It’s been a long time since I posted. Beside 5Q Friday I mean (though I only edit those). There’s been so much going on, by the time I have a minute to write, I honestly just don’t have the energy to.
A month or so ago, I realized I was back where I started: Tons of work surrounding me, client obligations, conference calls, skipping the gym and so inwardly focused I wasn’t out and about meeting new people. So much for forging my own path. I was so caught up in the day-to-day that it was no longer clear to me what I wanted. Was I starting a social media marketing agency? Was I working on Waglee? Did I want to be a full-time blogger? Was I doing PR? Was I starting a group for women? Should I be looking for a full-time job? Was I media buyer? Did I want to be a coach?
To be fair, the money tree only having so many leafs provided a reality check in terms of accepting multiple projects outside my initial scope. And those obligations offered the confidence boost I needed to push me past the six month mark and realize making a self-employed living was going to work. A positive for sure, but not a push toward my passion or priorities.
The lesson? Figure out how to have ongoing contract work AND priorities for my new life. Not an earth shattering revelation, I know, but let’s get specific: When you’re self-employed and working on an idea of your own, the key is balancing work that pays the bills with maintaining momentum with your own “project”. How do you do this? Still flushing it out, but here are a few pieces of advice for freelancers starting their own business:
1.) Get out of the 9 to 5: Out of the seven clients I was working on, only one had work that needed to be done Monday-Friday from 9 to 5. Personally, I’m more creative at night than during the day. Rather than fight against this by forcing my projects into “normal business hours”, I let myself work when it’s good for me (within client deadlines of course). Sometimes I was writing tweets at 11 a.m. and blog posts at midnight. But my mind was going so I harnessed that energy, which left time during the day for running around to meetings, hitting the gym, reading up on all that was interesting, researching trips and taking care of “life” things like the bank and pharmacy. Of course I was online via phone during the day – so could always respond to clients if needed.
2.) Schedule time for your own project: In reality, I had eight clients – including building up my coaching practice (and nine including Waglee, which unfortunately is on the back burner right now). It’s easy to put aside your own projects when you have someone else providing immediate cash for contract. However, you’ll never get to the point of building revenue for your passion if you don’t make time to put effort there. I still have trouble with this one, but even this week I’m trying to implement something new – setting aside two hours, two mornings a week to dedicate to blogging*.
3.) Learn to say no: A breaking point came when I freaked out at two friends/partners who were late to a meeting for which I skipped a regular gym class. Right, wish that hadn’t happened…. However the moment taught me to maintain my priorities and schedule around them. Since then, I’ve developed the ability to say “no” when something causes me to overextend myself or a time doesn’t work for me. I’m also a little choosier with my projects. This makes for a more productive and happier me – which leads to more effective interactions with others.
4.) Question, question, question: This one you might need to experience yourself to master – but I’ll share it anyways… Before entering into any project, make sure you fully understand what’s expected. How do you do this? Question! Question! Question! My nature tends to be “it’ll all work out in the end” or “they’ll do the right thing”… And they will, for them. That’s why it’s imperative you fully understand what’s expected before accepting anything so you know if it fits in with your current projects — including your own! It might be common sense, but you can never have too much information before taking something on. If they get impatient with all your asking – it’s probably not the right fit personality wise anyways.
“Time is the wisest counselor of all.” ~Pericles
*Special thanks to Sarah R. for inspiring this tip and post;-)