I’m so happy to bring you this post written by Sarah from Yes and Yes about her experiences of self employment, it’s a fantastic addition to Working for Yourself Week. Sarah is one of the most go-getting people I know, and she’s such an inspiration for anyone wanting to up the ante and make their life into a full on adventure!
For the last seven months, I’ve been country-hopping and writing. Like, for my job. And I haven’t gone broke or crazy! Here’s what I learned along the way:
Your work/life balance might look different than you expected
I imagined that working for myself would involve lots of yoga classes, meeting friends for lunch and working from coffee shops. Instead, I’ve been working 12 hours a day for a two months to get a new project out the door while I ignore all my friends and the beautiful city where I live. But! Soon, I’ll take three weeks off to hang out with friends in Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco. Things might not always balance out on a daily basis, but try to make sure they balance out on a monthly or yearly basis.
Just because you didn’t create something, doesn’t mean your day wasn’t productive
I earn money by writing words – sometimes for clients and sometimes for blog readers. But being self-employed means that I also do everything else: pay roll, marketing, networking, professional development, design, research and development. Sometimes I get down on myself if I haven’t written 3,000 words on any given day, but I make an effort to remember that there are many, many, many things that go into being successfully self-employed. Creating the product or services you sell is just one small part of the whole package.
Make time every day to network and learn
Every day, I set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes and spend that time commenting on new blogs, responding to tweets and replying to readers’ emails. Then I set my timer for another 20 minutes and work my way through Problogger, Daily Blog Tips and Copy Blogger. It’s less than an hour every day but it has made a huuuuuuge difference in the quality of my writing and the
caliber of my online relationships.
Actually take advantage of your flexible work schedule
This might not be an issue for people who aren’t Virgos, but I frequently forget that I don’t actually have to work for eight hours a day, from 9 – 5. I occasionally have to force myself into spontaneity outside of the ‘work from a different coffee shop’ variety. Take a road trip! Go for a mid-week hike! Meet your friends for a boozy Friday lunch! If you’ve created this flexible work life, milk for all its worth.
Develop a system or a routine that works for you
When I started working for myself, I wrote a list that I keep next to my bed entitled ‘Every Damn Day.’ Not surprisingly, these are things that I try to accomplish every day, regardless of my work schedule.
My list includes:
- making my bed
- getting dressed by 10:00 am
- 30 minutes of sunshine
- doing at least one fun thing
- drinking two glasses of water
- 20 minutes of networking
- 20 minutes of learning
I’m also a huge fan of the Pomodoro technique, which will do wonders for your attention span and productivity.
Have multiple streams of income
Or in normal English: make sure you have lots of different ways to make money. I pay my bills by selling two ebooks, an ecourse, advertising space on my blog, copy writing, a paper goods line, licensing agreements for my ebooks and contracts with companies who want my travel expertise. Of course, if you have heaps of freelance clients you probably don’t need lots of different ways to earn – but I’ve found that it’s both financially and creatively freeing to earn money in lots of different ways.
So many great chunks of advice in there, I’ve certainly taken a lot of it on board & will be making my own ‘Every Damn Day’ list! :D Thanks so much, Sarah! Don’t forget to visit her blog, http://www.yesandyes.org/ :)