021, 12:46:23 PM »
Hey @BicycleB thanks for the thoughtful reply!  Things have changed a bit with the opportunities- some new ones, I'm having a hard time to decide, but it's leaning a certain way.  I posted about it elsewhere.  Navigating all of this is so difficult, especially with multiple careers each having multiple gigs.  For acupuncture, we certainly never got any guidance about this in school. 


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Re: Self-employed jobs planning for 2021 and beyond
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2021, 10:09:47 AM »
This is maybe a little off topic. But one thing I'd suggest is, you think optimistically about the future.

You won't know this about me, but I've been helping a lot of people with PPP loans, writing a bunch about how they work, etc., etc. And one of the requirements to get a PPP loan is that a borrower certify they face "economic uncertainty."

Back when the Covid-19 pandemic was smoldering, because no one knew how this would play out, some pretty apocalyptic scenarios were bandied about. The infamous Hammer and Dance article at which so many celebrity experts endorsed talked about 8M or 10M people dying in US.

But ironically some of the accountants have had to think objectively about how much economic uncertainty exists now... and there are reasons to think not only that much less uncertainty exists but also to be hopeful.

More details here:

P.S. I would also prepare potentially to raise prices if you're in a field where provider shortages start showing up.