This year I'm celebrating six years of self-employment. It's been fantastic, terrifying and enormously fulfilling. Quite a contrast to the very controlled ten years I spent working for a boss in a large organisation.

What has changed? Everything and nothing. 

Everything because once you've tasted freedom you can never go back to working for someone else. You change. You can't stand being back in the sheep suffocates you! Never before have I had so much enjoyment and satisfaction in what I do for a living. And never before has there been so much at stake; you're only as good as the last project that you completed. There's no paid leave and you don't get a doctor's note when you're ill.

Also nothing has changed - I still do the same work for a lot of the same people I used to work for. Only better and at a higher level, because it is expected. It's all a lot more serious now. You hold yourself to a much higher standard. Relationships are much more important, mature and professional. When you do joke around you now always keep one eye on the controls, ready to grab them and go back to being serious at any moment. 

I'm still using the same tools, just newer and better versions of them. And the tools are all mine. That's nice.

Do I regret ever having left all the security? Not a chance. Is it uncertain out in the wild? You bet. But you get used to it. It is worth it because I can walk with my head held a bit higher; I took the risk and survived by Grace. People take you a lot more seriously than they used to. Some will value your expertise and quietly admire what you do, others will hate and undermine you because they see you as a threat.

Everything you successfully complete is now a huge personal victory. In the past it was just something you did to keep the boss happy.

Welcome to the real world. It's both fantastic and terrifying all at the same time. And I wouldn't want it any other way.