I honestly can't believe it's been 6 months since I made the leap to work for myself! I can tell you right now that I've learned FAR more than simply 6 things, but these are the 6 I wanted to highlight since I know so many other entrepreneurs and business owners are in this same boat. These are the 6 that, while they may seem a tad bit frivolous, were some of my biggest struggles and realizations.
1. I no longer get paid to sit and do nothing.
I'm not saying I sat and did nothing at my in-house job (QUITE the contrary), but since I was paid hourly, I'd still get paid to answer emails, adjust my chair, or share a friendly conversation. When you work for yourself, you need to be actively hustling to make a buck. No more getting paid for bathroom breaks.
That being said, do I miss it? Not at all, because I like seeing the reward for the work I'm doing. I could spin wheels all day at my in-house job, performing well and upping my game—all to go completely unnoticed (and definitely no impact to the paycheck). When you work for yourself—the harder (and smarter) you work, the more you make. I'll actively work for that and skip out on paid bathroom breaks any day.
2. I can feel totally boss while wearing sweats and a t-shirt.
I thought I'd have to get all dressed up every day to feel legit. But for some reason, these sweats don't affect my work flow. And holy moly, they're just so comfy. I fought it for a long time (keeping in mind all the expert advice on wearing shoes when you work from home to feel more professional), but I finally realized that when I was comfortable, I was productive. That's all that matters. And seriously, it's not like my dogs care.
3. I've made more real relationships than ever before.
I was worried working from home meant being cooped up with no relational interaction. But it's quite the opposite! I have to go out and PURSUE relationships, and in doing so, real friendships are made—and with people I want to be friends with! They understand my hustle, they value me, I value them—it's never been better.
4. I still get butterflies thinking about what I get to do every day, but in the middle of it—it's not so glamorous.
I thought these butterflies would just stick with me day in and day out as I'd float around the house, owning my own life and doing whatever I wanted. But truth is, work is still work, and when I have to put my head down and get stuff done for a solid five hours (without even a snack break), I realize that glamorous image is non-existent. But it's totally okay that it's not glamorous. It's still right, and what I'm loving. So when I have weeks where I feel like I didn't take even a minute to stop and rest, it's still doing what I love. It doesn't have to be glamorous, it just has to be RIGHT.
5. It takes time to figure out your routine.
Everything I read after making the leap was about finding your daily routine, establishing boundaries, and setting aside times for certain things. I was struggling with all of that. I didn't understand what my daily routine should be. I could wake up whenever I wanted, workout whenever I wanted, answer client emails whenever I wanted... so where the heck do I even start?
It's all about paying attention to yourself. I never thought I'd want to hop out of bed at 6 am, but I noticed if I made myself get up early, my mornings were EXTREMELY productive! I learned that I can't start on projects until all emails are answered, that if I have a meeting scheduled at 10 am, I won't want to get any work done before it... it took time, and it took a lot of trial and error—but that's okay! It's all part of the process.
6. Ebb and flow is natural, no freak-outs necessary.
The one thing I knew would be difficult to deal with is the inconsistent income. Sure, the business account looks great right now—but what about next month? *gasp* I'll be completely transparent here: At the beginning of December, I only had ONE client on the schedule for January. ONE. But now, on December 18th, over half way through the month, I'm booked solid through MARCH. I'm slowly learning to keep a level head and trusting God to provide. He's got it covered as long as I keep hustling and working hard to make it happen.
It's really quite crazy to think I'm already half a year into my business. I've already learned so much, and can't wait to see what 6+ things I learn in the next half.
Do you work for yourself? What are some things you've learned over time (no matter how big or small)?
With that, Christmas break is commencing! And when I say "break," what I mean is—time I'm dedicating to my business to set goals, work on new freebies, and set my blogging schedule.