ONE of the best things about being self-employed is you get to be your own boss. Nobody can tell you what to do or how to do it. You are wholly responsible for your own fate and fortunes. But here’s the plot twist – it’s also one of the worst things.

It can create a scenario where it becomes nigh impossible to achieve a happy medium. Taking on too much work – as you can never say no – can leave self-employed folk often feeling frazzled. And, unlike staff workers safely cosseted in secure employment, there are no paid holidays or weekend downtime in which to recover.

At the other end of the scale, having too little work provokes an almost existentialist sense of fear. If I’m not earning, do I actually still have a job? That fear can also be exacerbated by staring at a bank balance dropping faster than Dominic Cummings’ credibility.

During this understandably lean period for freelance sportswriters, the only way to try to stem the cash haemorrhaging has been to try to limit outgoings. Although the kids, somewhat selfishly, still insist on eating at least once a day.

In a case of art imitating real life, a friend recently recommended an app called Football Chairman to help while away the lockdown hours. He did warn that, despite its fairly basic format, it was a surprisingly addictive game. Something that I found myself in agreement with at around 2am this morning having succeeded at the third attempt to guide my club out of the third tier of English non-league football.

The fun of buying and selling players, hiring and firing managers, improving the youth academy and rebuilding the stadium was tempered slightly by what took place in the biggest box on the screen, one that that simply reads: Money.

No matter how prudent you tried to be on transfers and wages, that sum in the club’s bank account would keep drifting lower and lower. There seemed no way to stop it as it gravitated ever closer to zero and then into the overdraft. The anxiety that built while watching it plummet was like driving a car with the petrol light flashing and no sign of a service station ahead. Being a football club chairman wasn’t always as much fun as you thought it would be.

And here is where the Scottish game finds itself now. The majority of our clubs entered 2020 in rude financial health. Even those who weren’t exactly swimming in cash were well-run and capable of living within their means. Outgoings matched income and clubs were able to survive and, in some cases, prosper.

Now they find their very existence in real peril because of – to borrow Leeann Dempster’s phrase – the giant coronavirus meteor that is edging ever closer into view.

Many clubs will cope in the short term. All have received their end-of-season payments from the SPFL. Many have placed staff on furlough, while wage bills will soon drop dramatically as players’ contracts expire.

But any sum they have tucked away will start to quickly diminish if the bulk of their outgoings continue with very little going back into the bank to offset them.

Little wonder that the Zoom calls are starting to mount up as increasingly desperate chairmen and chief executives try to come up with a solution to an almost unfixable problem.

Closed doors games with no revenue coming in through the turnstiles won’t work for many, especially if testing for Covid-19 becomes a requirement at a weekly cost estimate of £10,000. There is just no way to make those numbers stack up.

For some part-time clubs ran often by a crew of willing volunteers and only a handful of full-time staff, the possibility of going into hibernation is understandably appealing. Better to mothball their operations for six months to a year than incurring unnecessary, damaging losses just to get football played.

For the full-time clubs with far greater financial commitments then doing nothing is not an option. The new Sky Sports deal will deliver some security if matches can go ahead, while clubs ought to be looking into also beefing up their in-house club TV capacity.

Pay-per-view live streaming of every match not picked up by Sky ought to be a must even during the traditional Saturday 3pm blackout slot, with fans shelling out to watch from home and season ticket holders given free access as an alternative to sitting in their seats. It will be the only way to even come close to making the sums add up and allow football to return in some capacity.

Hearts will try to float their revised reconstruction plans tomorrow on a call with other Championship representatives and maybe this time they will get more support.

Simply changing the number of sides in each division was never likely to fly. But if the divide has now boiled down to those clubs for whom it is financially viable to start the season and those for whom it isn’t, then the temporary reformatting of the SPFL into one division of 20 or so willing clubs definitely has some merit if the details can be ironed out.

Those who choose to shut up shop until it is safe and more affordable to return ought to also be given that opportunity. Neither path, though, will be straightforward. Who would want to be a chairman in these circumstances?