Just over a year ago, on January 1, 2014, I became self-employed. For over three years before that I was doing what is commonly referred to as the \u201cside-hustle\u201d which basically meant I came home from my day job as a university instructor, took my dog out, and then sat down to do a few more hours of work.\r\n\r\nIt was an extremely hectic and challenging time balancing both my day job and my online entrepreneurial pursuits, but before I knew it, my side hustle starting bringing in serious income. I started tracking this extra income, since money management is probably the most important skill any self-employed entrepreneur can have. Then, one day, in July of 2013, it surpassed my day job income, and I started to formulate a plan to work only for myself.\r\n\r\nIn my 15 months of being self-employed, I've had incredible months where I made more money than I ever thought possible. However, I also had one harrowing month when a technical glitch caused my income to plummet into the negative while I was the middle of a cross-country move with 6-week-old twins in the back seat. This is why it\u2019s so important to take control of your finances and be extremely aware of your cash flow. (Luckily, Personal Capital has a great tool for that!)\r\n\r\nTo say it\u2019s a challenge to be self-employed is an understatement, and every self-employed entrepreneur has those moments when the idea of a steady paycheck sounds downright heavenly. Of course, we always eventually find our way back to what motivated us to become self-employed to begin with, but if you want to build a support network, here are three great ways to go.\r\nConnect With Other Self-Employed People\r\nA recent study by a company called Economic Modeling Specialists Intl wrote about the characteristics of the self-employed. Interestingly enough, there are nearly 10.6 million self-employed jobs in the United States, and this study specifically profiled those who were fully self-employed versus having a part time side hustle. Additionally, the study showed that over 30% of those who are self-employed in the States are over the age of 55.\r\n\r\nBelow you can see a chart that shows the age breakdown among those who consider themselves self-employed. The ages range from 14 years old all the way to 55 and over.\r\n\r\nThe study also researched the percentage of self-employment people in each state, which is shown in the chart below the age breakdown chart.\r\n\r\nWhat this evidence reveals is that regardless of your age, your place in life, or your location, you will be able to reach out and find someone else who is self-employed and utilize them as a sounding board and support system.\r\n\r\nFor example, if you are a housekeeper, meet regularly with other housekeepers in the area. Discuss wages, jobs, challenges, and triumphs. Find out where more experienced people save their money for retirement or even better teach them about using tools like Personal Capital to get an overall view of their net worth.\r\n\r\nI personally interact with other financial writers every single day, and because of the nature of our work, I frequently talk to them about budgeting, finding out about hidden fees, and anything that might impede my ability to work and eventually retire. Usually conversations like this can easily pull me out of my slump because they remind me why I\u2019m self-employed and that even though there are challenges, they can easily be overcome.\r\n\r\nThus, when you\u2019re self-employed, you can\u2019t view other individuals in your industry as competition. Instead, view them as your co-workers, people who you rely on for support when things aren\u2019t going well. I honestly can\u2019t tell you how many times I\u2019ve confided in another blogger or asked for advice when things got tough. If you have trouble finding other like-minded individuals, visit your local chamber of commerce or look for some meet up groups in your profession. You\u2019ll be glad that you did, especially if you are in the middle of a slump.\r\nAcknowledge and Rectify Burn Out\r\nThe symptoms of burn out have been studied extensively over the past few years. They include things like becoming unmotivated with your work almost to the point of feeling cynical towards your work and not wanting to wake up in the morning. You tend to procrastinate a lot and start to care less about meeting expectations.\r\n\r\nMost importantly, burn out is extremely common among those who are self-employed. Because we do not operate under traditional 9-5 norms, many of us who are self-employed work longer than typical 8-hour days, often putting in late nights and weekend hours to ensure things are running smoothly.\r\n\r\nI know that I personally worked 7 days a week for well over a year, and I was so focused on bringing in an income for my family that I didn\u2019t even notice it. It wasn\u2019t until I started dreading Saturdays when everyone else in the world relished them that I realized I was completely overworked, and I had no one to blame but myself. Sometimes, when you are self-employed, you get so caught up in earning an income, making certain financial goals, tracking your expenses, and growing your net worth that you completely forget that you became self-employed to regain a bit of freedom and control over your life.\r\n\r\nSo, the first step to rectifying burn out is to acknowledge that you have it. This isn\u2019t anything shameful and it\u2019s incredibly common. You can find out by answering a short 45-question assessment on Psychology Today. Additionally when trying to assess whether or not you are truly burned out, consider all factors. Recent studies have shown that supportive spouses are just as important as supportive bosses. Plus, your work life will typically affect your home life and vice versa, so when trying to identify burnout causes, think beyond your work stresses and make sure that you\u2019ve correctly identified the source (or sources) of your stress.\r\n\r\nIn order to rectify burnout, you might have to reduce your workload, change the projects your working on, or try something completely new. I personally rectified mine by taking yoga regularly and focusing on creating something just for me as opposed to only creating things for clients.\r\nOutsource the Tasks You Hate\r\nMany entrepreneurs suffer because we want to handle every aspect of our business ourselves. While I think it\u2019s very important to understand and be involved in all aspects of your business, I also am a firm believer that someone who is self-employed should only do the job you set out to do.\r\n\r\nFor example, I am self-employed as a blogger. While I have garnered extensive knowledge about the technical side of website building, I still hire out many jobs that I cannot do myself. Sure, I could Google and try to find out how to fix a certain piece of code, and I have done that in the past. Now, I realize my time is more valuable than that. It\u2019s much better to pay someone who can fix things quickly which allows me time to focus on what I actually enjoy doing.\r\n\r\nIn fact, many people recommend drawing up an organizational chart like the one below, so that everyone understands the structure of your business whether it is big or small.\r\n\r\nIf you currently have no help, it might be wise to sit down and write out all of the tasks that are required to run your business successfully. So, you might have a box for accounting, marketing, shipping, customer service, etc. Because my business is so tiny, I would just have three boxes, one for my virtual assistant, one for my technical assistant, and one for me. However, any time I bring someone new on to the team, it would be helpful to show them the chart so that they understand how everyone works together. And, as I mentioned Personal Capital is great for viewing all of your accounts so you can see your debt, cash flow, expenses, and net worth all in one place. So, when you add this in with writing out the tasks I mentioned above, I promise you will feel so organized. I don\u2019t have to spend time looking at multiple sites and logging on to tons of accounts to get a quick look at where I am financially because of Personal Capital. Usually I can take a look at it and then feel confidant knowing my business is going in the right direction. This reduces stress, which can also help ease those feelings of burnout.\r\n\r\nWhile many people have different views on outsourcing tasks, I know one of the biggest mistakes I made in the beginning of my self-employed career was not outsourcing enough. I waited until I was completely overwhelmed and had hundreds of unanswered e-mails to ask for help. Now, I couldn\u2019t go a day without speaking to my virtual assistant, and her help has drastically reduced much of the stress I experienced previously in my work. If you feel similarly or feel completely burned out by all of your tasks, slowly but surely start seeking out some help. You\u2019ll be so glad that you did.\r\n\r\nUltimately, if you are able to focus on these three goals \u2013 connecting with other self-employed individuals, acknowledging and rectifying burnout, and outsourcing tasks \u2013 you will be well on your way to getting back on track during a self-employment slump. Just remember that falling into a slump or feeling unmotivated happens to even the most season self-employed professionals. What\u2019s important is that you don\u2019t lag for too long and get back in the game as quickly as possible.