When I transitioned from working full-time at an office to working for myself it was a bit of a shock. Even though I used to freelance many years ago, I still found myself stuck with certain beliefs that people have about the life of the self-employed. Here are some of the things that I had forgotten:
- You have no free time. I think everyone has this vision for themselves: you get up a leisurely pace, linger over coffee and maybe squeeze in a couple of hours of light work before having time to visit with friends or pursue hobbies. Not so! Working for yourself means not having the luxury of leaving your work at the office. You’re on 24/7 which can mean early mornings and long nights.
- But you still have to try to have a life. Just because you can work from home all of the time doesn’t mean you should. In fact, it may be harder to tear yourself away from your work when it’s there constantly in front of you. Sometimes I have to force myself to take breaks and I’m still trying to learn when to walk away from something when it’s “good enough”.
- You’re responsible for everything. When you work for yourself you are your own boss but you’re also an accountant, an administrator and your own HR department. Even if you’re fortunate enough to be able to farm tasks out to others, you’re still responsible for a heck of a lot more than you normally would in a traditional office setting.
- But you’re also responsible for everything else. Your real-life responsibilities are always going to be staring you in the face when you work from home. Chores, errands and other household tasks are going to have to be incorporated into your day somehow. (And if you’re wondering, yes I’ve responded to client emails between doing loads of laundry!)
- It can get kind of lonely. Being stuck in front of a computer isn’t really conducive to being social. Plus, without any colleagues around as built-in coffee companions I can sometimes go a whole day without talking to a real, live person.
Running a small business is a challenge and it’s one that everyone seems to faced with these days as companies shrink, more employees take on side hustles, and more people work for themselves. As the owner of a small business, I’m always looking for ways to manage my professional life, which I write about here. I’ve also worked in several offices, so I share some of my workplace strategies here. Looking for ideas on how to market your business? I write about that too.
Do you have your own business? Tell us all about it and the ways you manage your professional life by commenting below or emailing email@example.com.