What I’ve learned about Self-Employment

I have been self-employed now since last October when I walked into my previous job and gave my notice. There have been challenges as well as a lot of celebrations. But I think the biggest thing I am surprised by is just how much I’ve learned about myself. There are days when all I can see is what I’m not doing enough of, or correctly or consistently. I decided to be self-employed. Make no mistakes; being the primary breadwinner in our family was a scary decision. I am far more ambitious and driven to achieve my individual goals, the primary one being time and freedom. I’ve yet to find a company that would or could ever satisfy my ambitions. I also know that it is highly unlikely that I would ever create the kind of income working for someone else, even if I’m in a well-paying job. So I thought it was time to reassess where I’m at, putting it all together and then sharing with everyone because I know other people are on a similar journey and will be able to relate.

It’s fair to say I love all things computers, from the hardware and the gadgets to the software. The only thing I love as much as computers and technology are cooking and food.

The food memories, however, are by far the earliest memories I have (from around when I was 4 or 5) about being passionate about something. There are still one or two family members that will remember me taking all of the boxes and cans of food out of my grandmother’s cabinets and setting up my grocery store on the main large sweeping staircase, forcing anyone one that wanted to pass to “buy” something from me. So here are a few of the harder lessons I’ve learned in the last nine months

  • Working for yourself is that it requires far more of YOU than working for someone else.
  • If you don’t have a plan and a set of goals, you will achieve exactly that.
  • Tools are there to help you achieve your goals, but they won’t do it for you. no matter how good they look in the advertising.
  • Being consistent is critical to achieving reliable results.
  • Having some an accountability system in place is essential because no matter how “hard” on yourself you think you are, you aren’t
  • Time can be a black hole.
  • While you may want to take on the whole world and accomplish everything, you can’t, it even took God seven days, and he had to rest. Finding and setting realistic goals is better and will produce better results, less anxiety.

These are a few of the things that I’ve learned along the way. They are all important, but the one that I want to focus on is about limiting the number of projects you take on at any given time. I would say that I’ve tried to take on too many projects at the same time and while I’ve accomplished a number of them I don’t think that the work I’ve done is as good as it could be had I limited myself to fewer projects and focussed more. What I’ve found for my personality type is that there is always going to be a “prettier garden”, resisting the urge to change directions midstream is paramount to finishing things for me.

Just as an example of the number of projects I’ve put on my plate. I had four concurrent writing contracts that were relatively large in scope — a complete redesign, launch, and marketing strategy for three websites. Building my existing GoGreen business, which sadly has suffered the most in terms of neglect, it’s always the child you love the most you think you can ignore. Working on these many projects at the same time is too much when you’ve just thrown all the structure that has been the rule and guide of your everyday life.

I’ve managed to get to a happy place in the past few weeks. I knew I’d have to whittle down what I can take on independently. I had to create sustainable daily, weekly monthly structure/accountability forms. The first step in that process is really to take a deep dive in reviewing your WHY? Why am I doing the work that I’m doing? Is it still meaningful to me? If so, Why? What would your life look like without this work in it and am I ok with that? Just because you’ve been doing something for any period of time doesn’t mean it still fits who you are — take this into account once you’ve gotten to your Why. Your Why is that thing that singularly motivates you more than anything, that makes that internal “you” dance when you think about it. Taking the next steps are easy.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working on getting back in touch with what my Why is. I’ve whittled away those projects that aren’t as important right now, and have a renewed focus and drive to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself in the coming weeks.

Originally published at .

Born in New York, schooled in the Berkshires, Became an adult in L.A., found my Soul in Seattle. Been writing & drinking copious amounts of coffee since 2012.

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