It’s hard to believe, but I have officially entered my 6th month of self employment! This feels like a good time to reflect on these last few months and share what I’ve learned, what has surprised me, and how I plan to grow in the next 6 months! If you’re new here, welcome! I left my corporate gig to pursue digital freelance work for small businesses, and to run my blog full time. You can read all about my exit from corporate hell here. Here are six things that are top of mind when reflecting on my journey thus far as a full time freelancer / blogger. Every situation is going to be different, but if you’re considering self employment I hope these thoughts and takeaways help!
The Days Fly By
I picked up on this one within the first week, haha! I never thought that I would be bored working for myself, but I thought I would accomplish a whole lot more around the house. I’m here to tell you that hasn’t been the case. Sure, I run downstairs and start loads of laundry throughout the day, but it still piles up. Prior to leaving my corporate gig, I had big plans of organizing closets, and creating all of the Chatbooks and art books I’m behind on. Guess what? I’m still behind on those.
TAKEAWAY: If you’re about to leave your corporate gig for self employment, or if you’re switching from one gig to another, give yourself a grace period. Block out a week to tackle some of the projects that you’ve put on the back burner for too long. Trust me, you’ll be better off in the long run.
Getting Out of the House is a Must
I typically work from home at my desk in the office that I share with my husband (he’s in sales and works from home too). We are in the process of setting his office up on our main level, but have yet to find a desk. I sometimes sit at our kitchen table, or work on our patio too. Working from a coffee shop has proven to be very productive for me. There are far less distractions when you get out of your house.
TAKEAWAY: Look at your calendar on Sunday nights and see what day of the week looks like it will be best for you to work outside of the house. It’s fun to visit new places around your city too. And if you’re in STL, I’m conducting this research for you and will compile a blog post around the best places to work from in Saint Louis in the very near future so stay tuned!
Routine, Routine, Routine
This is a whole blog post in and of itself. It’s probably the thing I have struggled with the most, and at six months in I feel like I’m finally starting to get into somewhat of a routine. When working in an office, my routine was made for me. Be at work by 8:30, go to some meetings, take lunch around noon, go to some more meetings, leave at 5. Not to mention, I was working on very specific projects and tasks. As a self-proclaimed lady boss, I have complete control of my routine. In an office, I was super organized. In my new role I have often times felt incredibly unorganized bouncing between client projects + blogging. SIDE NOTE – I will be launching my website that’s dedicated to my freelance work soon, so keep an eye out for it!
TAKEAWAY: Keep doing some of the things you were doing when you WERE working for someone else. For example, I still workout at the earliest possible time barre is offered (6a.m.). I like that I have the option to go during the middle of my day, but getting this out of the way helps me focus on work the rest of the day. I plan to share what a typical day looks like for me soon, so make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter so you don’t miss that upcoming post!
Meet with other self employed & like minded people
I cannot stress how important this one is. A good rule of thumb is to meet with one new person each week. Granted that isn’t always possible, but I do try to have one coffee/lunch date each week that is with another blogger, freelancer, or potential client/ blog contact. It’s important to go into each of these meetings with an agenda, so that you leave with a takeaway or having learned something new that you can apply to your business.
TAKEAWAY: Talk to everyone. Seriously. You never know who knows who that might need someone to help them with their social media. Or so and so is looking for someone to promote their new business. The days of going to formal “networking” events are over. Own it. Make the connections.
You wear ALL of the hats. Every.Single.One.Of.Them.
Back in the day at one of my very first jobs out of college someone told me I was like a Swiss Army knife because I could wear a lot of hats. I always thought it was the corniest compliment ever, but it has kind of come full circle and prepared me for this chapter of my new career. Sales, marketing, social media, email, accounting, human resources…yeah you cover all of it when you work for yourself. But it’s also impossible to be good at all of it.
TAKEAWAY: Figure out ways to outsource when necessary. Often times tasks that have to be done, eat up the most of your time. When you’re just getting started, you likely don’t have the funds to pay for help so get creative. Figure out how you can trade services with friends and family that might be able to help.
Love/Hate Relationship with Flexibility
Having a flexible schedule is something I have dreamed about for YEARS. And I’m here to say it is by far THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF! But it can also become the worst thing – haha! Ok, not the worst thing but it’s a slippery slope. Refer back to the section above on having a routine 🙂 You have to set boundaries for yourself.
TAKEAWAY: Figure out what having flexibility means to YOU. To me it means being able to be more involved with my daughters school since she is in elementary school now. Being able to take her to and from activities, volunteer in her class during the day, and not have to feel guilty about it. Then figure out how to fit your work in accordingly so you can be present for those activities.
If you’re considering taking the leap to work for yourself, or you already have, I would love to hear from you! Community is what makes this world go round!