Self-employment isn’t always easy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be easier. Check out these five tips to being self-employed on how to make life just a little bit easier.
1. Own pajamas. Like legitimate “my neighbor could never see me in these unless my house was on fire and I was running screaming from the front door” pajamas. You may be looking at that and already thinking this post is pointless, but I swear it’s a real tip. I used to sleep in comfortable clothes. Shorts, sometimes sweat pants, and a t-shirt. Super cozy and totally acceptable as clothing to work out in. Or clothing to wear when you’re working from home and no one sees you other than when you brave the sunlight for a few minutes to run down to the mailbox. This meant there were days that I didn’t even have to change out of my pajamas to work. And those days were really tough to find any sort of motivation that didn’t include tubs of ice cream and television. But once I got a real pair of pajamas that I’d really prefer didn’t see the light of day other than when I woke up and went to sleep? Getting dressed was pretty much guaranteed and led to really productive days where I was actually able to focus and get to work.
2. Drink water. I’ll spare you the obvious “water is good for you, drink eight gallons a day!” talk. We all know we should be drinking more water because of it’s super powers. But another reason? It makes you have to pee. And having a reason to unglue your butt from your computer chair is a good thing. It’s really easy to lose five hours in front of your screen and realize that you haven’t eaten or consumed anything other than the whole bag of m&ms that is was mindlessly devoured. Bonus tip: Don’t keep food by your computer. It will get eaten, most likely right after a meal while you’re muted on a call or when you’re surfing social media and waiting for the fail whale to go away or when you forget you just went back on your diet.
3. Find a hobby that has nothing to do with your business. Most self-employed people are really clever. Clever enough to find ridiculous ways to tie all of their hobbies into their work. Maybe it’s because we’re doing what we love so it comes naturally, or maybe we are just moneymongers, but it’s like a sixth sense I think. Every time I think of learning something knew, my mind drifts into how I can tie it into my work. And it’s kind of a killjoy. So find a hobby that has no rhyme or reason ever fitting into your business so it can be your thing. Not your thing to make money or promote or show off – just your thing. Something that you can focus on after a long day that can be imperfect and messy and totally unorganized just because.
4. Be prepared to make mistakes and be ready to fix them gracefully. When you wear fifty hats, you’re going to make a mistake – I promise. And when you do, you’re probably going to throw a tantrum that a three year old would raise an eyebrow at. That’s okay. You’re allowed to scream and throw things if you need to get it off your chest (I’d just recommend you clear the room of anything valuable, including people or pets, before you do.) But once it’s all out, respond. With tact. And fix it. Don’t point the finger (even if it’s partially their fault) and handle it with every ounce of professionalism you have in you. It will rarely be the mistake that’s made that will be remembered. It will almost always be the way it was handled. Some of our best customers are ones where we accidentally messed up their orders or where they had an issue with our website. All because we answered in a way that made them understand it was truly a mistake, that we appreciated their business, that we appreciated them talking to us about the issue, and that we wanted to make sure the issue was resolved to their liking.
5. Accept that doubting yourself or your business will be your new hidden talent. This is something I wish I would have been told and fully understood before I jumped the corporate ship. Self-employment is not for the faint-hearted at all. If you network at all while you are self-employed, or even if you just loosely pay attention to your competition and other go-getters, you will see a lot of businesses fail. And you will see a lot of businesses succeed. The ones that fail will sometimes make you question why they failed and what you can do to ensure that you don’t do that. The ones that succeed will sometimes make you question why you aren’t getting the recognition or opportunities that they are. Sometimes it’s just luck, sometimes it’s a simple mistake, sometimes it’s purely the right place at the right time, sometimes it’s a skill (or lack thereof.) No matter what it is, your focus should be your business. Do what’s right for you and your business, regardless of the competition. Your edge will be what you bring to your business because no one else can do what you do as well as you do it.
What are your tips on self-employment?
Do any of these tips resonate with you or your struggles?
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