Who's The Boss Now?! / Week 3
As I discussed in last week’s post, I love design. I consider myself beyond blessed to be able to wake up each morning and do something I truly enjoy. For years, I’ve longed for the day when I could “be my own boss.” I thought it would be something like this, but it isn’t. I think it works well for me, but if you’re thinking about making the switch to self-employment and “being your own boss,” here’s a few tips…
THE CLIENT ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT. EXCEPT THEY ARE.
When I’m freelancing, everyone is my boss. That business owner I’m trying to convince to work with me is my boss. The client I want to keep happy is my boss. That doesn’t mean that I give in to every demand of every client, far from it, but it does mean that one of my main goals is to keep my customers happy. I suppose it isn’t a new concept, retail has been saying “the customer is always right” for decades. That isn’t an oft repeated mantra because the manager at Old Navy likes it, but because it works. Happy customers are returning ones.
When you have a 9–5 job, you had to keep one person happy to get that paycheck, your boss. Now you’ve got a multitude of clients to impress. Here’s the real secret, my clients are not always right. Sometimes they insist on using blue after I suggest that red would be more effective. Sometimes, they’re just wrong (if you’re one of my amazing clients, this doesn’t apply to you). When this happens, I kindly suggest what I consider to be the better option, and if they don’t agree, they get what they want. At the end of the day (and month), they’re paying the bills, so they’re the boss.
EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT. ALWAYS.
One of the benefits of “being your own boss” is sweet freedom. Freelancing allows me to set my schedule, my rates, and work from wherever I please. It’s a lifestyle that exchanges comfort and stability for freedom and discipline. If you seek to be self-employed, you must be responsible, dedicated, and focused. No one can do that for you when you’re the only one in the “office.” If my work isn’t done on time, no one takes the flack for it except me. No one forgot to remind me. No one is there to blame for overbooking my schedule or misplacing my papers: I’m to blame.
Of course, it isn’t all bad. I’m also the one who reaps the reward of my work. The freedom that freelancing grants allows me to do things I care about. It lets me get coffee with a friend or volunteer at my church. It is fundamental to remember, though, that the new freedom brings immense responsibility. If you’re considering freelancing, be ready to take responsibility for every success – and failure – that you encounter, because it’ll all be on you, and that can be a lot of pressure.
BE AN ANNOYING, NAGGING, INCESSANT BOSS – TO YOURSELF
If you plan on being your own boss, plan on being the most ruthless, strict, schedule-oriented, hard-ass boss you’ve ever known, or it definitely won’t work. While I do have a driving work ethic, there is a part of me that knows no one will know if I just take a short break (they’re always longer than you think). There’s no one looking over my shoulder to keep me on task, except for me. It’s a blessing and a curse. I have to be my own supervisor, and I have to be a strict one.
Here’s a few strategies to help you stay focused when you’re self employed.
Get Out of Bed. This one is the toughest for me. I know the snooze button can be alluring, but your productivity remains cemented at zero until you wake up, get ready, and start your day. Develop a routine, and do your best to remain loyal to it.
Keep Lunch Light. Food will slow you down. A big midday meal will only make you crave a big midday nap.
Find a few alternate places to work. When I feel like my productivity is waning, usually around 2 in the afternoon, I revitalize myself with a change of scenery. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop and resume work there. Often, I go to my local library, a more frugal option. This not only gives me a brief mental break as I drive to my destination, but also removes me from the distractions of my apartment (my couch).
LET’S WRAP THIS UP
In conclusion, I love being my own boss, but it takes work and discipline. You know yourself. If keeping yourself on task isn’t something that would work out, then don’t do it! It isn’t as if freelancing is some utopian profession that everyone must strive towards. It’s a choice that has pros and cons, just like any other. Let me know what you think about any of this stuff in the comments! Next week, I’ll be discussing how the choice to freelance impacts more than just myself. If you enjoyed reading, please share my blog and sign up for email alerts below so you never miss a post. As always, I’m available for hire and I Will Design 4 Food, so if you have a project, let’s talk. Thank you so much for reading!